It is difficult to overstate the importance of a properly constructed will or living will. Your will is your final message, testament, and directive to your family and the world, a single document responsible for encompassing matters ranging from the distribution of your estate, to future provisions for your relatives. If a person passes away without a valid will, a lifetime’s worth of loving consideration and careful planning for family members can be lost.
Because your will is so crucial — not only to you as an individual, but to the future generations of your family to come — it is very important that its creation is guided by a skilled attorney who can help you avoid any potential issues or pitfalls. To schedule a confidential legal consultation, call the New Jersey wills lawyers of The Jayson Law Group LLC at (908) 258-0621 today.
The Jayson Law Group LLC: New Jersey Wills Attorneys
At The Jayson Law Group LLC, we are experienced attorneys with years of experience handling the drafting of wills and other important aspects of estate planning. We are fully equipped to assist you in matters such as the transfer of your estate to your beneficiaries, your power of attorney (POA), the distribution of your assets, how any outstanding debts should be handled, maximizing your tax advantages, and the creation of trust instruments. We are a multi-lingual firm and have worked with numerous clients over the years to help them construct the most robust and financially beneficial wills possible.
What Happens if I Pass Away Without a Will?
It can be very difficult to confront one’s own mortality. However, it is still important to create a strong and valid will in the interest of protecting both your legacy and your family’s financial future in the decades to come. If you pass away without a will, known as being “intestate,” what can happen to your assets, property, and your intentions?
Under New Jersey intestate laws, your property and possessions will pass through directly to your relatives. However, the relatives who receive these assets can vary depending on the shape of your family tree. For example, if you have children but no spouse, your children will inherit everything. However, if you have a spouse but no children or living parents, all inheritance passes to your spouse. If you have a spouse and children, your spouse will inherit everything — provided he or she does not also have children with a different partner. If he or she does have children from a partner besides yourself, your children inherit what remains after your spouse inherits the first 25% of your property. Furthermore, under New Jersey’s intestacy laws, any people who are to receive an inheritance must survive the decedent by at least 120 hours.
Finally, if you do not have a will at the time of your passing, instead of being able to name an executor to handle your assets, an administrator will be appointed by a probate court. Probate matters become part of a public record, which can also be of concern to those who wish to maintain privacy. Furthermore, probate can often be a slow, costly, and cumbersome process which can take months or even years to be completed.
As you can see, there are many reasons to avoid intestacy. Without a final testament, you lose the ability to direct the flow of your inheritance and what should be done with your estate after your passing.
If I Have a Trust, Do I Need a Will?
A trust is similar to a will in that a trust also has the ability to pass property from one individual to another. However, there are several good reasons why you still need a Last Will and Testament, even if you already have a trust.
Your will serves as a crucial “back-up” to your trust, which does not include everything in your possession. Most trusts deal only with a few specified assets, rather than the total of all of your collective holdings. There is always a possibility you could forget or otherwise fail to note an acquired property in your trust, particularly in the event of a sudden medical emergency. Furthermore, unlike wills, trusts do not have the ability to forgive any debts which may be owed to you, nor do wills have the ability to name a guardian for minor relatives such as children.
If you or a loved one is concerned about preparing a will, including living wills, the knowledgeable attorneys of The Jayson Law Group LLC may be able to offer assistance. To set up a confidential legal consultation, call our law offices right away at (908) 258-0621, or contact us online.