Can I Write My Own Will in New Jersey or New York?

Can I Write My Own Will in New Jersey or New York?

In the age of do-it- yourself, many people wonder if they can write their own wills. In New Jersey, the answer is yes, you can quite literally write your own will. The state is one of about 25 that allow handwritten wills to be submitted for probate, and it actually imposes fewer requirements on handwritten wills than typed wills. Alternatively, New York only recognizes handwritten wills in very limited circumstances involving members of the armed services.

Generally, for a will to be valid, it must be:

1. Created by a person of sound mind who is 18 years of age or older (also called the “testator”);

2. In writing;

3. Signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses; and

4. Signed by the two witnesses.

In the case of New Jersey handwritten, or “holographic” wills, however, the document does not need to be witnessed or signed by any witnesses. It need only be created by and signed by an adult of sound mind. If the handwritten will is submitted to probate, witnesses could potentially be called to testify as to the authenticity of the handwriting.

Before you rush for a pen and paper, though, consider the purpose of a will: to leave what is important to you to who is important to you. Making sure all your personal and real property are accounted, properly described, and appropriately gifted to your loved ones in a valid will is paramount for an experienced Elder Law attorney.

Contact Giro Attorneys at Law, LLP Now

Call (201) 690-1642 today to speak to one of the skilled New Jersey or New York attorneys at Giro Attorneys at Law, LLP, and start working toward a more certain future for you and your family.


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