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A will is a legally enforceable written document directing which assets go to whom. If you want to choose how your assets are distributed and who your personal representative is, then yes, you need a will.
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Yes, a will can eliminate the requirement of a bond which will reduce administrative expenses and it could permit your estate to take advantage of tax savings.
Yes, but without professional guidance and advice, it may not be legally sufficient to be admitted to probate. In addition, self-prepared handwritten "holographic" wills can only be admitted to probate after a formal Superior Court hearing, which takes time and money.
Yes, you can name two or more executors to serve at the same time. However, the parties must work in concert with one another. Some banks do not recognize co-executors. Keep this in mind, especially if potential co-executors live in separate areas.
You can name one executor and then alternate executors should the first-named executor not want to serve or pass away.
Real estate owned jointly by husband and wife in the form of ownership legally known as "tenancy by the entirety" is not controlled by the will of the spouse who dies first. Absolute ownership of the property will pass to the surviving spouse who has rights of survivorship, regardless of what the will may provide.
Accounts held jointly may be owned with right of survivorship and if you want the account to pass outside the estate when one owner dies, make sure you set the account up that way.
If assets are left to minor children and no custodial account or trust was established to manage that property, the Surrogate's Court will need to appoint a property guardian to manage that property until a child turns eighteen. Funds will be held in a trust fund by the Court.
A divorce operates as a revocation of any bequest made to your former spouse or any appointment of your former spouse as executor, but in all other respects, the will is still effective.
For a will to be considered self-proving, it must contain specific wording related to and including two witnesses and a notary.
Pursuant to Statute 3B:3-4 "Making will self-proved at time of execution", a will may be simultaneously executed, attested, and made self-proved, by acknowledgment thereof by the testator and affidavits of the witnesses, each made before an officer authorized pursuant to R.S.46:14-6.1 to take acknowledgments and proofs of instruments entitled to be recorded under the laws of this State, in substantially the following form:
I, .........., the testator, sign my name to this instrument this .... day of ......., 20..., and being duly sworn, do hereby declare to the undersigned authority that I sign and execute this instrument as my last will and that I sign it willingly (or willingly direct another to sign for me), that I execute it as my free and voluntary act for the purposes therein expressed, and that I am 18 years of age or older, of sound mind, and under no constraint or undue influence.
We,............., the witnesses, sign our names to this instrument, and, being duly sworn, do hereby declare to the undersigned authority that the testator signs and executes this instrument as the testator's last will and that the testator signs it willingly (or willingly directs another to sign for him), and that each of us, in the presence and hearing of the testator, hereby signs this will as witness to the testator's signing, and that to the best of our knowledge the testator is 18 years of age or older, of sound mind, and under no constraint or undue influence.
The State of................
Subscribed, sworn to and acknowledged before me by ................, the testator and subscribed and sworn to before me by ............ and ............., witnesses, this ............. day of.................
(Signed)............................. (Notary / Attorney) with stamp/seal
If the proper wording is present with the signatures of the testator and of two witnesses, but the will has not been notarized OR the notary paragraph is lacking/contains errors OR one of the witnesses has also acted as the notary, the executor would need to find and contact one of the witnesses and ask them to visit the Surrogate's Court to sign a proof.
If the will has been properly notarized, but is lacking the proper attestation wording by the witnesses, then both witnesses may need to sign proofs.
This can sound confusing, but we can help. Please contact the Surrogate's Court for assistance on this process at 908-788-1156.
Application is made to the Surrogate who usually appoints a person from among the next of kin of the minor.
Descendants are children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc.
No, although New Jersey is one of several states to enact the Uniform Probate Code, most states have their own probate laws. It is a good idea to have your will reviewed when you move to another state.