Can I have a holographic will in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Since death is unpredictable, creating an estate plan is easy to put off. While you may have ideas for what you might include in your will and other estate documents, those plans will not be useful for your loved ones until you have a written plan.

For some, creating an estate plan is something they begin doing at certain milestones in life, like buying a house or having a child. On the other hand, some attempt to create an estate plan on their own.

This is what you should know about holographic wills and how they stand up in New Jersey.

What is a holographic will?

The idea of a holograph may conjure up images of shiny 3D pictures, but when it comes to a will, holographic has a different meaning. A holographic will is one that you write by hand. Although TV and movies often feature holographic wills, only a handful of states allow them.

Are holographic wills legal in New Jersey?

New Jersey is one of a few states where a handwritten will is valid. In addition to recognizing holographic wills, New Jersey also has no requirement that the will is witnessed as long as the will is in the testator’s handwriting.

What are the risks of creating a holographic will?

A handwritten will may seem better than dying intestate (without a will) for people who wait until the last moment to put together a will. However, a holographic will can pose several issues at probate, such as:

  • State of mind of the deceased
  • Undue influence in the writing of the will
  • Unverifiable handwriting

Additionally, many write a holographic will without legal advice. The support of a legal professional can ensure that the will includes all assets and that all relevant factors are part of the will. These provisions are often not as simple as they seem, so skilled help can make a significant impact.