You likely already know a will is an integral part of your estate plan. Because this estate planning tool is used to distribute your assets to your loved ones, you’ll want to make sure your will is valid.
Rather than leaving your legacy to chance, consider how to best protect your wishes. The legally binding requirements of a will include:
- Sound mind, or “testamentary capacity.” When you establish your will, you must understand what’s at stake and choose to dispose of your property accordingly.
- Age of adulthood. You must be at least 18 years old to execute a will in New Jersey. Although minors may express personal wishes, their parents would have the legal capacity to make any necessary final decisions.
- Independence. A valid will states your voluntary choices about designating your assets in the event of your death. Questions may arise with suspicions of “undue influence,” or pressure, to leave an inheritance different than what you’ve verbally expressed to your family.
State law also requires two witness signatures to validate your will.
Documentation for peace of mind
Without having your assets accounted for ahead of time, the state could become responsible for verifying the full extent of your estate and distributing your legacy accordingly. Why accept the risk of leaving decisions to an institution rather than making choices that align with your beliefs and hopes for the future?
The turmoil of losing a loved one is often overwhelming for families. Thankfully, you can save others some additional time and stress by considering the inevitable and communicating your wishes in writing.