Types of Wills Available

  • Nov 24, 2023

Estate planning is a complex yet vital aspect of personal finance, encompassing a variety of tools designed to facilitate the distribution of assets upon one’s death. One of the most crucial tools in this domain is a New Jersey Will.

In the state of New Jersey, a Will serves multiple essential functions that go beyond merely dividing one’s assets. In addition to specifying beneficiaries and the allocation of properties, a Will can also designate a guardian for minor children and specify funeral or burial arrangements, among other things. It serves as a cornerstone document in estate planning, offering a formalized guide for how a person’s legacy is to be handled posthumously.

Different Types of Wills in NJ

The process of making a Will presents a menu of choices tailored to individual circumstances, needs, and preferences. Understanding the nuances of different types of wills is pivotal for ensuring that your estate planning objectives are met with precision and legal integrity.

Standard Will

A standard Will is the quintessential form many are familiar with. It serves as the foundational blueprint for asset distribution, naming beneficiaries, and appointing an executor who will manage the estate after one’s death. To be legally binding in New Jersey, it needs to be signed in the presence of at least two witnesses who are not beneficiaries of the Will.

Testamentary Trust Will

A Testamentary Trust Will extends beyond the standard Will by incorporating elements of a trust. It is most commonly employed by parents with minor children or those with special needs. This type of Will activates a trust upon the testator’s death, offering enhanced control over asset management and distribution, such as staged disbursements to beneficiaries.

Holographic Will

Although not widely recommended by NJ estate planning lawyers, a Holographic Will is handwritten and solely created by the testator. To be recognized by New Jersey law, the entire document must be written, dated, and signed by the testator themselves. These wills often face stringent scrutiny during probate and are generally considered less secure.

Living Will

Distinct from other wills, a Living Will focuses on healthcare decisions rather than asset distribution. It delineates your preferences for medical treatment in situations where you are unable to communicate your wishes, such as life-sustaining procedures or palliative care.

Pour-Over Will

Designed to function in tandem with a Living Trust, a Pour-Over Will ensures that any assets not included in the Living Trust at the time of your death are transferred into the Trust. This seamless ‘pouring over’ allows for a unified management and distribution plan, typically simplifying the probate process.

Joint Will

A Joint Will consolidates the wishes of two individuals, often spouses, into a single legal document. While they are efficient in terms of consolidating assets and wishes, they pose challenges. Most notably, they can restrict the surviving partner from making alterations, which may lead to complications down the line.

Given the legal and personal implications tied to the crafting of a Will, selecting the type that best aligns with your specific needs and circumstances is crucial. Consulting with a skilled estate planning lawyer can help you navigate these options, ensuring your legacy is safeguarded according to your wishes.

How to Create a Will

Creating a Will in New Jersey involves a few key steps:

  1. Consult a Lawyer: It’s advisable to consult with an NJ estate planning lawyer to ensure your Will meets all legal requirements and truly reflects your wishes.
  2. Draft the Document: Your lawyer will help you draft the Will, taking into consideration all types of assets, liabilities, and family dynamics.
  3. Sign in Presence of Witnesses: New Jersey law requires that a Will be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign the document.
  4. Store Safely: Once executed, the Will should be stored in a safe location, known and accessible to the executor.

Having a Will is essential for ensuring that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone. Falcon Law Group offers assistance in crafting legally sound and personalized wills in New Jersey. Contact us today for a consultation and take the first step towards securing your legacy.

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