Writing a will is a vital step in preparing for the disbursement of your assets after you die. In New Jersey, a will allows you, the testator, to provide for beneficiaries after your death. You may use a will to leave property to your spouse, children, family members and friends. 

But it is crucial to create your will according to the law and best practices. If you do not properly write and execute your will, it may lead to disputes and confusion for your heirs. Here are some legal requirements and general tips for making a will in the Garden State.

Basic requirements

According to New Jersey estate administration statutes, here is what is necessary for creating a valid will:

  • Age: At least 18 years old
  • Capacity: A sound mind
  • Signing: Signatures by the testator and two witnesses

The will must be written in order to hold up in probate court.

Holographic will

New Jersey also permits the creation of a handwritten will, known as a holographic will. But this type of will must have significant portions and the signature in the testator’s handwriting. This type of will does not require witnesses.

Choosing an executor

Aside from deciding who receives your assets, a will also allows you to name an executor. This is one of the main benefits of making a will because it gives you the opportunity to choose someone who will carry out your wishes and manage your estate.

Naming a guardian

If you have minor children, do not forget about the vital step of designating a personal guardian. A will is the only place you can do this. 

Dying without a will

If you die before making a will, the probate court will divide your property according to state law. This means certain heirs will still inherit some assets, but not according to your wishes. Creating a will lets you make your own decisions instead of letting the law dictate the outcome.