Making a Legal Will in New Jersey During Social Distancing

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Making a Legal Will in New Jersey During Social Distancing

How Do I Make a Legal Will in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, COVID-19 may have made people think about their estate plans. Despite the many challenges of the coronavirus, the legality of signing a will and testament remain the same.

Legal Requirements for New Jersey Will:

For a person to make a valid will in New Jersey, the following requirements must be met:

  • A person executing a will must be at least 18 years old.
  • He or she must be “of sound mind.” (not declared incompetent in court proceeding)
  • A will must be in writing.
  • A will must be signed by the person making it (the “testator”) and by two people who witnessed the testator sign the will, or witnessed the testator acknowledge his or her signature or the will itself. (If physically impossible, the testator may direct someone to do it

How to Make a Will During Social Distancing

Making a will In New Jersey during the COVID-19 – Coronavirus pandemic may still be an item in flux. As always, you should consult an attorney. Still, the most important aspect remains the witness signatures. A notary or lawyer signature is important, but, under current law the witness signatures must be “in writing” are what are truly important. Of course, these requirements may become relaxed especially if simply trying to probate a will that is not being challenged.  

The Competence Requirement

Every state requires competence for a will to be held as legal. This requires a person executing a will to be of “sound mind.” The two requirements to be considered of sound mind are to (1) understand the meaning and purpose of the document and (2) understand the nature and extent of the property at issue.

Oral Wills vs. Holographic Wills

Oral wills are not valid in New Jersey but, wills written in the handwriting of the testator may be. A handwritten will is referred to a s a Holographic will.

If you are interested in pursuing a will, power of attorney or living will contact The Morano Law Firm at 888-NJLAW17 (655-2717) or 201-598-5019. Always consult an attorney when pursuing an estate plan.

UPDATE: New Jersey Assembly Bill A.3903 was signed on April 14, 2020 enacting Remote Notarization in light of the pandemic.