Free New Jersey Last Will and Testament Form

A last will and testament is an essential and legal document that represents the final wishes of a testator with regard to their private property and in what way they would want it to get distributed among chosen heirs.

It is generally wise to write a will. A thought-out and effectively made last will and testament can be essential to all your family members and relations upon your passing, even if you don’t have a large amount of estate to distribute.

If you’re trying to find a printable and fillable New Jersey last will and testament form, you will find one on this page, as well as the guidelines on last will writing and answers to common questions.


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New Jersey Last Will Laws and Requirements

Requirements State laws
Statutes Title 3B – Administration of Estates – Decedents and Others
Signing requirement Two witnesses 3B:3-2. Execution; witnessed wills; writings intended as wills
Age of testator 18 or older or married minor 3B:3-1  Individuals competent to make a will and appoint a testamentary guardian
Age of witnesses 18 or older 3B:3-7  Who may witness a will
Self-proving wills Allowed 3B:3-4  Making will self-proved at time of execution
Handwritten wills Recognized if meeting certain conditions   3B:3-2. Execution; witnessed wills; writings intended as wills
Oral wills Not recognized
Holographic wills Recognized if meeting certain conditions
Registering a will Possible with the New Jersey Secretary of State’s Office  A fee is $10 3B:3-2.1  Creation, maintenance of will registry; fees

How to Prepare a New Jersey Last Will and Testament

  1. Consider your options. Determine whether or not you would like to hire attorneys or create your will on your own (either by handwriting it all or working with a free last will and testament form).
  2. Specify your information. The first step is establishing the testator by writing their full legal name, as well as the residential info (city, county, and state). Go over the information you entered and the remainder of the section, including “Expenses and Taxes.”
    Section for indicating details of a New Jersey last will
  3. Choose the executor. In this passage, you choose who’s going to carry out your last will and testament by filling in their full name, together with their city, county, and state of residence. Almost all states have special policies concerning the out-of-state representatives and executors, which often means additional hassle and red tape. So, it is recommended to appoint a person who lives in the same state as you. As a precaution, you may choose an alternative executor of your last will and testament. That way, you’ll be able to make sure that, even if the initially chosen executor is unable to carry out their obligations, there’s another trustworthy person you can rely on.
    Executor choosing part of New Jersey will and testament
  4. Indicate the guardian (optional). In case you have underage or dependent children and don’t wish the court to pick a guardian for them when you are no longer here, you can appoint a friend or acquaintance as a guardian for your children.
    Guardian appointment section of last will document for New Jersey
  5. Establish your beneficiaries. Now indicate people to whom you want to pass down your assets, that is, your beneficiaries. Fill in their full names, places of residence, and your relationship to them (e.g., spouse, child, friend).
  6. Distribute property. List your property and explain the way you want to distribute it to your beneficiaries if you have something on your mind aside from dividing the property commensurately. Assets might include money for arrearage, realty, stocks, business ownership, cash, as well as any physical items of monetary worth that count among your possessions. Yet, shared and living will property and assets, along with your life insurance, can’t be put into your will.
    Section for specifying beneficiaries and allocating property of last will New Jersey
  7. Proceed with the witnesses putting the signatures at the end of the document. According to the New Jersey law, for any will to be considered legally correct, it has to be signed by two witnesses. They have to be over 18 years of age and have absolutely no interest in your testament, which means they can’t be beneficiaries. Consider picking witnesses who are younger than you to ensure they will be around if the will is contested in the court or if any other problem arises. Now, you (as well as your two witnesses) have to sign the will after filling in your full legal addresses and names. Do not forget to check every paragraph thoroughly prior to finalizing the matter.
    Signatures of witnesses section of a New Jersey last will template

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Frequently Asked Questions

The major distinction between these two documents is that once you die, the person you designate through power of attorney loses their official authority to take care of any matters in your stead. There are two key ones on the list of power of attorney types:

  • General power of attorney – enables you to designate a proxy (agent) who will have the ability to manage your financial and legal matters on your behalf. But, this document becomes ineffective in case the PoA author passes away or becomes incapacitated.
  • Durable power of attorney – gives the same authority to the proxy as the first type but continues to be effective even when the person on behalf of whom the agent acts becomes disabled.

A will executor, in contrast, is your reliable representative in charge of carrying out the provisions from your last will and testament. Nonetheless, the two roles can be served by one person.

Is a New Jersey will form effective without a notary certification?

New Jersey law affirms that a will is valid without having a notary public authorize it. But, you could make your last will self-proving by attaching an affidavit to it, and you will have to hire a notary if you want to accomplish that. A self-proving last will helps make probate faster because the court can approve it without communicating with the witnesses involved.

