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Flashcards in Will Validity Deck (9):

What are the 7 reqs for the execution of a valid Will?

"7 POINT TEST" 1) Testator is 18+ YRS OLD; 2) Testator signs OR by "proxy" (i.e. someone at testator's direction and in her presence) PROXY must (i) also sign her name; (ii) CANNOT be counted as an attesting witness; AND (iii) must affix her addy Signature can be ANY mark intending to be a signature (e.g. an "X") Singnature must be VOLUNTARY 3) Signature at "the END thereof" Signing in the middle of the will WON'T DENY probate, BUT the words below the signature WILL NOT be given effect EXCEPT: the Will IS denied probate IF "all the meat" of the T's intention is below the signature 4) Witnesses: Testator must sign in front of 2 ATTESTING WITNESSES (or "acknowledge" an earlier signature) IF the Testator forgot to sign in front of witnesses, then it will be DENIED PROBATE IF the Testator signs AFTER the witness, it's not an issue AS LONG AS it's "contemporaneous" 5) Publication: Testator must communicate to the witnesses that they are witnessing a WILL (and not some other legal doc) by declaring it to be her "Last Will and Testament" 6) Signature from 2 ATTESTING WITNESSES NOTE: NY does NOT req that each witness sign in EACH OTHER'S presence OR sign in the testator's presence  7) Entire "execution ceremony" MUST be completed w/in 30 days of FIRST witness's signing


What is a codicil?

Later amendment OR supplement to a Will that must be executed with the same will formalities as a full Will NOTE: Revocation of a codicil does NOT revoke the underlying will  


Who has the burden of proving "due execution" a Will?

The Will proponent (i.e. the person who offers the Will for probate, usually the executor) has the burden of proving "DUE EXECUTION"    


What are the rules re: Witnesses' and proving due execution?

If will is NOT SELF-PROVING, BOTH attesting witnesses's must testify to the facts nec. to show due execution...IF NOT, then... IF 1 witness is dead, absent, incompetent, OR can't be found diligently → testimony of the other witness is OK IF NO witness is available → Will proponents must PROVE signature of Testator & 1 witness NOTE: an "attestation cl" (recites ALL the elements of due execution, appearing below the testator's sig and ABOVE the witnesses signatures) is PRIMA FACIE evidence of the facts presented An attestation cl is NOT a substitute for live testimony from witnesses (it's just CORROBORATIVE of the witnesses' testimony) Useful if the witness has a BAD MEMORY or is HOSTILE NOT req'd in NY


What is a self-proving affidavit?

Witnesses sign a sworn affidavit in the presence of a notary public ANY TIME after the will is executed (& attached to Will) that recites ALL statements they would make if called to testify in court → has the effect of sworn testimony Will is admissible to PROBATE on strength of the sworn recitals in the affidavit UNLESS an interested party (heir or legatee that would be adversely affected by Will's admission to probate) objects → proof of due execution IS nececessary then NOT req'd in NY  


What is the interested witness statute?

Designed to prevent FRAUD If a will beneficiary is an ATTESTING WITNESS → Will is VALID BUT gift VOID UNLESS... at least 3 ATTESTING WITNESSES sign & the other 2 are disinterested; OR interested attesting witness would be an INTESTATE DISTRIBUTEE, IF Testator had died w/o a Will (intestate) “Whichever is Least” Rule  applies: witness-beneficiary takes the LESSOR of (i) the bequest under the will; OR (ii) his intestate share (i.e. his specific "bequest is VOID) NOTE: an ATTESTING WITNESS can be named as EXECUTOR in the Will → does not trigger statute.


What is the NY Foreign Wills Act?

States that Will IS admissible to probate in NY IF validly executed under: "E-N-D" Law of the state where it was Executed; NY law; OR Law of the state where T was Domiciled, either at time of Will execution OR death. →Once admitted to probate, NEW YORK law governs the construction and application of its prvns


Are holographic and nuncupative wills valid in NY?  

Holographic will = written entirely in the testator’s handwriting and signed, BUT NOT witnessed NOTE: remember IF witnessed, then VALID7 Nuncupative will = oral will (via CD, DVD, etc) -------------- BOTH VOID in NY  EXCEPTION: for armed services during declared or undeclared war (expires 1 year after discharge) & mariners at sea (expires after 3 years after discharge) Foreign Wills Act application: if holographic will is executed in state that recognizes them AND person dies in NY, it would be OK under Foreign Wills Act  


Do the intended benefiicaries have a c/a against a negl. lawyer in preparing a Will?

NO b/c there is no privity of K b/t the intended beneficiaries and the lawyer BUT, there IS privity of K b/t the lawyer and the PERSONAL REP of the estate