Estate planning in New York is important. The creation of a Last Will and Testament and other documents such as a Living Trust, Health Care Proxy, Living will and a Power of Attorney, allows a person to control the disposition of assets and provide directions regarding personal decision-making.
It requires a lot of time and effort to create and finalize these papers. Assets must be reviewed as well as beneficiary designations and property dispositions. Alternate dispositions need to be considered in the event primary beneficiaries pre-decease a testator. The selection of fiduciaries such as Executors and Trustees, and their possible successors, need to be considered. Finally, all the documents that need to be signed must be reviewed and properly executed. Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) section 3-2.1 entitled “Execution and attestation of wills; formal requirements” provides strict rules regarding the execution of Wills. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has published numerous articles regarding the execution of Wills and Will Contests.
Once the above papers are signed it is also important to be certain that the original documents are maintained in a secure location. The various ways to keep these papers include a safe at home or in a secure filing cabinet or on file with an attorney. Sometimes the papers can be placed in a safe-deposit box although this can present problems after death since access may be restricted without a Court Order.