Planning for the future is an essential task that must be tackled to protect the interests of you and your family. Through estate planning, wills and trusts allow you to delineate how you want your real and personal property and assets distributed. At Chance & McCann attorneys are committed to helping you understand the tenets of estate planning and making the process as simple and seamless as possible.
What are the requirements for a valid will?
The requirements for a valid will vary slightly from state to state. In New Jersey a validly executed will must:
- Be in writing
- Signed by you
- Signed by at least two witnesses
In addition to these basic requirements, New Jersey law mandates that you must be at least 18 years old and legally competent. Competence is satisfied you are of sound mind and understand the meaning and purpose of the will as well as the nature and extent of his or her assets and property. In some cases, wills are handwritten. These are known as holographic wills. New Jersey recognizes holographic wills if it is written in your own handwriting.
Why do I need to have a will?
Many people mistakenly believe that it is only important for people with significant assets to have valid wills. However, if you die without a validly executed will your property will be distributed according to New Jersey’s intestacy statutes. Intestacy statutes begin with your closest living relatives and continue until your property is distributed. You will need to assign guardianship of your children and a trustee of your assets. If you have no eligible beneficiaries under intestacy, your property escheats to the state. Effectively, a will is your only way to control what happens to your possessions and provide for the people of your own choosing. Our attorneys are also able to help you appoint someone you trust to handle your affairs if you become legally incompetent. This is known as a power of attorney and grants authority someone the authority to make decisions about your personal, medical and financial affairs.
Consult our experienced estate planning attorneys today to safeguard your future
Planning for the future is vital to protecting what you’ve worked hard for during your life. At Chance & McCann, our experienced wills and trusts attorneys provide personalized counsel to help you make sound decisions.
We can provide you with:
- Last Will & Testament
- Living Wills
- Financial Powers of Attorney
- Heath Care Powers of Attorney