Will Lawyer Elizabeth, NJ
Developing a will can be a lengthy process to complete, as a top will lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ knows. Having a reputable and skilled will lawyer assist you with the process can help you craft your will quickly. If you are thinking of creating a will, you can trust an experienced lawyer from The Law Office of Wade Suthard to assist you with the process as well as any other general New Jersey estate planning topics.
Estate planning can be hard to do without the help of a seasoned lawyer to guide you. With legal help provided by the skilled team at Suthard Law, you can develop a clear outline of your estate planning agenda. Wade Suthard has years of experience helping clients become more informed about the basics of estate planning so they can create their plans efficiently and clearly. Arrange a consultation now to obtain personalized legal advice for any of your estate planning needs.
The Purpose of a Will
Creating a will can serve several purposes, depending on your assets and goals. Anyone of all income backgrounds can benefit from creating a will as part of their estate plan. When you make a will, you get to decide who your assets will go to and how you want them to be managed and distributed after your death.
What to Include in a Will
If you are not sure what to include in your will, you are not alone. For many people, creating a will can be an intimidating process. Many important decisions must you must think there you must think are many important decisions that must be made, and when you put them in a will, it is legally binding. While you can update your will any time, it is best to know what you should include. An experienced will lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ can explain that key things to include in your will are your basic personal information, full list of assets, beneficiaries that your assets will go to, named executor, and how you want your assets to be managed and protected.
Why It’s Beneficial to Hire a Lawyer
Though it is not necessary to hire a lawyer to validate a will, there are many advantages to having one as you create your will. They will be able to answer any of your questions during the process. A lawyer can assist you with making a will and can answer any questions you may have. If your will is especially complex, it helps to have a lawyer review it and ensure that everything is in order and you are not omitting crucial information.
Digital Estate Planning Considerations
One of the reasons why it is a good idea to connect with a will lawyer Elizabeth, NJ residents trust is that you’ll need to develop a solid “digital estate plan” with the assistance of someone who understands how to craft this complex legal tool properly. Generally speaking, an estate plan consists of any and all legal tools an individual chooses to execute in order to plan for transfer of assets, end of life care, and other estate planning needs. A digital estate plan, by contrast, is much like a will, trust, or power of attorney. It is a single legal tool that—when used in concert with other estate planning tools—helps to ensure that an individual’s affairs are fully “in order” in the event of their incapacitation and/or death.
At The Law Office of Wade Suthard, our legal team and support staff takes the changing realities of the digital age into consideration as they pertain to every aspect of estate planning. While you may have unique digital planning needs (such as the protection and transferability of highly valuable intellectual property stored on a digital platform) that we can assist you with, you certainly have some of the more basic digital estate planning challenges ahead of you regardless of how wealthy you are or how complex your estate is.
Take a moment to think about all of the accounts you have online. Bank accounts, streaming services, social media accounts, documents stored on the Cloud, etc. Every single place that you plant your digital footprint that requires a password is a challenge that your loved ones will have to deal with upon your death. Who should have access to each of these accounts? Who should be barred from accessing these accounts? How would you like your digital investments transferred? How are you storing your passwords so that those with legal rights to access these accounts can get into them after you’re gone? The experienced New Jersey legal team at The Law Office of Wade Suthard can help you to craft a digital estate plan that addresses all of these concerns and any others that may pertain to your situation.
Estate Plans as “Living” Legal Tools
Connecting with an experienced Elizabeth, NJ will lawyer at The Law Office of Wade Suthard will also help you to better understand the “living” nature of your estate plan. Very few estate planning tools are irrevocable. This means that as your life circumstances evolve, you can update and revise most of your estate planning tools to reflect your changing situation and preferences. For example, if you divorce, you’ll want to update your will to ensure that your property passes to your adjusted preferred beneficiaries.
Making an appointment to discuss your estate plan with an Elizabeth, NJ will lawyer can be intimidating, as few people like to think about a time during which they will no longer physically walk the Earth. However, getting your affairs in order will not only preserve your peace of mind, doing so will help to ensure that no unnecessary burden is placed on your loved ones after your death.
How To Contest a Will
Sometimes a will can call for a distribution of assets that perplexes a deceased’s loved ones. If you disagree with the choices in your family member’s will, you can take these steps to contest the will’s validity.
