NJ Will denied probate

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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NJ Will denied probate

My fathers Will was denied probate – it was sent to court. He did not have a witness on his Will. He had it notarized but no witness. The only thing he has is a condo that he left me. I do have siblings but they all know that my Dad wanted me to have the condo. What do I do?

Asked on November 22, 2017 under Estate Planning, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If the will was not witnessed it is invalid, and since your father has passed, it is too late to correct that shortcoming (i.e. he cannot re-sign the will and have it witnessed). The will is unenforceable. Instead, your father's  estate will be distributed by the rules or "intestate succession" (who gets what when there is no will), which means that you and your siblings will share in his estate--e.g. all get an interest in the condo--unless your siblings voluntarily choose to "disclaim" (or refuse to take) some part (or all) of their inheritance; for example, they could choose to honor your father's wishes and disclaim an interest in the condo. However, they have to choose to do this--you can't force them to do so--and if they refuse to disclaim, they will inherit the condo alongside you: they have equal inheritance rights under intestate sucession.

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