Testamentary Capacity in New Jersey

testamentary capacity in new jersey

Testamentary capacity is a legal requirement to make a will in New Jersey. It is different from the legal standard that applies to marrying and contracting. To make a valid will, the testator must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind and memory. She must also be able to understand the nature of her property and the disposition that she wishes to make. In addition, she must have the ability to put together the elements of a plan. Source – https://www.scura.com/blog/of-their-own-free-will-dealing-with-proof-in-undue-influence/testamentary-capacity-in-new-jersey

You Will Need To Keep In Mind

The Supreme Court of New Jersey has addressed the question of testamentary capacity, but has not yet resolved the issue. It has held that the statute creates a rebuttable presumption that a person has testamentary capacity. The Court also notes that the legislature enacted this provision to prevent litigation between heirs of an incompetent. The threshold for determining testamentary capacity in New Jersey is relatively low.

If the challenger believes the testator lacks testamentary capacity, they must prove that he or she was not of sound mind at the time the will was made. In many cases, a neighbor who was familiar with the testator’s estate and was present when he made the will would be sufficient proof. However, if this neighbor has a personal relationship with the testator and does not exert undue pressure on him or her, the challenge is unlikely to succeed.

A valid will requires a testator to have the mental capacity to make decisions regarding his or her own medical care. A testator must be at least eighteen years old to be considered capable of executing a will. An adult can only become mentally competent after he or she has been legally incapacitated for at least one year. In New Jersey, the court may not allow a testator to execute a valid will until he or she regains competency.