When can a Will may be admitted to probate

Law Lessons from In The Matter of the Estate of ALBERTHA BLACKWELL, ESX-CP-0057-09, Walter Koprowski, Jr., J.S.C., May 31, 2011: In New Jersey, a Will is only deemed valid and enforceable if the testator was over the age of 18 and of sound mind at the time of execution. N.J.S.A. 3B:3-1. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 3B:3-2(a), a valid Will must be: (1) in writing; (2) signed by the testator or in the testator's name by some other individual in the testator's conscious presence and at the testator's direction; and (3) signed by at least two individuals, each of whom signed within a reasonable time after each witnessed either the signing of the Will as described in paragraph (2) or the testator's acknowledgment of that signature or acknowledgment of the Will. A Will may be admitted to probate under circumstances where it does not literally comply with the statutory attestation requirements if there was substantial compliance. In re Will of Ranney, 124 N.J. 1, 11-15 (1991). In Ranney, the witnesses signed a self-proving affidavit, but not an attestation clause. The Supreme Court held that this Will could still be admitted to probate, despite this technical defect if the proponent can establish by clear and convincing evidence that the Will substantially complied with the statutory requirements and a Will should not be denied probate because witnesses signed in the wrong place. Id. at 14. Additionally, a document not in strict compliance with 3B:3-2 may be admitted to probate "if the proponent of the document or writing establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the decedent intended the document or writing to constitute: (1) the decedent's Will; (2) a partial or complete revocation of the Will; (3) an addition to or an alteration of the Will; or (4) a partial or complete revival of his formerly revoked Will or of a formerly revoked portion of the Will." N.J.S.A. 3B:3-3. Note: There is a print link embedded within this post, please visit this post to print it. NOTE: This Blog/Blawg, NJ Family Issues, is managed by Paul G. Kostro, Esq., an attorney/lawyer/mediator in Linden, Union County, New Jersey. My legal and mediation services are offered to clients in Union, Middlesex, Somerset, Essex, Hudson, Bergen, and Morris counties in NJ. My legal and mediation services are offered to clients in Fanwood 07023; Garwood 07027; Kenilworth 07033; Mountainside 07092; New Providence 07974; Roselle Park 07204; Roselle 07203; Elizabeth 07201; Linden 07036; Plainfield 07060; Rahway 07065; Summit 07901; Westfield 07090; Berkeley Heights 07922; Clark 07066; Cranford 07016; Hillside 07205; Scotch Plains 07076; Springfield 07081; Union 07083; Winfield; Carteret 07008; Dunellen 08812; East Brunswick 08816; Edison 08817; Jamesburg 08831; Metuchen 08840; New Brunswick 08901; Old Bridge 08857; Perth Amboy 08861; Sayreville 08871; South Amboy 08878; South River 08877; Avenel 07001; Colonia 07067; Iselin 08830; Woodbridge 07095; Somerset 08873; Somerville 08876 and Watchung 07069, New Jersey. My legal services include family law, divorce, child support, litigation, arbitration, mediation, child custody and visitation, alimony, equitable distribution, separation agreements, palimony, PSA, property settlement agreement, premarital and prenuptial agreements, midmarriage and marital agreements. My Law Office is located at 726 West Saint Georges [W. St. Georges] Avenue (Route 27), Linden, Union County, NJ. Telephone: 908-486-2200; EM@IL Adwokat / Prawnik Pawel Kostro mowi po polsku.

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