Not all documents can constitute a will. There is a set of basic requirements that New Jersey courts have required to admit the will to probate through the process of administration through the surrogate. There are two common requirements for all documents that are treated as wills.
- A document that evinces an intent to dispose of the decedents property (testamentary intent)
- The will must be written
If a will that is valid on its, face, then no hearing and no reference to the probate part of the court is necessary to admit it to probate. To be valid on its face the will must be signed by the decedent. It has to be witnessed preferably what what are called self proving affidavit (affidavits signed by the witnesses of the will.) If there are no affidavits, this is not an insurmountable problem. The witnesses must be produced before the county court surrogate to testify that they watched the decedent sign the document that is the will. If the affidavits are self proving they must be notarized.