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What formalities are necessary to create a valid will?

Many New Jersey residents have taken the necessary steps to create a will, in order to ensure their property is passed on to their chosen heirs or charities upon their death. This is important, as without a will or trust, the deceased's property will be passed on via the state's intestacy laws, which may not be to the person's liking. However, it is important that wills are executed according to all of the necessary legal formalities, so that they are valid.

In New Jersey, a person must be at least 18-years-old to create a valid will. The person must also be of sound mind and competent. This means that he or she knows the meaning and purpose of creating a will, and also knows what property he or she has to pass on.

There must also be a certain number of witnesses to the creation of the will in order for it to be valid. In New Jersey, at least two witnesses who saw the person place his or her signature on the will, or who saw the person acknowledge his or her signature, is necessary for wills that are typed. For handwritten, or, "holographic" wills, if they are in the person's own handwriting, they do not require witnesses. Oral, or "nuncupative" wills are not valid under New Jersey law.

As you can see, while they are not difficult, there are elements to creating a will that must be met in order for it to be valid. Therefore, it may help to have an attorney assist in the creation of a will. An attorney will not only understand what language needs to be included in the will in order for it to meet the person's wishes, but also what legal formalities are required to make it valid.

Source: FindLaw, "New Jersey Wills Laws," Accessed Oct. 29, 2016

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