Wills Attorneys Morris County, NJ
Serving Clients and Families across Morristown, Chatham, Chester, Mendham, Harding, Morris Township, Mount Olive, and throughout Northern New Jersey
A will and last testament is one of the most important legal documents that you will create in your lifetime. Your will will determine exactly how your estate is valued, divided, and taxed, and help ensure that your vision for your family’s future is protected and executed for years to come.
With that being said, a will and last testament is something that many individuals put off doing, as it never the most pleasant of thoughts to contemplate our own mortality. As much as it can be a difficult process to begin and follow through on, the truth is that it is often a huge weight off our shoulders to simply just do it, given the fact that without a will and last testament in place, it often falls to the government and the legal system (people who have no idea of your wishes, desires, goals, etc) to make these critical decisions for you and your family.
Considering the importance of having a last will and testament in place, the need of updating it as you and your family’s circumstances change, and the thoroughness that is required in order to guarantee that your will and last testament actually reflect what you want it to, it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced Morris County will and last testament attorney in order to facilitate the process, and ensure that your will is legal, comprehensive, and ultimately personalized to what you want it to be.
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience working with families to create and maintain wills and last testaments in towns across New Jersey and Morris County, including Morristown, Chester, Chatham, Mendham, Morris Township, Mt. Olive, Harding, and surrounding communities. Our dedication to practicing exclusively family law, and our experience handling complex financial matters during all manner of family law proceedings allows us to provide each of our clients and their families with the kind of knowledgeable, effective, and highly personalized legal service that they need and deserve.
Call our office to speak with our team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your unique needs, concerns, and situation when it comes to creating, updating, or becoming the executor of a will and last testament.
What Things Should I Include in My Will and Last Testament?
Wills are generally designed to allow the creator to decide exactly how they wish to divide their estate and assets. However, any asset which is not specifically mentioned within the will will be distributed according to the state’s “intestacy” laws, and if there is no will in place, the entire estate will be divided according to intestacy.
This means that it is important to not only thoroughly assess the entirety of your estate, but to also ensure that each part of it is specifically accounted for within your will. As long as you clearly define each of your assets, you can decide exactly what you would like to do them, for example:
- Place certain assets in a trust to be distributed at a later date or to protect beneficiaries from losing government benefits and divorce agreements like alimony and marital asset division
- Distribute assets to friends, family members, or complete strangers if that is your wish
- Include specific provisions or conditions that need to be met in order for specific assets to be distributed to a specific person or entity
- Include provisions for the remarriage of a spouse, and how the estate should be handled should a surviving spouse in-fact, remarry
Finally, your will should also name a person as the “executor” or your will and last testament. This executor will be responsible for ensuring that your will and last testament is carried out according to the provisions you have included within it, paying outstanding debts and taxes from the estate, managing the estate while it is in the process of being divided, and representing the estate in court and to other concerned organizations such as banks, credit card companies, and other governmental bodies.
What Happens If There is No Will in Place?
As previously mentioned, if a person passes without a will in place, or without parts of their estate being declared within a will, the estate or its parts which are not mentioned within the will will become “intestate”.
While surviving family members can apply with the court system to become the executor of the deceased’s estate, this can often be a lengthy and expensive legal process, requiring the procurement of a great deal of paperwork, paying a variety of court fees, and the securing written consent of any other potential executors who would legally carry that right, but are not applying to do so.
According to New Jersey intestacy laws, executorship of an estate will pass to surviving next-of-kin in the following order (given the next-of-kin actually apply to be the executor of the estate):
- A surviving spouse or civil union partner
- Brothers and Sisters
- Nieces and Nephews
If any of these parties do not apply for executorship, a creditor or any other interested may apply.
So not only can the lack of a will cause a great deal of difficulty for surviving family members, it will also incur significant added expense in the form of court fees and taxation.
For this reason, and many more, it is highly recommended that you at the very least speak with a wills and last testament attorney in order to explore your options, gain a better understanding of the law, and potentially begin the process of creating a will and last testament.
Contact Our Morristown Wills and Estate Planning Attorneys Today
At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients and their families to draft, maintain, and execute comprehensive, accurate, and legally binding wills and last testaments.
By combining our attentive and compassionate approach to family law with our experience in handling complex financial matters such as business valuation and division, retirement asset valuation and division, property valuation and division, and more, we are uniquely suited to helping you and your family create the kind of will and last testament that is true to your vision, and protects the continued financial stability and success of your family.
To speak with one of our attorneys today in a free and confidential consultation regarding any questions, concerns, needs, or issues you have when it comes to a will and last testament, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 840-8970.