Safeguard Your Original Will
Did you know that for the most part, a copy of a will cannot be probated in New Jersey, if the original cannot be found? This is because all you have to do to revoke it, is tear it up. No attorney is needed. Therefore the law presumes that if the original cannot be found, that one night you got disgusted with it, changed your mind, and tore it up!
While there is a statute, N.J.S.A. 3B:3-3, which permits probate of a copy after a Court proceeding, the proof that the document was what you intended for a will must be “clear and convincing”. The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that in order for evidence to be “clear and convincing” it must be “so clear, direct and weighty and convincing” that the Judge comes to the “clear conviction, without hesitance, of the truth”. Evidence can be undisputed but a judge can still decide not to believe it.1 In addition, you can imagine how expensive and time consuming this type of suit would be.
Therefore keep your original will in a fireproof box or safe deposit box. If you prepare a will with us, we offer a free service where we keep the original will in a series of Safe Deposit Boxes that we have at a local bank. We give you a copy to take home for your records. Anytime, without charge, obligation, or question, you can come and pick up the original as long as you provide us with one hour’s notice during normal banking hours.
Another service of De Sapio Law Office. If you have any questions about this topic contact Mike De Sapio, firstname.lastname@example.org or any one of us.
Gaetano M. De Sapio, Esq.
1 – State v. Hodge, 95 N.J. 369, 376 (1984); In the Matter of Jobes, 108 N.J. 394 (1987)