What Is Considered a Valid Will in New Jersey?

last will document

Understandably, it is difficult to think about a time when you will no longer be with your loved ones. Though, it is important that you properly plan for this so that your loved ones will be well taken care of. This entails drafting and establishing a Last Will and Testament. Continue reading to learn what is considered a valid will and how an experienced wills attorney in Monmouth County, NJ, at Margaret M. Mahon, Esq., LLC, can help you in creating one.

What is considered a valid will in the state of New Jersey?

Before all else, a Last Will and Testament is a critical document in an estate plan that allows a testator (i.e., the subject of the will) to distribute their assets to their beneficiaries in a way of their liking. A will also allows a testator to appoint an executor, who carries out all the provisions of the will, along with a guardian for your small children and pets.

With that being said, a will only has this power if it is considered valid and enforceable by New Jersey law. Requirements are as follows:

  • A will must be written out on a piece of paper (i.e., handwritten or typed).
  • A will must be written when a testator is at least 18 years of age or older.
  • A will must be written while a testator is of full mental capacity and sound mind.
  • A typed will must include the signature of the testator.
  • A typed will must be signed by the testator in the presence of two individuals serving as witnesses.
  • A typed will must include the signature of the two witnesses.

Notably, New Jersey law does not require your will to be written and signed in the presence of an attorney, though it is recommended. The same goes for getting your will notarized.

What’s more, it is encouraged that you go back to modify your will if you undergo a significant life change, such as if you welcome a new child to your family, get divorced, get remarried, become a widow, or otherwise.

What happens if my will is unenforceable?

As you can likely conclude, there are many different ways in which your will can become invalidated. And if, for whatever reason, your will is found to be unenforceable, the New Jersey Surrogate may order that your estate be distributed under the laws of intestacy. And with these intestacy laws, your assets may not go to the beneficiaries that you had originally wished for. All the more, this may just open up conflict between your beneficiaries.

For more information on how to establish a fully enforceable will, you must not hesitate in speaking with a skilled Monmouth County estate planning attorney. We await your phone call.