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Are holographic wills valid in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2023 | Estate Planning

Wills are the most common tool in estate planning. There are different kinds of wills an individual can make – simple, living, verbal, digital and so on. But while there are different types of will a testator can draft, it is crucial to know that not all states recognize all wills. For instance, not all states permit holographic wills.

What is a holographic will?

There are instances when some people experience life-threatening situations that would call for the creation of a will in handwritten form, called a holographic will. Given the circumstances, these wills usually do not include witness signatures, which is one of the usual requirements of a will.

Requirements for admissibility

Fortunately, New Jersey is among the few states accepting holographic wills. However, the state still set certain requirements for them to find it admissible during estate administration. These requirements include the following:

  • The material parts of the will are in the testator’s handwriting
  • The testator signed the will themselves

As long as the will meets the requirements above, it is valid, regardless of whether there was a witness or not. And while it is highly recommended to have an attorney review the will, New Jersey laws do not require it, given the nature of its creation.

Watch out for will contests

Because of its informality, holographic wills are likely to be the subject of will contests. Heirs, beneficiaries and other interested parties may challenge the will because of its uncommon execution and the debatable intentions of the testator.

While holographic wills do not conform to the standard requirements of a will, they can be valid and enforceable. It is essential to check your state’s estate laws to understand the process. If you have any doubts or confusion, you can also consider consulting with an estate planning professional.

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