Wills & Probate

202, 2024

40% of People Say They Don’t Have Enough to Make a Will

Four in 10 people believe they do not have enough assets to make a will, according to Caring.com’s 2024 Wills and Estate Planning Study, which surveyed more than 2,400 individuals. This statistic reflects a common misconception [...]

501, 2024

Who Gets Copies of the Will After a Person Dies?

Many movies and television shows feature a scene where family members gather after a relative has died to listen to the reading of the will. While this makes for a dramatic scene, it is one [...]

2108, 2023

Your Will Can Protect Your Children With Disabilities

August signifies National Make-a-Will Month. For the one in five families who care for children with special needs, estate planning is crucial. Parents of a child with a disability face numerous challenges and concerns. One 2022 study found [...]

302, 2023

What Not to Include in Your Will

If you are considering preparing a will, this is a great first step in planning for the future. After reflecting on the basics, such as whom you want to be in charge of administering your [...]

1110, 2021

Do You Need a Lawyer to Write a Will?

While you aren't technically required to hire a lawyer to draft a will, failing to do so can lead to costly problems for your family and other heirs. A will is a legal document that [...]

208, 2018

Management of an Insolvent Estate in New Jersey

Traditional estate planning is primarily designed to ensure that your belongings and assets pass in an orderly manner after your death, and that they reach the people you intend. That’s an important and admirable goal, [...]

1905, 2018

Options for Updating Your Will in New Jersey

For most people, writing a will isn’t a one-and-done event. Unless your will is drafted very near the end of your life, chances are good that changes over your lifetime will make it necessary to [...]

1405, 2018

Digital Estate Planning for the 21st Century

The need for digital estate planning is fairly new, but it’s a significant and growing issue. From ownership of digital assets to control of email and social media accounts, the modern estate administrator has a [...]

1004, 2018

5 Reasons to Avoid Probate (even in New Jersey)

When you hear about an alternative estate planning option such as a living trust, one of the key selling points mentioned is often that you can “avoid probate.” However, if you don’t know much about [...]

1403, 2018

Your Will

Your will is a legally-binding statement directing who will receive your property at your death. It also appoints a legal representative to carry out your wishes. However, the will covers only probate property. (Probate is [...]

1102, 2018

Choosing a Personal Representative for Your Estate

When you prepare a will in New Jersey, you’ll choose a personal representative to handle administration of your estate. You will typically also choose a successor, in case the personal representative you chose is unable [...]

1101, 2018

Is a Handwritten Will Valid in New Jersey?

A handwritten will, also known as a “holographic will,” may be valid if certain requirements are met. In fact, it may seem that a handwritten will has advantages. For example, a holographic will can be [...]

701, 2018

Estate Planning for Mixed Families

Estate planning for mixed families is a bit more complicated, and requires specific consideration of the treatment of stepchildren and the path assets will follow after the death of one spouse. When one or both [...]

201, 2018

How Do I Change a Will in New Jersey?

Creating a will is an important step in estate planning, but circumstances change. It is important to review your will and other estate planning documents periodically, and to assess whether or not they are still [...]

912, 2017

What is a Pour Over Will?

When you start thinking about protecting your loved ones with an estate plan, the terminology you encounter may be confusing. Maybe you’re thinking about creating a will, but then you see mention of self-proving wills [...]

2711, 2017

What is a Self-Proving Will?

The phrase “self-proving” will suggests that no further evidence of the document’s validity is necessary. While that’s true in a sense, a self-proving will is subject to the same witness requirements as any other written [...]

1911, 2017

Identity Theft Can Reach Beyond the Grave

When you lose a loved one, identity theft is probably the furthest thing from your mind. Clearly, it’s not an issue that you want to or should have to concern yourself with when a family [...]

211, 2017

What To Do When a Loved One Passes Away

Whether your spouse has just passed away or you have lost your mom or dad, the emotional trauma of losing a loved one often comes with a bewildering array of financial and legal issues demanding [...]

211, 2017

Use Your Will to Dictate How to Pay Your Debts

The main purpose of a will is to direct where your assets will go after you die, but it can also be used to instruct your heirs how to pay your debts. While generally heirs [...]

2310, 2017

At What Point Do I Need a Will?

If you’re over the age of 18 and are thinking about the right time to create a will, chances are good that the answer is “now,” or even “you should have taken care of that [...]

2010, 2017

What to Expect from the New Jersey Probate Process

Most people know that when a person passes property through a will or dies without having made provisions for distribution of the property he leaves behind, the estate must pass through probate. However, many don’t [...]

2909, 2017

DIY Will Pitfalls

You’ve undoubtedly heard that it’s important for all adults to have a will or other legal plan for passing assets and getting debts settled when they pass away. You may also have heard that, despite [...]

1409, 2017

Single and Childless? You Still Need a Will

Most American adults don’t have wills. Reasons vary, including procrastination, believing they’re too young to need a will, not thinking they have enough property to bother with estate planning and discomfort thinking about end of [...]

2508, 2017

Who Inherits When There’s No Will?

Many people assume that their spouses or children will automatically be provided for upon their deaths. With that expectation, it’s easy to view a will or living trust as a tool that may make the [...]

1907, 2017

Managing Estate Debts for the Good of Your Heirs

Very few of us manage to plan our finances neatly enough that we die with zero debt. Even if you live largely debt-free, timing alone will typically result in a least a few outstanding medical [...]

1807, 2017

Do You Really Need a Will?

You May Not Think You Need a Will, but You Really Do. Most Americans do not have a simple will as part of their estate plan. You might believe that a will is only for [...]

1705, 2017

Will v. Living Trust: What’s the Difference?

