2010 - Buyer Beware When Using Online or Store Bought Software to Write Your Last Will & Testament

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Undoubtedly you have heard on either the radio or television, advertisements selling "Do It Yourself" legal documents with a promise to save you money. Unfortunately these programs fail to go into great detail about New York's specific requirements when drafting and executing your Last Will & Testament making such a document effective under the law. Without all of the necessary requirements being met, your Last Will & Testament may be rejected for probate and your estate will be administered under the existing intestate laws of New York. This undesirable circumstance would most likely result in greater legal fees to your estate and can also effect the distribution of your estate assets which may very well be different from the express desires you indicated in your "Do It Yourself" Last Will & Testament. When executing your Last Will & Testament keep in mind the following considerations:

  1. You will need two witnesses that do not have an interest in your estate as provided for in your Last Will & Testament;
  2. You are required to make a verbal declaration that this is, in fact, your Last Will & Testament and you are revoking all prior Wills that you have executed to date;
  3. You should have a self attesting affidavit prepared along with a notary public present at your Will signing. Also, the notary public cannot be a witness to your Will. The self attesting affidavit is necessary for your Last Will & Testament to be easily probated at the time of your death;
  4. Finally, your Last Will & Testament needs to be securely bound.

Keep in mind many of the self help packages do not inform you of the correct legal procedure in changing your Last Will & Testament. For example, New York does not recognize hand written, also known as holographic, changes to your Will. Also, if you unbind the Will to replace a page your Will automatically will be invalidated. A codicil is the only recognized instrument under New York law which can legally change your Last Will and Testament.

Larkin, Ingrassia & Tepermayster, LLP is a full service law firm which can assist you in your estate planning needs. Please contact us for a free consultation regarding your Last Will & Testament. After your consultation we are sure you will come to the conclusion that professional legal representation for your estate planning needs will indeed save your estate money in the long run.