In New York, executing a valid will requires adherence to several statutory formalities. Firstly, the testator must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind to have the mental capacity to understand the nature and consequences of making a will. Secondly, the will must be signed by the testator or someone in their presence and direction if the testator is physically unable to sign. Thirdly, at least two witnesses, who are not beneficiaries under the will and are at least 18 years old, must sign the will in the testator’s presence and at their direction. Fourthly, the document must clearly express the testator’s intent to make a will and dispose of their property upon their death. Failing to follow any of these formalities could result in the will being deemed invalid, making it important to consult a lawyer to ensure proper execution.
Matter of Basch highlights the importance of following legal formalities in the execution of a will, and the consequences of failing to do so.