Drafting Wills: Understanding This Vital Document

The drafting of a will is an emotional task that requires the testator — or drafter — of the will to contemplate what life will look like once he or she passes away. A will is simply a written or oral declaration of how one’s property and assets should be distributed after death. Creating even the most basic of wills provides financial protection and emotional security to your loved ones. For assistance with the creation of this document, contact the experienced New Jersey estate planning attorneys at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Shifman, P.C.

Types of New Jersey Wills

Before starting with the creation of your will, it is important to understand the various types of wills.

  1. Self-Proving Will: The most common of wills, a self-proving will is one that has been witnessed and signed in accordance with state laws.
  2. Holographic Will: While recognized by only a few states — and only under a set of specific circumstances — a holographic will is one that is written by hand without witnesses.
  3. Oral Will: Again, this type of will is only recognized by a few states under “compelling circumstances.” An oral will is communicated verbally without being transcribed.
  4. Statutory Will: A statutory will is created using standard terms and preset forms with “fill in the blanks” portions.
  5. Joint / Mutual / Reciprocal Will: A joint will is created to distribute the assets of more than one person.
  6. Conditional / Contingent Will: The only will not enacted after death, a conditional will specifies the distribution of assets after a preset condition has taken place. An example of this would be a will that distributes property after the creator reaches a certain age.

Requirements For Self-Proving Wills

Learn the requirements for a self-proving will:

  • The creator must be of sound mind.
  • The document must clearly express that the document is your last will.
  • The document must be signed and dated.
  • The document must appoint guardians for all minor children, specify the distribution of specific assets and offer instructions for what happens to all property and assets that have not been directly mentioned in the will.
  • The document must appoint an executor.

Requirement for Holographic Wills

Learn the requirements of holographic wills:

  • The document must be entirely handwritten. If, for whatever reason, the entire document cannot be handwritten, the material provisions portion must be written by hand.
  • Your signature must be handwritten.

If you have already created a will but have had a significant change in life circumstances (such as a birth of a child or a marriage), you can create an addition to the will — called a codicil.

For help with creating your will, call  Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Shifman, P.C.  at (908) 561-5577 or contact us online for an experienced expert. Your will is the document that ensures those you love will be protected and cared for after you pass away. Don’t risk the effectiveness of this document by doing it yourself. Let the professionals help ensure your wishes are carried out.

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