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What makes a will valid in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Jul 4, 2022 | Estate Planning

A will is one of the most important legal documents you can ever create during your lifetime. If you die without one (intestate), the New Jersey laws will determine how your hard-earned assets are distributed. 

A properly written will, on the other hand, can give you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones’ future is secured. It also guarantees that your wishes will be honored when distributing your assets and handling your final affairs. Finally, a valid will can be key to reducing the risk of disputes after your demise. So what makes a will legal?

You have to be competent to create a valid will 

To create a will in the state of New Jersey, you have to be at least 18 years at the time of creating and executing the document. This is the age of legal competence. Additionally, you have to be mentally competent when creating your will. Basically, this means that you understand the following: 

  • The purpose of a will
  • Your assets and where they are
  • Your beneficiaries and the assets you wish to leave for them

Competence can form the basis for disputing your will if you had a cognitive disability while signing the document. For instance, if it is established that you had dementia or were close to death at the time of signing the will, then someone can successfully dispute your will. 

A will must be duly witnessed

New Jersey has separate rules for holographic and typed wills. A holographic will does not require the witness’ signature as long the testator’s handwriting can be verified. However, when you type your will, then you have to sign it. Additionally, two other witnesses must append their signatures to the document. Both of these types of wills can be problematic, and neither is generally advisable because the “DIY” approach is filled with danger.

Find out how you can create a will that is both valid and accurate. Experienced legal guidance can give you the security that you need.