Folks fail to realize the consequences of not having a will—for example, if you don’t have a will, you lose the right to choose who will serve as executor (the person in charge of the estate). In the absence of a will, the “administrator” appointed by the court needs to be bonded, which can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. With a will, you can have a clause that waives the bond requirement.
A place for information on this topic is your area’s probate clerk whose office is typically located in the county’s courthouse. Plus, many good introductory brochures can be found online on their website. This information might be enough to convince you how important it is to have a will.
Another possible concern you may have is that of keeping your personal and financial matters private. If so, creating a trust to dispose of our assets is the better plan. Remember that a will is a public document. While most wills don’t have specific asset information, the will itself is open to the public, and anyone can obtain a copy. A trust is always private unless there is a court action involving the trust. The trust agreement isn’t automatically a public record, even in that case.
If you create a trust with the help of a qualified trust planning law firm such as ours, we’ll assist you with the transfer of assets to a trust thereby allowing the trust controls what happens to those assets upon your incapacity and death.
These are some good options to discuss at a complimentary consultation. No matter what you decide, it’s better to have a plan in place. Otherwise, ignoring these issues may mean costly and stressful family disputes, which can be avoided with proper planning.
Reference: NJ 101.5 (November 1, 2016) “Talking to your parents about a will”