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How is a valid will created in New Jersey?

Most people in New Jersey will be aware of the importance of will planning as they cobble together an estate plan. However, a great many will not be fully cognizant of what makes the will legal in the first place. It is a frequent occurrence for a will to be called into question or for there to be a will contest because the testator failed to take the steps to make it a valid will. To avoid this eventuality and the issues that go along with it, it is imperative to know how to make a will that is valid.

In New Jersey, there are certain basic requirements when creating a will. The person must be at least 18-years-old. There must be legal competence meaning that the person is of sufficiently sound mind to understand what the will is and what it does. They must know the nature and the extent of their property. A person who has a mental disability preventing them from understanding a will's purpose will make a will invalid. The requirement will be satisfied if the person knows the extent of the property and the purpose of the will. There must be two people who witness the testator signing a typed will.

Wills can be handwritten in New Jersey. These are also called holographic wills meaning that its terms are in the testator's handwriting. These will be valid independent of witnesses provided the document is in the testator's handwriting. If a person dies without a will, it is referred to as dying intestate. That means that the property will be divided based on the state law and not the wishes of the testator. The family will still get the property, but there are basic rules that will be followed and no nuance based on the desires or potential desires of the testator.

Creating a will is important and it can be complicated. Those who are thinking about crafting a will should have legal help to deal with all the different factors. Contacting an attorney who is experienced in wills and estate administration can help with any issue that comes up when will planning.

Source: statelaws.findlaw.com, "New Jersey Wills Laws," accessed on Sept. 5, 2017

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