People often ask whether a will or a living trust is “better.” The answer is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The right structure for your estate plan depends on the size of your estate, [...]

202, 2017

Preventing a Will Contest

Emotions can run high at the death of a family member. If a family member is unhappy with the amount they received (or didn't receive) under a will, he or she may contest the will. [...]

812, 2016

Why a Trust Is the Best Option for Avoiding Probate

As Ambrose Bierce once darkly observed, “Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate.” Obviously, ideally, when someone passes away, the paperwork and material concerns associated with the estate are so [...]

112, 2016

The Pros and Cons of Probate

In estate planning circles, the word “probate” often comes with a starkly negative connotation. Indeed, for many people — especially those with larger estates — financial planners recommend trying to keep property out of probate [...]

2211, 2016

3 Reasons You Want to Avoid Probate

When you pass away, your family may need to visit a probate court in order to claim their inheritance. This can happen if you own property (like a house, car, bank account, investment account, or [...]

2910, 2016

Understanding the Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust

Life insurance can give great peace of mind to the insured by providing for their loved ones after their death. Life insurance benefits can help pay for your children’s college education or provide for your [...]

2910, 2016

Will My Will be Valid if I Move to Another State?

One common method of estate planning is a will. A will distributes your estate and contains certain instructions for your beneficiaries. Individuals often question whether their will will be valid if they move to another [...]

2010, 2016

3 Celebrity Probate Disasters and Tragic Lessons

With extreme wealth accumulated, one would assume that celebrities would take steps to protect their estates. But think again: Some of the world’s richest and most famous people enter the pearly gates with no estate [...]

509, 2016

Estate Planning for Cross-Border Families

Estate planning is always a highly involved process but for cross-border families, estate planning can be rife with difficulties. Those who own assets in foreign countries or are married to a non-citizen spouse have additional [...]

2208, 2016

Transferring a Mortgaged Property into a Living Trust

Estimates from online real estate search firm Zillow indicate that nearly one-third of homeowners own their home free and clear. For the unlucky two-thirds who have either one or multiple mortgages on their home and [...]

1908, 2016

Stepped-Up Basis in Inherited Assets

When considering leaving property to beneficiaries, tax considerations factor heavily in estate planning. Since one is hard pressed to find any aspect of our life (and death) that is not subject to some form of [...]

1908, 2016

Why Most Estate Plans Do Not Work

Estate planning can be a tedious and complicated process, which if not conducted properly can result in assets being wasted due to being placed in expensive probate proceedings or unduly subjected to creditor claims and [...]

1408, 2016

Do You Need to Avoid Probate?

Probate is the legal process of presenting your Will to the Court after your death to authenticate it, and appoint your Executor. Your Executor must be appointed by the Court in order to collect and [...]

1108, 2016

Who Needs Estate Planning?

Estate planning isn’t about how much money you have, it's about protecting what you have for you, during your lifetime and for those you love after you’re gone. It ensures what you have gets to [...]

2907, 2016

Estate Planning for LGBT Couples

In 2015 when the Court decided the landmark case, Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry and these marriages must be [...]

2607, 2016

IRAs and Estate Planning

In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Clark v. Rameker altered the landscape of estate planning strategies concerning protecting inherited IRAs from creditor claims. In Clark, the court considered whether a person who had [...]

104, 2016

The Perils of Promises…Marlon Brando’s Story

Legendary Oscar-winning actor Marlon Brando left the bulk of his estate (worth approximately $26 million) to his producer and other associates. Brando created a valid last will and testament. However, he did not include his [...]

2902, 2016

Wills, Trusts & Dying Intestate: How They Differ

Most people understand that having some sort of an estate plan is, as Martha Stewart would say, a “good thing.” However, many of us don’t take the steps to get that estate plan in place [...]

2902, 2016

Wills vs. Trusts: A Quick & Simple Reference Guide

Confused about the differences between wills and trusts? If so, you’re not alone. While it’s always wise to contact experts like us, it’s also important to understand the basics. Here’s a quick and simple reference [...]

502, 2016

Flo Jo’s Tragic Mistake: A Missing Will

If you’ve created a will, congratulations! You have made your intentions clear to the world and have provided for your loved ones based on what you determined was best. One caveat, and Rule #1 when [...]

1512, 2015

HELP! This Probate Is Taking Forever!!!

After a loved one dies, her estate must be settled. While most people want the settlement process to be done ASAP, probate can take between 18 and 24 months. Yes, you heard that right. The [...]

1512, 2015

3 Simple Ways to Avoid Probate Costs

The bad news: probated estates are subject to a variety of costs from attorneys, executors, appraisers, accountants, courts, and state law. Depending on the probate's complexity, fees can run into tens of thousands of dollars. [...]

112, 2014

4 Tips for Avoiding a Will or Trust Contest

A will or trust contest can derail your final wishes, rapidly deplete your estate, and tear your loved ones apart. But with proper planning, you can help your family avoid a potentially disastrous will or [...]

108, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Will: 3 Critical Mistakes

Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died from a drug overdose in February 2014. Sadly, he left behind three young children - and a fortune estimated to be worth $35 million. He was only 46. After [...]

107, 2014

Why Does Probate Take So Long?

Probate can be easily avoided, but most estates are dragged through the process. Why? Many people fail to create an estate plan, so probate is required. And - others plan with just a Will, so [...]

107, 2014

Will Your Revocable Living Trust Avoid Probate? It Depends.

If you’ve set up a Revocable Living Trust, congratulations! You’re definitely on the right track. But…you’re only half way there. Many believe because they took the time to create a Trust, their estate will automatically [...]