Free New Jersey Last Will and Testament



What is a Last Will and Testament?

A New Jersey Last Will and Testament, if written and executed properly by a person who is an adult of sound mind, is an official document that determines how your belongings or real estate will be used and handed out following your passing away. The one who leaves a will is known as testator. After they pass away, they may also be referred to as the decedent. If the decedent has minor children, the Will might also be used to delegate a person they want to take care of their children and who they wish to handle their children’s inheritance and finances until eventually each child attains majority (typically 18, but it is possible to indicate a different age) to deal with their finances on their own.

In a New Jersey Last Will, the decedent normally also appoints a personal representative-or co-personal representatives (two or more persons acting jointly in this capacity) to take care of the estate matters. A personal agent is an individual who collects all the information regarding the decedent’s debt and belongings, pays off any overdue debts using the assets on behalf of the estate, and makes sure that the decedent’s property is distributed as provided in the last will, so this is a role with a lot of responsibility. The personal representative picked is normally someone the will creator genuinely is sure of to conclude their last wishes.

In cases where somebody passes away with no valid New Jersey Last Will and Testament (which in most states means the document must be correctly witnessed, not just signed), somebody will typically be selected by the probate court to function as personal representative and take care of the decedent’s financial obligations, using assets as required to do so. Consequently, the residual assets will be allotted amongst the decedent’s heirs according to the legislation of the state the will maker resided in.

In certain states, any time one spouse passes away leaving their significant other, that living spouse will obtain most of the decedent’s property without a Will saying the contrary. In other instances, the testator could have selected a certain individual to obtain a life insurance policy, retirement account, or other asset, and that beneficiary designation will determine who receives those assets in the absence of a Last Will and Testament.

The critical thing to know is that anyone who desires to specify the way their belongings will be used after their passing should make and appropriately execute a Will to make sure that their wishes are recognized and executed. Without a will, you may be leaving it up to chance, the laws of the state, or a lawcourt as to the way your very last matters will be taken care of.

Legal Requirements for Last Wills in New Jersey

There are specific legal requirements for those wanting to leave a testament, and legators (the ones writing the will) have to follow them if they want to conduct this process within the New Jersey law.

Though the New Jersey law does not make leaving the will obligatory for everyone, it is still desirable everyone has such a will. The reason for this is quite simple: if people do not express their attitude towards who inherits their assets after their death, local authorities (namely, the court) do it for them. Usually, local authorities distribute the remaining assets according to the principle of the closest relation to legators and do not take into account any personal preferences. It means it is more reliable to leave a testament and fix your preferences there.

When people do not leave the will, they are called "intestate,” and it is for the court to appoint a person inheriting all the legators' assets. Commonly, a surviving spouse gets all the assets if legators had no children. If there are children.” but no surviving spouse, they get all the property. In the situation when there are both a surviving spouse and kids, they divide the remaining property between themselves.

But what legators can include in their will? What can their relatives and loved ones inherit after their death?

Legators can include in the will only assets and property titled in the name, and they cannot manage any of the jointly held property gained in the marriage. Moreover, even when surviving spouses are not included in the will, they still can obtain an elective share of the remaining property. And legislators must always remember that.

The list of Assets

This is the list of legators' assets they can distribute after their death (on condition these assets are titled in their name):

  • Vehicles

  • Houses

  • Cash

  • Business ventures

In addition to creating trusts for people, testators (legators, in other words) can create trusts for their pets, as well. It means legators need to choose a person who will be caring for the legators' pets even after those pets' owners die. By providing such an opportunity, the New Jersey law shows how it cares not only about legators' property (both personal and real) but about their favorite pets, as well.

Legators need to know they always have an opportunity to revoke their will, make amendments to the existing will, or create a new one. If they want to add amendments, they can do it following the same procedure they did while creating the will.

The revocation of the will can be done in the next ways:

  • By creating the new will;

  • By "the performance of a revocatory act on the will" that includes "canceling, tearing, burning, destroying, or obliterating the previous will.

Essential requirements to meet while creating the will:

  • There must be at least two witnesses who need to sign the will after a legator does;

  • A legator must be over 18 years old;

  • A legator (or some person acting by their name and under their guidance) must sign the will;

  • The will must be either in the written or handwritten (holographic) form to be considered legitimate;

  • A legator must be of a healthy mind.

The Aftermath

After the requirements are met, and after the will is written, a legator has to prove it to the probate court. If legators have small estates, they have an opportunity to complete a simplified probate procedure. It is possible in the two situations:

  • The value of assets does not exceed $10,000, and there is no surviving spouse;

  • The value of assets does not exceed $20,000, and a surviving spouse has the right to obtain all those assets.

When legators' assets do not meet these requirements, executors (people appointed by legators) have to ask the Surrogate Court about the provision of "Letters Testamentary.” By utilizing these letters, executors can manage legators' assets according to the will and keep those assets safe and sound.

Last Will Forms for Neighboring States