Why Is the Last Will Important?
Last wills are legal documents that protect the intended money and estate that will become inherited by the beneficiaries nominated. Just as the document ensures that the right people will receive the inheritance, it also guarantees that your property will get into the hands of those dear to you, even if you are not blood relatives.
Besides inheritance, a last will and testament also designates who will handle your affairs after death such as the distribution of money, inheritance of family legacies, funeral wishes and trusts, etc.
Making a last will is straightforward, inexpensive, and serves to protect your assets and wishes better.
Only those over the age of 18 can write and register their own last wills. Take into consideration that the person creating the will must be able to make such a decision with a sound mind.
What Types of Wills Are Available and Accepted in New Jersey?
This type of will is hand-written and signed by the testator (the will’s creator), then witnessed by two other people. It includes an “attestation clause,” which makes it the official last will of the testator.
A self-proving will is the same as a standard will except for the fact that witnesses sign it at the moment of the document’s notarization. It also includes an Acknowledgement and Affidavit Relating to the execution of the will. This acknowledgment recognizes that the person creating the will (or the witnesses) swear under oath the accuracy of the will and its details, which therefore eliminates the need for witnesses to testify after the testator’s death.
This is a will completed without witnesses. It’s made, signed by the creator, and sent to the probate in the Superior Court.
Create Your New Jersey Last Will Online
You can find a free New Jersey last will and testament template for last will completion on our website. You can also download the free printable PDF files that can be used as a convenient step-by-step builder for a highly customized last will and testament document. The files can be filled in online, then printed or written by hand, only if written by the testator. If written by another person who is not the testator, the form will not be valid.
To have your last will registered, file an application to the Will Registry and send it to the Office of the Secretary of State at the address: PO Box 300, Trenton, NJ 08625-0300. You will also need to pay the registration fee to the Secretary of State in the General Fund for the amount of $10.00 payable by check or money order.
Finalize your New Jersey last will and testament by signing in front of witnesses or as specified by the type of will utilized. Be sure that all witnesses must sign within a “reasonable time” after you have done so yourself.
How to Make a Will in New Jersey
Select the type of will and establish what will be done with the money, estates, legacies, and other inheritances, and most importantly, who they will go to. Matters to include in the New Jersey will are:
- Funeral and burial affairs
- Listed beneficiaries and specific amounts of inheritance
- A list of alternative beneficiaries if a predetermined beneficiary dies before the creator of the will
- A designated executor who will ensure that the specifications of the will are carried out
- If children under the age of 18 are involved, appoint a legal guardian
- If you include a change in the will of codicils, obtain a signed self-proving clause signed and witnessed by two individuals (over 18)
- Appoint a trustee and an alternate trustee if there is a trust
There are numerous factors to consider and include in a will. This list is composed of primary issues people usually include when they create a last will. However, it is recommended to consult an attorney before finalizing the details. It is a document that should be created with sufficient time and revision.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
No, a lawyer is not necessary to notarize your will, nor is it obligatory to notarize your will. However, if you select to execute a “self-proving” will, it will need to be legalized by a notary.
What Happens If I Die Without a Will?
In the state of New Jersey, the property of those who die without a will in place is distributed in line with the state’s “intestacy” law. This law states that if you die leaving a spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner with children (who are of the spouse or legal partner), the spouse will inherit all of the assets. In the case of not having a spouse, children, or grandchildren, the inheritance will go to your parents.
This law is designed for the inheritance to go to the next closest relatives of the deceased. If the court has no other relatives to give the estate to, the state will receive your property.
Can I Make Changes to My Will?
Yes, it is legal in New Jersey to change or revoke your will at any time. Your will can be revoked by destroying it (burning or tearing it) or by creating a new will that clearly states that it cancels the previous will.
If there are two wills present and it is unclear which is the current will, the state has the right to determine which last will to uphold. Otherwise, the newer will is considered a supplement or addition to the preexisting will.