Philadelphia, PA asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Pennsylvania

Q: Drawing up our own online will for my mother's estate , if I have it notorized in Pennsylvania will it be valid for Nj.?

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1 Lawyer Answer
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Boyertown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: Pursuant to New Jersey statutory law, S.A, 3B:3-2B, a holographic Will, e.g., one handwritten by the decedent, even unsigned (the handwriting of the decedent of the context of the Will may be good enough), can be admitted to probate in NJ, regardless of the location of its drafting. But there are other jurisdictional requirements, e.g., the decedent must have property in NJ, or be a provable resident/domiciliary at the time of death and beforehand.

Note that the usual reasons to object to admission of a will into probate (in other words, that the admitted Will is the most recent and reliable statement of the decedent's wishes about her property) will obtain, as with any other will. While you may save money by doing a holographic Will, you may well complicate things when it comes time to present the Will for probate, and at that time, it is too late to fix. (You should also investigate the legal capacity of the drafter of the will at the time of its making, and perhaps get a doctor's opinion at draft time that the decedent is competent to handle her own affairs, and specifically, make a Will.)

You don't say what the estimated values of the decedent's property may be. While lawyers can be expensive, it is almost always preferable to, at a minimum, confer with experienced counsel before taking actions, especially those that cannot be reversed without difficulty.

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