New Jersey Laws on Wills

By Beverly Bird

Matters of wills and probate are overseen by the Surrogate’s Court in New Jersey. You can write your own will, but this might be costly to your beneficiaries if you make mistakes or fail to keep up with the state's frequently changing laws. If you write your will yourself, it may be best to have an attorney review it to make sure it adequately meets your needs.


You must be 18 years of age or older and of sound mind to make a will in New Jersey. It must be signed by two witnesses. There is no law against the witnesses also being beneficiaries. Holographic, or handwritten, wills are accepted as long as it can be proved that the signature and all the important provisions are in your penmanship. However, holographic wills are probated through the Superior Court in New Jersey, not the Surrogate's Court, and this can be a more costly process for your estate and heirs.


You can revoke your will by physically destroying it or by making a new will that revokes it. Any provisions relating to your spouse, whether they are bequests or your wish for him to be the executor of your estate, are nullified if you divorce him. However, the provisions are reinstated if you remarry him.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Inheritance Taxes

New Jersey taxes assets you leave to your beneficiaries, depending on your relationship with them. “Class A” beneficiaries include your spouse, civil union or domestic partner, parents, grandparents, children, stepchildren and grandchildren. They are exempt from inheritance taxes. However, your siblings, in-laws and friends will have to pay up to 16 percent of the value of whatever you leave them in your will. If you make a gift to one of them in anticipation of your death and die within three years of doing it, New Jersey will count that gift as part of your willed estate and tax it.

Intestacy Laws

If you die without a will, or intestate, your spouse inherits your estate only if you don’t have any children from another relationship and your parents are not living. New Jersey recognizes domestic partners as having the same rights as spouses for purposes of estate law.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Wills in Virginia


Related articles

CT Laws on Wills & Estates

When someone dies in Connecticut, the executor -- the person appointed in the will to carry out its terms -- has 30 days to submit the will to the probate court in the county where the deceased lived. The exception is if the deceased’s entire estate is valued at less than $40,000 and includes no real estate that requires transfer of title.

Under Texas Law Can Dogs Be Part of the Divorce Degree

Texas divorce courts can be a little cold when it comes to issues of Fido. If you and your spouse have a beloved dog, the state is more than glad to let you negotiate terms for his care and custody in your divorce agreement, and the terms can be incorporated into your decree. If you want the court to make a ruling on your pet, however, you might be a little appalled by the outcome.

Massachusetts Wills & Inheritance

Inheritance laws in Massachusetts depend on whether or not you leave a will. If you do, you decide who gets your property after your death, subject to certain laws. If you do not, the state decides who gets your property. The probate court is much more involved in settling your estate if you leave no will.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Who Inherits if There's No Will in Connecticut?

Your wishes for property distribution after you die in Connecticut may not be honored if you don't leave a valid will ...

Wills in New Jersey

New Jersey is more flexible than some states in its laws covering wills and estates. Anyone at least 18 years of age ...

A Last Will & Testament in Illinois

To make a last will and testament in Illinois, you must be at least 18 years of age or be emancipated from your parents ...

How to Become an Executor of Your Parents' Estate

Serving as executor or personal representative of anyone’s estate can be a double-edged sword. While it is a great ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED