When you choose to execute a will as your vehicle of transfer your estate is going to pass through the process of probate. During this interim the probate or surrogate court will examine the will to determine its validity, and it will ultimately be administered by the executor or personal representative under the supervision of the court. Should anyone have the desire to contest the will or present an alternate version they would do so during the probate process and their arguments would be heard by the probate court.
What does this mean to you? When you construct your will it is going to be closely examined by the powers that be. Each state has its own laws that govern the probate process, and every jurisdiction has different nuances. So when you see websites insisting that drawing up a will is as easy as filling in the blanks on a “one-size-fits-all” form it is important to recognize the fact that there is no one document that is suitable in all 50 states. A will that is passing through probate in the state of Idaho and one that is passing through the process in the state of New York are not going to be identical.
The primary point that we are trying to emphasize here is that when you are drawing up your will in the state of New York you should have the probate process as it exists here in the Empire State in mind. The average layman would have no reason to understand the machinations of the probate court in the same manner that probate attorneys don’t necessarily know a lot about cardiac surgery. But local probate lawyers do know how to construct a will that is valid and binding in the state of New York, so when you are planning your estate it is a good idea to engage the services of an experienced professional.