When you decide that you want to get your estate plan together, you have to think about several options for getting everything set the way you want it. These can include power of attorney documents, trusts, a living will and a will. When it comes to the will that sets the terms for distributing some of your assets, you have to ensure that it meets state’s laws.

New York’s requirements for wills can be complex in some cases. There are some basic guidelines that apply to all wills, but there are some specific circumstances that are only applicable to members of the military during a time of armed conflict or war.

All wills are only valid if the testator is of sound mind and has a sound memory, so once a condition like Alzheimer’s disease alters a person’s thinking, they can’t write a will. The person must be at least 18 years old when they create it.

Almost all wills need to be typed out and witnessed by two people. The two witnesses don’t have to sign the document together. They also don’t have to actually see the testator sign it. Instead, they only have to receive an acknowledgement that the testator signed the will. The witnesses should sign the document and include their residential address at the end of the document within 30 days of the testator signing it.

For people who are in the military in the midst of armed conflict or in a time of war, oral and handwritten wills are valid. The written will must be fully written in the testator’s handwriting.

Ensuring that your will meets these requirements can get your estate exactly where you want it. Without this, it will be handled in accordance with New York’s intestate laws, which dictate who gets what when you pass away.