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Bequeathing Foreign Property In New York

Bequeathing foreign property in New York can be tricky. The rules basically differ depending upon the type of property being given away -- whether the property is real or personal property.

For real property, the rules for giving away property are determined by the rules of the jurisdiction where the land is located. So if you want to give away a home in New Jersey, you need to follow that state's rules for wills such as the rules regarding witnesses, signatures, and language in the will.

For personal property, the disposition of the property is determined by where you are domiciled at death. So if you retire and live in Florida, the laws of that state will determine how your personal property is distributed even if you written your will in New York.

On the other hand, if you are domiciled in New York and want to bequeath personal property located in another state, your will is valid if it meets the will requirements for this state or the state where the will was executed.

Foreign property may seem like an arcane topic. However, many New Yorkers own property in places like New Jersey and Connecticut and so they should comply with these states' laws -- along with New York requirements -- when drafting wills. If not, the foreign jurisdiction may invalidate your will and also determine how your property will be divided.

Drafting a will can be complicated especially when you begin to involve the laws of other states. If you are drafting a will and own real or personal property in another states, you should contact an estate planning attorney to make sure your wishes are carried out.

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