What is worse than failing to document your intentions regarding how to distribute your property upon your death? You create the document, but no one can locate it. In New Jersey, you can use the Will Registry as a supplementary tool to ensure notice of your dispositions upon death.
The Secretary of State controls the Will Registry Program
Testators or their attorneys may register the will in the Will Registry Program, as provided under N.J.S.A. 3.B:3-2.1(d). Operated by the Secretary of State, this program contains basic information about the will. When you have completed the form and have paid the fee, you will have successfully registered your will. Will registration remains entirely voluntary.
Legitimate privacy concerns arise in this context. The registry, however, restricts searches in the program only to “interested persons” or their representatives as enumerated in the statute. These include not only consanguineous relationships, but also “any others having a property right…against a trust estate,” or a estate of descendent affected by it. These persons must also pay a fee to retrieve the form.
An unregistered will can still have validity
The validity of the will exists independent of whether it has been registered. The state does not have possession of the will itself; rather, it remains in author’s possession. New wills or codicils require separate registration. New Jersey also requires the person in possession of an original will to deposit it in the Surrogate office of the county in which the person resided. Each will has or to whom remains with its author and does n.
You will like pass on the important legacy to your kin through a will. Complex legal and financial concerns regarding your disposition will consume much time and energy. A seasoned attorney could explain whether registering a will may benefit you.