DO I REALLY NEED A WILL?
The answer is simple:
A Last Will and Testament:
- Lets you decide who inherits your assets. If you die intestate (without a will), certain members of your family may inherit your property and they may not be the ones you favor. What's worse is that strangers (the State of New Jersey) may end up with your property.
- Can provide for a stream of cash to your loved ones over their lifetimes. If family members are not able to manage funds well or if your loved ones are so young that they might otherwise squander their inheritance, you can set a trust into motion inside your will which can dispense the funds in small installments throughout their lifetimes.
- Can protect your loved ones from the reach of creditors. A trust can incorporate Spendthrift Protection which shields the assets from any person or firm to which the beneficiaries owe money.
- Can save thousands of dollars on estate taxes. The federal government and the State of New Jersey both have the right to tax the estate of a decedent. With a proper estate plan in place, the federal and state "death tax" can be minimized and, in many cases, entirely eliminated.
- Allows you to choose with whom your minor children will live following your death. If you die intestate, the Surrogates Court selects guardians for your minor children, and they may not be the ones you would have selected.
- Can avoid the need for a costly bond. A fiduciary bond is required in all estates unless you waive that obligation. The easiest way to accomplish that is by including such a waiver in your Last Will and Testament.
The Hackettstown Regional Medical Center Foundation's Planned Giving Committee wants to help those who may need assistance with their estate plans. If you do not currently have a trusted advisor to assist you with your estate planning needs, contact Steve Maternick in the HRMC Foundation office at (908) 850-6876. We will be happy to provide you with some guidance.
This article is contributed by Robert Lawrence Gaynor, Attorneys at Law, 15 Commerce Boulevard, Suite 303, Succasunna, New Jersey 07876 -- Telephone (973) 927-3900.