If you only have a verbal will right now, you should know that it may not count for much if you pass away. Usually, New York law only allows written wills to be made legal. An oral will can be made and be carried out, but there are specific rules that apply to them. To protect yourself, it’s better if you have a written will that goes over your wishes.
When are oral wills legal in New York?
- The oral statements are made by someone who is in the military.
- The oral statements are made during a war or armed conflict.
- The oral statements are made while that person is serving.
Additionally, mariners at sea, as well as those serving or accompanying those in the armed forces may also be able to create oral wills under extreme circumstances.
What’s the problem with verbal, or oral, wills?
The biggest issue with these types of wills is that they simply are not easy to verify. When you write down what you want when you pass away, for example, there is a letter available detailing all your wishes. Unlike an oral will, there will be signed witnesses and could be a notarization as well.
A written will is stronger than an oral will under most circumstances, and in many cases, it’s all that will be accepted.
What can you do to prove an oral will?
Generally speaking, there will need to be witnesses to the will and some proof that the person created this will on their deathbed. That can be very hard to prove, so if someone’s last wishes are stated on camera, then that could be helpful for proving that the will was made legally if you appear in court.
Oral wills are complex, and they generally do not work well in terms of protecting yourself or your assets. While you can, it’s important to set up your own written will. Even if it’s not exactly what you want, you need to know that you have something in place to protect your estate.