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Problems that can arise if your will is not properly signed

On Behalf of | May 2, 2024 | Probate Disputes |

If what happens to your assets after you pass away is important to you, then making a will is a key step in planning for the future. However, simply having a will is not enough; it must be properly signed and witnessed to be legally valid.

Failure to adhere to these requirements can lead to various problems and complications for your estate and beneficiaries.


One major issue that can arise if your will is not properly signed is that it may be invalid. New York has specific requirements for signing a will, including having it signed by the person making the will (the testator) and witnessed by at least two individuals who are not beneficiaries. If these requirements are not met, the will may not be legally valid, and your estate could be distributed according to state intestacy laws rather than your wishes.

Disputes among beneficiaries

Improperly signed wills can also lead to disputes among beneficiaries. If there are questions about the validity of the will or concerns about its execution, beneficiaries may contest the will in court. This can result in lengthy and costly legal battles that can strain family relationships and delay the distribution of assets.

Lack of clarity

Another problem that can arise from an improperly signed will is confusion and lack of clarity. Without a clear and valid will in place, asset distribution and estate management issues may be unclear. This can lead to disagreements among family members and uncertainty about your final wishes.

Financial losses

In addition to emotional stress, improperly signed wills can also lead to financial losses for your estate. Legal challenges and disputes can drain the estate’s resources through legal fees and court costs. Furthermore, if the will is ultimately deemed invalid, your assets may be distributed according to state law, which may not align with your intentions and could result in higher taxes or unintended beneficiaries receiving your assets.

If you have concerns about properly signing your will, it is wise to seek guidance to ensure that your will meets all legal requirements.

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