Kenneth Vercammen Law Office. (732)572-0500. Edison, NJ.
Monday, December 26, 2016
What a Will Does in NJ
What a Will Does in NJ
A will provides for the distribution of property owned by you at the time of your death in any manner you choose (subject to the forced heirship laws of some states that prevent disinheriting a spouse and, in some cases, children). Your will cannot, however, govern the disposition of properties that pass outside your probate estate (such as certain joint property, life insurance, retirement plans and employee death benefits) unless they are payable to your estate.
Wills can be of various degrees of complexity and can be utilized to achieve a wide range of family and tax objectives. If a will provides for the outright distribution of assets, it is sometimes characterized as a simple will. If the will establishes one or more trusts, it is often called a testamentary trust will. Alternatively, the will may leave probate assets to a preexisting inter vivos trust (created in your lifetime), in which case it is called a pour over will. In either case, the purpose of the trust arrangement (as opposed to outright distribution) is to ensure continued property management and creditor protection for the surviving family members, to provide for charities, and to minimize taxes.
Aside from providing for the intended disposition of your property to spouse, children etc., there are a number of other important objectives that may be accomplished in your will.
* You may designate a guardian for your minor child or children if you have survived the other parent-and, by judicious use of a trust and appointment of a trustee, eliminate the need for bonds and supervision by the court regarding the care of each minor childs estate * You may designate an executor of your estate in your will and eliminate the need for a bond; in some states the designation of an independent executor will eliminate the need for court supervision of the settlement of your estate. * You may choose to acknowledge or otherwise provide for a child (e.g., stepchild, godchild, etc.) in whom you have an interest, an elderly parent, or other individuals. * If you are acting as custodian for the assets of a child or grandchild under the Uniform Gift (or Transfers) to Minors Act, you may designate your successor custodian and avoid the expense of a court appointment.
Good planning can also enhance your support of religious, educational, and other charitable causes.
Non-probate assets which do not pass under Will
Please also remember that if you have assets such as bank accounts in joint names, or bank accounts payable upon death, these go directly to the beneficiary. If you have selected direct beneficiaries on any of your assets these pass outside your Will, including POD accounts or joint accounts. Your Will cannot change who the beneficiary is on a joint account, payable upon death accounts, or other assets such as Life Insurance policies. You would have to go directly to the bank or company where the assets are held and either direct that they change the beneficiary or not list any beneficiary at all other than your Estate. Other non-probate assets include a house owned with spouse [tenants by entirety], house in joint tenancy with non spouse,