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A Last Will and Testament, commonly referred to as a “Will,” specifies how your property and assets will be distributed at the end of your life. This document allows you to determine who will receive your assets after you have passed. A Will also allows you to name a trusted person to act as your personal representative, or executor, who will be responsible for carrying out your instructions. For families with young children, a Will is especially important because it allows you to name guardians for your children and their property in the event you pass away prematurely.


If you do not have a Will, the New York laws of descent and distribution determine who will be left your property, unless you have directed that it be distributed by Trust or by other non-probate means. The New York Laws of descent and distribution may leave your property to family members who you may not want to benefit from your estate. Having a Will puts you in charge and allows you to determine who receives what from your estate.

Yes. In fact, if you have minor children, it is very important that you have a Will so you can provide who will act as Guardian if you are not around to take care of your children. Having a Will also allows you to set up a Trust for their education and other important needs.

A Will must be signed before two witnesses and you must declare the document as your Will before those witnesses. After you request them to do so, the witnesses must also sign the Will. It is highly recommended to prepare your Will in consultation with a qualified attorney. This ensures that the Will is both drafted and signed properly. An accurately executed Will is necessary to make sure it is valid.

Attorney Elisabeth Hall keeps your signed, original Will in her office safe. You will receive a copy of your Will, which is marked with the location of the original.

The Executor sees to the administration of your estate, by hiring an attorney to assist with the probate of your Will in Surrogate’s Court. Once the Court grants the Executor authority, he or she can work with the estate attorney to ensure your wishes are fully carried out.

Yes. As with the original signing of your Will, it is highly recommended that you work with a qualified attorney to ensure the modification of your Will is properly done and therefore valid.