Preparing a Will in New York

A simple will can be a very basic estate planning document. However the preparation and execution of a simple will in the State of New York requires very specific execution formalities. These execution formalities are so specific and detailed that it is essentially never recommended for a person to prepare and execute a will without the help of an attorney. Our office’s experience with wills prepared by individuals without the supervision of a lawyer is that these attempts generally lead to litigation because the wills were not properly executed in conformity with New York Law.

Formal Requirements for Will Execution

To start with a will must be in writing. It needs to be executed at the end by the person making the will. In addition there must be a minimum of two (2) attesting witnesses. Neither of these witnesses should be an individual who receives any assets or benefits under the terms of the will. The individual executing the will must state and declare that this is his or her last will and testament. In addition, the individual executing the will must have testamentary capacity and be aware and understand the contents of the will.

These are just some of the specific requirements concerning drafting and the execution of a will. The deviation from any one of these requirements can render a will invalid. An individual having a will that he or she believes is valid that turns out to be invalid may be worse off than if there was no will at all.


It is important to consult with an experienced estates attorney with regard to the drafting of wills and trusts. The preparation drafting of a simple will is a relatively inexpensive document to have an attorney prepare.

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has been preparing wills and representing clients throughout the Metropolitan New York area in probate and wills proceedings for almost 4 decades.