By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a NJ Will Contest Attorney
If you have a will and you decide to make changes to it, can you take out a page and replace it? The short answer is yes…but be careful if you make changes to your will such as:
1. Replacing pages;
2. Typing additional provisions on the will;
3. Adding additional pages; or
4. Amending the contents of your existing will.
If you do any of the above, then the original will and the changes must be re-executed with the same formalities required of the original will. If the changes to the will are not wholly in the handwriting of the person who is the creator of the will (called the testator) the formalities required are that:
1. The will be signed by the testator or someone by his direction and in his presence;
2. The will be attested to by two credible witnesses who sign the will;
• in their own handwriting;
• in the presence of the testator.
If you don’t execute the altered will with the formalities stated above, then the document is not technically a lawful will and will not be admitted to probate. There are exceptions however. I recently read a case where the testator was in the habit of taking his will apart and replacing pages whenever he wanted to make changes to it. Apparently, he changed his will frequently. The will was denied probate because he did not re-execute the altered will with the required formalities. He died intestate, without a will, something that he obviously did not want to do since he had gone to the trouble of creating a will and changing it over the years.
The bottom line is you invite a lot of risk and uncertainty to the probate of your Last Will and Testament if you make changes to it without following the state requirements for a valid will in the first place.
Contact me personally today to discuss your New Jersey will contest matter. I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns. You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.