In New York, oral wills (also known as “nuncupative wills”) and handwritten wills (also known as “holographic wills”) may be considered valid under certain circumstances.
Oral wills are only valid if they are made by a member of the military while they are on active duty and in a theater of war.
Handwritten wills are only valid if they are entirely in the handwriting of the person making the will (the “testator”), are dated, and are signed by the testator. Handwritten wills must also be witnessed by at least two people.
It is generally advisable to create a formal, written will that is signed and witnessed in order to ensure that it is valid and will be enforced by the court. This is because it can be difficult to prove the authenticity and validity of oral or handwritten wills.
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To make changes to a will, a document called a codicil can be created and added to the original will. A codicil must be signed in the same way as the original will in order to be valid.