From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: I am the executor of my Dad’s will (he is alive and living in Atlantic County). I would like to make a minor change to his will. My Dad agrees to the change. Do I need a lawyer to change the will?
Each competent person over the age of 18 can have a will, but only that person can change or modify the will. Your dad is free to change the will if he is still competent. The Executor is the person who carries out the terms of the will after death, so right now you have no power to do anything, especially make changes.
Given your question, if the change benefits you over the other heirs, you are setting yourself up for a Will Challenge, lots of angry family members and lot of expensive litigation. Your dad should contact an experienced New Jersey Estate Planning Lawyer—without you being involved in any manner—and have that attorney make the change.
If your dad cannot do this on his own, he may not be competent to change the will. A neutral Atlantic County Estate Planning Attorney will make the changes and then be able to testify that your dad was competent and not under undue influence to make the change. If you are not involved in that process then it will reduce the chances of a Will Contest.
If you have questions about Estate Planning in Atlantic County, New Jersey, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation with one of our estate planning lawyers.