TRUSTS AND ESTATES

No Signature Required: N.J. Leads the Way With Writings Intended as Wills

, New Jersey Law Journal

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The appellate court also noted that, as late as 2008, the decedent "repeatedly orally acknowledged and confirmed the dispositionary contents therein to those closest to him in life."

The court further concluded that the fact that the document was only a copy of the original sent to the decedent's executor was not dispositive, since N.J.S.A. § 3B:3-3 does not require that the document be an original. The court determined that the evidence was compelling as to the testamentary sufficiency of the document, so as to rebut any presumption of revocation or destruction due to the absence of the original.

The holding in Ehrlich demonstrates that the erosion of the requirements of testamentary formalities is well underway. After all, who would have foreseen that an unsigned copy of a will could be admitted to probate?•

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