IIMPORTANT: Even though notarization is not required for last wills in New Jersey, it usually helps facilitate the probate.

An attested or holographic last will, what should I go for?

For any holographic last will to be legally binding, you must handwrite the entire document, put the date of writing, and put your signature on it. Such wills tend to be more normally used in emergencies and/or until more formal documents can be created (whether by an attorney at law or using a last will template like the one you can easily get from this site). Holographic wills can have unclear directions and may omit necessary terms, so they are more difficult to enforce and can delay the probate considerably. Thus, it may be a better choice to go with the other solution we discuss below.

An attested will is a typed document, often based upon a fillable template available online or created with the help of a law firm. To be considered valid, it must be signed by the testator and two credible witnesses over the age of 18 in the testator’s presence, which can also be done in the presence of a notary public. However, the latter isn’t needed in New Jersey.

Exactly what does it mean to be testamentary capable?

To be able to make your will and change it (to be testamentary capable), you must fulfill certain requirements with regards to your legal and mental abilities (sound mind) first.

Usually, in most states, to create a last will, you ought to be of sound mind and at least 18 years of age. “Sound mind” signifies that you don’t have any kind of mental illnesses (dementia, senility, insanity, etc.) that don’t allow you to have an understanding of the aftermaths of your actions.

In New Jersey, do I need a self-proving affidavit?

Based on New Jersey law, there’s no need to add a self-proving affidavit to your will. But, it isn’t a bad decision to attach this document. At the time of probate, it’ll function as an alternative for the witness testimony in court and speed up the process.

Can you leave out your children or spouse from a last will?

New Jersey is not a community property state (also known as marital property). It is a kind of interest documentation provided by the law that claims that half of all properties and assets (including arrears) of one spouse belongs to another and continues to be such upon divorce. 2018 study shows that in the State of New Jersey, the divorce rate is 5.7 per 1,000 women over 15 years old, which is lower than the average US rate of 7.7.

In New Jersey, you are able to disinherit your spouse entirely. However, note that your marriage partner will be authorized to own some set minimum number of your assets.
With regards to everyone else, it is legal in New Jersey to disinherit members of your family in your last will. By adding particular disinheritance paragraphs to your last will and testament, you can exclude your adult children or other family members from obtaining any of the possessions.

Is it possible to change my will without my approval?

No, it is only you who is permitted to modify your last will and testament. Another person can only sign the last will if you’re physically unable to do it.

Am I allowed to revise a typewritten last will after signing it (in New Jersey)?

Yes, you’re allowed to adjust it.

In New Jersey, in case you haven’t entered into a contract that mentions the opposite, you can cancel or modify your will whenever you want.

It will be a wise decision to modify your last will when a major event comes about in your life. These include but aren’t limited to:

  • A child has been adopted or born
  • You have married or divorced
  • Selling or buying real estate
  • Important changes in your financial situation

How should I act in case my will has been lost?

If the last will has been lost or damaged, as per New Jersey law, the court can accept it. However, the probate court will be not likely to admit anything except for the original of the last will and testament to probate.

As outlined by New Jersey law, the absence of the will can be assumed as its cancellation. This suggests that the executor should evidence the last will’s credibility, which may prove to be quite complicated.

For a holographic will, you may need sworn witnesses and testimony to show. This can make the situation a lot more complicated. The reason behind not providing the will and its elements has to be confirmed as well.

If I am physically unable to sign my last will, what do I have to do?

As indicated by the New Jersey Estate Code, it’ll be possible for a person to sign their last will, considering that it is your (as a testator) directive and in your presence. The person who wrote the will can state their last wishes in a verbal manner, by giving a positive answer to a query, or with gestures.

It is possible to get a notary to sign the name of a testator that is physically unable to do so if the latter guides the notary public in the presence of a witness. This witness is decided on much the same way someone would select an executor – they mustn’t have any legal or equitable interest in any property and assets that are the focus of or influenced by the will.

Related documents Times when you might want to create one
Codicil Your last will needs one or several minor changes.
Self-proving affidavit You would like to expedite the probate in the future.
Living will You want to declare your wishes regarding the end-of-life treatment and life-prolonging procedures.
Living trust You would like to consider an alternative to a last will.
Published: Sep 17, 2020
Mara Erlach
Mara Erlach
Writer & Attorney
Mara has been practicing estate planning and trust law in California since 2003, taking pride in helping clients of all backgrounds and asset profiles form a complete and customized estate plan. Her specialties are: estate planning, wills and trusts, trust and probate administration.