The issue of creating a will can often be a contentious one, which may be why so many tend to avoid doing it (at least publicly). Many in Ocean County & believe the estate planning process must be a formal affair, where you and other potential parties to an estate should be called together to provide your input into how your loved one should disperse their assets. Yet does your family member or friend have an obligation to include you in this process? No, they do not. In fact, some may simply write our their will themselves and then pass them on to the appropriate parties. Here at Campbell & Pruchnik, LLC, many often ask us if such a will is even valid.
The requirements for executing a will in New Jersey can be found in Section 3B:3-2 of the state's Statutes. Here it states that a will must be executed in the following way in order to be valid:
- It must be in writing
- It must be signed by your loved one (or by someone who has their permission, and in their presence)
- It must be signed by two eligible witnesses
This last requirement would seem to invalidate any will that one simply writes up on their own. Yet the same law goes on to say that any document that is presented as an instrument to be used to administer your loved one's estate, that does not meet the aforementioned requirements but written or has elements that are written) in their distinctive handwriting can be treated as a will.
One requirement that cannot be bypassed is the one requiring any of will to be in writing. New Jersey does recognize the validity of oral wills. To learn more about administering an estate, please continue to browse through our site.