From Our “Ask a Question” mailbag: “What Does a Gloucester County Will Do?”
Most recently updated on June 5th, 2018.
“I am a resident of Gloucester County, New Jersey. I have been thinking about writing a Will, but I am not sure what goes into a Will. In fact, I am not sure what a Will does for me. What Does a Gloucester County Will Do?”
What Does a Gloucester County Will Do For Me?
In short, your will directs who gets your probate property when you die. Otherwise, the state’s rules determine who receives your things. Further, the will appoints guardians for your minor children, appoints your executor and determines death tax payments.
The will is not limited to your property within Gloucester County. Your will can determine who receives your property no matter where it is located throughout the world.
What Your Will Cannot Do.
Your will does have limitations. Here is a list of things that on its own your will cannot do.
- Disinherit your Spouse: While you are in general free to leave your assets to whomever you wish at your death, without your spouse’s permission New Jersey law prevents you from disinheriting your spouse. You could have a prenuptial agreement where your spouse has surrendered his or her right of election. But without this agreement, your spouse is free to elect this right even if your will states that your spouse should get nothing.
- Change Beneficiary Designations: Your will does not affect assets for which you have executed beneficiary designations. These are Non-Probate assets. For example, if your Gloucester County will states that all your assets pass to your son. But your life insurance beneficiary designation says that the life insurance passes to your daughter. The will does not affect the life insurance. This contract formed with the life insurance company trumps the will.
- Change Joint ownership: Joint ownership of real estate or various accounts is another example of a will limitation. For example, if your will says that all of your Gloucester County real estate passes to your son at your death, but that real property is owned jointly with a right of survivorship with your brother, then at your death your brother can claim the property and your son will get nothing. The ownership you created with your brother trumps the will.
A Will Must Be Part of a Plan.
As you can see, simply having a will, without having an estate plan that takes into consideration all of your assets and their ownership, can mean your true intentions are not respected. It can also end up creating conflict and litigation between your heirs. Take the time to work with an estate-planning attorney who is familiar with the rules. You worked hard for your assets, make sure they end up in the hands of the right people!
More Probate Questions?
If you have more probate questions, please read my more detailed article, Probate Process: All You Need to Know.
In Conclusion: What Does a Gloucester County Will Do.
In this article I tried to answer the question, What Does a Gloucester County Will Do. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website. So, let me know how I did, comments and questions are welcome! I hope it helped!
If you have more questions about wills and estate planning, let our Gloucester County Estate Planning Lawyers help walk you through the confusing process. Our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. Feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.
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