Having a comprehensive estate plan is key to ensuring that your heirs inherit your property after your death. A core component of any estate plan is a Will which informs the probate court about which parties you want to receive your assets. In addition, a Will can nominate a person to serve as executor of your estate. This executor is responsible for paying your debts and distributing your property during the probate process.

A New Jersey Wills lawyer is available to help you draft a Will that meets the state’s requirements for formation. We can also work with you to identify your goals, name your heirs, and form Wills that leave no doubt as to your intentions for the future. With our years of experience and success, the experienced trusts and estates attorneys from Gillman, Bruton & Capone are ready to work with you.

Why is Having a Valid Will Important?

A Will forms the central aspect of any estate plan and its purpose is to inform the probate court about your wishes for your property after your death. A properly constructed Will nominates an executor to oversee probate, identifies your heirs and property, and describes where that property should go at the determined time.

From a legal perspective, a Will overrides the state’s intestacy rules, which is the guideline that comes into play when a person dies without their intentions being known. A probate court may also use the intestacy rules if a Will does not mention specific property or is incomplete in terms of naming assets. Therefore, a comprehensive Will avoids many of the complications that can arise during probate. A New Jersey Wills attorney can provide more information about the function of these documents and work with you to avoid the potential for complications down the road.

What Steps are Necessary to Draft a Valid Will?

For the most part, you are free to include any provisions that you wish when drafting a Will. You may name any heirs and provide those heirs with any of your assets. However, it is important to remember that minors cannot directly inherit property and items may need to sit under the care of a guardian until that child comes of age. The law is more specific where it concerns the proper formation of a Will. According to New Jersey Revised Statute § 3B:3-2, the law presumes a Will to be valid if it:

  • Is in writing
  • Contains the testator’s signature or the testator has ordered another to sign on their behalf
  • Contains the signatures of at least two witnesses who observed the testator sign the document

A Will that contains these elements is presumptively valid in probate court. This helps diffuse accusations of fraud, duress, or other concepts that might call the legitimacy of the document into question. A Wills lawyer in New Jersey can help you draft documents in such a way that gives the document the maximum legal effect with minimal opportunity for challenges in the future.

Contact a New Jersey Wills Attorney to Plan for the Future

Every adult should have a Will that provides instructions to a probate court as to what you want to happen to your property after your death. The Will may also nominate an executor to oversee the payment of debts and the distribution of property, if you desire. We know that this task can sometimes be complicated and fraught with emotion, which is why a New Jersey Wills lawyer can help you draft these documents properly.

Place a call today to Gillman, Bruton & Capone and learn how we can help you plan for the future. Even after you draft your Will, we are always available to adjust the terms of the document as you see fit.