If you are writing a will, you need to make sure that this crucial legal document is valid. If not, your beneficiaries could experience all kinds of issues when you pass away. It is one of the many reasons to hire a qualified, experienced estate planning attorney in New Jersey. But what exactly makes a will valid? What are the three “conditions” you need to keep in mind?
These questions are best left answered by a legal professional, such as an estate planning attorney. The good news is that you can book a consultation with one of our attorneys and discuss the best estate planning options for your unique situation. Once you feel comfortable about moving forward, we can help you make sure that your will is valid in the eyes of the law.
What are the Three Conditions to Make a Will Valid?
Sound Body and Mind
One of the most important conditions of a valid will is the testator’s mental state when writing it. According to New Jersey law, the testator must be of sound body and mind. But what exactly is the definition of “sound body and mind?” Essentially, this means that the individual has the mental capacity to understand the long-term consequences of their actions and decisions. The courts will examine a number of factors to determine whether this was true. For example, they might try to figure out whether the testator was actually aware of the various assets that they owned.
Someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s may not be considered “of sound body and mind.” In addition, someone below the age of 18 cannot write a will for the same general reason. There are many other conditions that can affect someone’s mental state, as well. In order to determine whether a testator had the mental capacity to write a will, the court may listen to witnesses who saw them sign the will.
There Must be Witnesses
Speaking of witnesses, this is another requirement of a valid will. According to New Jersey law, at least two people need to witness the will being signed. These witnesses must also sign the will for it to be valid. The witnesses may play an important role if the will’s validity is later called into question, so this is an important step and a considerable responsibility. Because of this, you might want to choose carefully when selecting witnesses.
The Will Must be Notarized
Finally, the will must be notarized for it to be valid. Although you can technically write a will without a lawyer, it is best to have this document notarized in order to decrease the chances of it becoming invalid.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
If you have been searching the New Jersey area for a qualified estate planning attorney, look no further than Giro, LLP, Attorneys at Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous individuals in the Garden State craft effective, valid estate plans. Your will is an important part of your estate plan, and we can help you ensure the long-term integrity of this legal document. Book your consultation today, and you can explore all of your estate planning options.