It may be difficult, but planning for the future may be helpful for your loved ones after your passing. You may also have plans for certain assets and heirlooms, so it is important to put those ideas down on paper.

If you want to create a last will and testament, or are considering making changes to a current will, or have any other issues with trusts and estates, you may want to consult an attorney. A seasoned Moorestown wills lawyer can be well-informed on current laws for estates.

Last Wills and Testaments in Moorestown

In order to be accepted for probate, a will must first be deemed valid by a court. A testamentary document could be considered invalid if it lacks certain elements, but among other services, an adept Moorestown wills attorney could work to ensure that such a document is enforceable.

Individuals who are over the age of 18 and of sound mind may create a will. Per New Jersey Revised Statutes §3B:3-2, two witnesses must also be present when the author of the will—called the testator—signs the document. The witnesses are also required to sign it.

Proving That a Document is a Will

Most residents of Moorestown type their testamentary instruments or have a legal professional do so on their behalf. However, a handwritten document—also known as a holographic will—might also be viewed as valid under some circumstances.

In order to show that a hand-scribed page was meant to serve as a will, the custodian or the heirs may need to provide the court with additional evidence. Interested parties may supplement the handwritten document with affidavits, letters, or emails that may persuade the court. It may be beneficial to involve an experienced wills law firm in such proceedings.

Will Revisions in Moorestown

Even if a testator wants to change or revoke their will, will revisions or additions may not have the legal effect that was intended. Because of the complex nature of estate planning, it may be a prudent idea to consult a wills lawyers in Moorestown prior to altering a testamentary document.

A will in Moorestown may also be revoked if the testator wants to get rid of it altogether. This can be achieved by the testator tearing up the pages or directing someone else to burn it in their presence. By the authority of N.J.R.S. §3B:3-13, an author of a will may alternatively revoke it by creating a new document which states that the prior will is rescinded.

What Are the Benefits of a Will? 

One of the greatest benefits of a will is that the testator may formally establish their personal directives for the disbursement of their assets upon their death. The testator could name the beneficiaries of their choice in their will, and designate the person of their choice to handle their estate when they pass away. If the testator has children under 18, they could identify a guardian and a backup guardian to handle their child’s upbringing in the event of their untimely passing. The administration of the estate often also proceeds much quicker when a person passes away with a legally enforceable will.

What Happens When Someone Dies Without a Will in Moorestown?

When someone dies without a will in Moorestown, they are considered to have died intestate. If a person dies intestate, state law will dictate how the individual’s assets will be managed and disbursed upon their death. Without a will, a person relinquishes any control they might have had about how their assets will be handled when they die. This state administration process may not line up with the personal wishes of the decedent. If the individual’s family is not living, their assets would pass into the hands of the state.

When Should Someone Change a Will? 

The truth is that there may be occasions where it is necessary to change or revise a will. There are some common circumstances where a revision of an existing will may be advisable. For example, if the testator divorces, marries, or has children, this may cause them to modify their will. Other major changes in the testator’s circumstances such as the passing on of one of their named beneficiaries could make a modification of the will necessary.

As the years pass, the testator may find that there is a provision about their will that they simply wish to change. A document called a codicil is often used to change a will. It is best to consult with a lawyer rather than simply trying to change a will alone, potentially making errors that could undermine the validity of the document.

Contact a Moorestown Wills Attorney Today

The laws regarding wills in Moorestown can be confusing and complicated. Trying to create and execute a last will and testament on your own could backfire, resulting in a document that might not be admitted to probate.

If you have decided that it is time you wrote a will, it might be wise to contact a Moorestown wills lawyer for guidance. It is never too early, nor too late to work on your will and testament, and thorough preparation and assistance from an attorney can help ensure that your final wishes are carried out and your assets are divided as you see fit. Call today to get started.