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Wills in New York

Wills are typically the first things people think about when starting the estate planning process. Wills are documents that state the author’s preferences of how to handle his or her property after death. A well-written will eases the transition for survivors by transferring property quickly and effectively while avoiding many tax burdens.

In order to write an effective will, a New York estate planning attorney is often employed to make sure that your full intent is accurately conveyed. You can find a listing of New York estate planning attorneys in FindLaw’s directory.

Recently in Wills Category

Battle Continues Over Tony-Winning Actress' Estate

Legendary actress Julie Harris' estate battle continues. This time Harris' former lawyer is claiming that the actress wasn't of sound mind when she named Francesca Rubino as co-executor of her estate.

Rubino, who may be better known by her stage name Francesca James, was Harris' caretaker before she died. As a result of being named in Harris' will, Rubino stood to inherit at least $250,000 from Harris' estate, reports Playbill.

However, Harris' former attorney alleges that the actress didn't have the mental capacity to leave a chunk of her fortune to Rubino.

New York Testators: Incompetent or Just Eccentric?

New York is home to many, shall we say, vibrant personalities. From The Naked Cowboy to Amanda Bynes, it's often hard to tell the difference between incompetence and mere eccentricity in the Big Apple.

Fortunately, from a legal perspective, there are certain factors courts use to separate the weird from the legally worrisome.

What Happens When There Are Two Wills?

Two wills can cause many problems -- take Huguette Clark's wills, for example. A feud over the $300 million dollar copper mining fortune of the late heiress has finally come to a resolution in late September 2013. The final result benefits mostly arts charities and some distant relatives, The Associated Press reports.

The late Clark rarely made a public appearance after the 60s, and she died estranged, with no close relatives. What exactly was the issue with her wills?

3 Must-Haves For a Formal Will in N.Y.

What is required for a formal will in New York? The will requirements for every state will vary, so it's important to know what is required in your state. Otherwise, you run the risk of your loved ones and those named in your will running into legal trouble, or the possibility of your assets falling into the wrong hands.

There are a few different kinds of wills in New York, and a formal will is only one type. However, it is the most common one. The other kinds are only accepted in very limited circumstances. These include holographic (handwritten) wills and nuncupative (unwritten, e.g. video or audio) wills.

Most wills in New York are going to be formal. So, with that said, here are 3 must-haves for a formal will in New York:

Are Handwritten Wills Legal in N.Y.?

Are handwritten wills legal in New York? Otherwise known as holographic wills, handwritten wills are not usually the preferred way of entering a will into the legal system for validity.

While formal will requirements vary from state to state, they generally encompass some combination of being signed by the testator, with witnesses present at the time of execution.

New York's formal will statute in particular has the following requirements for a formal will:

5 Must-Have Documents in an Estate Plan

What are the necessary documents in an estate plan? Estate plans vary, and depending on the size of your estate, you could have either a very simple estate plan or a very complex one.

But if we go back to basics, most estate plans have a few general things in common, whether they are for small estates or multimillion-dollar ones.

Here is a list of the five must-have documents for a basic estate plan:

3 Ways to Start Your Estate Planning

So, you're thinking about doing your estate plan, but where should you begin?

An estate plan can be simple to draw up, if your estate is simple and includes few assets. But if you have a more complex estate, things can get tricky.

For the purpose of this discussion, we'll talk about more simple estates. Here are three ways to start your estate planning:

Ada Huxtable Dies in NYC, Leaves Estate to Getty Institute in LA

Former New York Times writer Ada Louise Huxtable passed away on Monday in New York. She is best known for her architectural criticism and received a Pulitzer Prize for her critiques. Most recently, she wrote for The Wall Street Journal.

Huxtable, 91, died of cancer, according to her attorney. She began writing for The Times in 1963, as the newspaper's first architecture critic. She claimed that architecture should primarily be judged by how it makes the people who use it feel.

She was also one of the early advocates of historic preservation in a city filled with historic buildings. One of her most memorable criticisms came from her thoughts on the new Penn Station building and the demolition of the old one.

Music Legend Ravi Shankar's Death Raises Property Issues

Last week, the music industry lost one of the first avant-garde composers of his time, Ravi Shankar, at the age of 92.

Shankar's music label, East Meets West Music, and the Ravi Shankar Foundation issued a press release stating that the singer passed away at a hospital in La Jolla, California.

The iconic singer and played an instrumental role in bringing Indian music to the western world, as he introduced European and American audiences to the simple sound of the sitar in the 1950s. His music inspired George Harrison of the Beatles, as well as countless other musicians.

So what will happen to his estate?

Mall Magnate Melvin Simon's Estate Finally Settled

The family members of mall magnate Melvin Simon were still in court over his estate, three years after his death, reports The Indianapolis Star. But the court dates are now over as his $2 billion estate is finally settled. The details of the settlement remain hushed.

A settlement in the $2 billion estate was approved on Wednesday. The largest part of his estate included shares in his shopping mall empire. He died in 2009 at the age of 82, and family members began fighting over the estate almost immediately.

The parties involved in the will contest were the daughter of Melvin Simon and his widow. The daughters allege that their father suffered from dementia at the time his will was amended.