In a recent case before the Appellate Division, the Appeals Court found that an unsigned and unwitnessed Will purporting to be the Last Will and Testament of an experienced attorney should be admitted to Probate despite the fact that this document was not properly executed.  In admitting the Will to Probate, the Court looked at numerous factors, including statements made by the decedent around the time the Will was drafted and detailed information of the contents of the Will which had been prepared by the decedent, however, had not been signed by him.  In finding the Will valid, the Court stated that the testamentary intent was clearly present as the Will was professionally prepared in every respect except for its execution.  It is likely, however, that while the decision is precedential, its reach is narrow as it involved an experienced estate attorney drafting a Will on his own behalf which is atypical when it comes to a Will contest.
Paul Norris is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark’s Probate Litigation Group in our  Lawrenceville, New Jersey office. For questions, or additional information, please contact Mr. Norris.