A will is the sole legal document that can help you to retain control over the probate process after your death. Probate oversees the proper administration of your estate and ensures that your heirs receive the correct assets. As a result, having a comprehensive and legally valid will is a crucial part of any estate plan.

However, having a valid will requires more than just adding a signature to a piece of paper. State laws determine what components a will must have to be authentic, and wills that contain the greatest level of specificity and clarity are the least likely to face opposition during the probate process.

A Mount Laurel wills lawyer may be able to help you in each of these areas, and it is important to retain the help of a legal professional before any issues with your estate arise.

The Legal Function of a Will

A will represents a person’s wishes regarding the outcome of their property after they die, and it serves as the only way for a decedent to influence the actions of the probate court. This document should name a person’s heirs, property, and assets as specifically as possible. This makes it abundantly clear what the testator wishes to happen after their death.

Another benefit of a will is the ability to nominate an executor of one’s estate. The executor has the sole authority to take control of a person’s assets after death, pay off creditors, and ensure the distribution of property according to the terms of the will. Parties drafting wills will ideally nominate an executor who is both willing and capable. A local wills attorney could provide more information about the function of wills within the probate process.

Ensuring that Wills Meet the Legal Standards for Construction

State probate courts will rarely interfere with a person’s right to insert any terms or clauses into their wills that they desire. However, probate courts have broad powers to determine whether a will meets the legal standards for a valid testamentary document. To this end, any person may allege that a will is invalid due to fraud, duress, or undue influence.

To prevent these arguments, it is important to understand the rules concerning the proper construction and authentication of wills. The most common example concerns signatures. According to New Jersey Revised Statute §3B:3-2, a valid will must contain the signature of the testator and the signatures of two witnesses who observed the testator signing the will. The testator should also observe those witnesses affixing their signatures.

A Mount Laurel lawyer could ensure the proper construction of a person’s will by including language to give it the authority to perform its job and taking steps to allow for the self-authentication of the document in probate court.

Contact a Mount Laurel Wills Attorney to Schedule an Appointment Today

It is important to understand the laws that control the proper construction of wills while you are creating your own document. A Mount Laurel wills lawyer could be a valuable resource during this process, and they could answer any questions or concerns you have about your will. Get in touch with a member of our legal team today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.