A person in New Jersey has an option of several different types of wills. The main purpose of many of these documents is to honor the deceased person’s wishes for the direction of assets.
Perhaps the most informal of will types is known as a holographic will.
The basics of a holographic will
The National Law Journal describes this type of will as a relatively simple document that a person wrote out and signed on a piece of paper, stating his or her wishes upon death. It is the least formal document that a probate court will accept as having any legal standing.
In general, if the court believes this handwritten document accurately reflects the wishes of the deceased, then the court will do what it can to divide the property according to this direction. The courts would rather enforce this informal will, if it is valid, than invalidate it based on a technicality. New Jersey law requires that the signature and the directions in a holographic will match the handwriting of the deceased.
The potential shortcomings of a Holographic Will
Advance Local provides some insight into the potential problems of a Holographic Will, including the possibility of heirs disputing the will. Grounds for disagreements from heirs include disputes centered on the clarity and purpose of the will. For example, a family member could argue that the writer never created the document as a final will.
Also, a holographic will is often harder to meet the requirements of a probate court. Finally, this type of will might not cover such issues as tax inheritance, resulting in extra costs for the inheritors.