Determine a Valid Reason
You must have a legal reason to challenge a will before you hire a will lawyer in Elizabth, NJ to begin an extensive will-invalidation process. Successfully contesting a will involves proving the following:
- Lack of testamentary capacity, which means that the deceased did not have the mental ability to create a valid will
- Non-adherence to state laws, such as the requirement for two witnesses to be present when the testator signs the will
- Someone’s undue influence on the testator to name beneficiaries
- Forgery of the deceased’s signature
The team at Wade Suthard, PC can help you gather evidence such as medical records, emails, and other documents to support your reasons.
File a Claim
The next step involves creating and submitting a formal complaint to the New Jersey surrgate court, which has jurisdiction over wills and estates. The deadline for filing your complaint is four months if you live in New Jersey and six months if you live in another state. You must also send copies of your complaint to the will’s executor and beneficiaries.
The court requires all parties involved in a will’s contest to attend a mediation session under the guidance of a a neutral court-appointed or private third party. Your will lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ should accompany you to this meeting. At this time, all sides have an opportunity to present their case to the mediator who facilitates a settlement.
If all parties arrive at a resolution, they sign a formal document that overrides the original will, before receiving their share of the estate.
A trial may be the only recourse for resolving a will contest when the parties can not come to an agreement or any party refuses to participate in mediation. During a trial, the will lawyer in Elizabth, NJ representing the party contesting the will presents evidence and testimony invalidating the will. However, the opposing sides must also prove a will’s validity.
Litigants may still come to a settlement agreement after a trial begins. However, if a trial proceeds to conclusion, all parties are subject to the court’s decision, which they may appeal. The decision to appeal may be the beginning of a long legal battle with no gurantee for success.
Although the death of a loved can cause a wide range of emotions, the team at Wade Suthard, PC can help clients put aside their feelings and negotiate a settlement that satisfies everyone.
Five Mistakes To Avoid During Estate Planning
Not Considering Your Children’s Futures
When you create your will and other estate planning documents, carefully consider how you’re leaving things to your children. For example, if you have a collection of Santa Claus figurines, you wouldn’t want to leave it to your daughter, the Grinch of the family. If your children are very young, you can specify how the money they’re inheriting should be spent by their guardians on behalf of your children. A will lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ, can help you word things appropriately for your children’s best benefit.
Getting Overly Specific
Normally, a will lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ, at Suthard Law would want you to be as specific as you can when creating your estate plans. However, there is one exception. If you’re including assets you may not have years down the road, such as stocks, real estate, or vehicles, you’ll need to update your estate planning documents more often if you no longer have those things in your possession.
Not Funding Your Trust the Right Way
A trust can be invaluable to your estate planning, as it can keep a great many of your assets out of probate. The problem you may run up against is if it’s improperly funded. You’ll need to make sure assets are titled in the name of the trust rather than in your name. You have to get a taxpayer identification number for the trust. A will lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ, can help you get everything done the right way.
Forgetting To Consider Tax Implications
If you have an estate valued at $12.06 million or more, you’ll have to pay estate taxes. In New Jersey, one of 17 states with inheritance taxes, your heirs will have to pay up to 16% of their bequests’ value. You can reduce both tax burdens by giving your heirs up to $16,000 per year in gifts. A will lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ can give you more specific guidance based on your estate.
Not Telling Anyone Where Your Estate Planning Documents Are
All the estate planning in the world doesn’t matter at all if your heirs can’t find your estate plan documents. Don’t put them in a safe deposit box at the bank; doing so can cause problems with access to the box. Keep them in a fireproof safe in your home, and tell your spouse, children, and closest friends where they are. Make sure they know how to open the safe, too.
When You Should Write a Will
As Soon as You Accumulate Assets
Although you can legally write a will when you turn 18, a will lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ will probably counsel you to write your first will when you start accumulating assets. For example, as you build your savings account, you may want your money to go to a specific person. When you begin purchasing real estate and other assets, it becomes more important to designate who receives what in the case of your untimely death.
If you do not have a will, your state will use precedent to divide your assets among your heirs, such as your blood relatives, children, spouse, or domestic partner. You will not have control over who gets what.
When You Are Expecting Children
The moment you, your spouse or significant other becomes pregnant or you have children, your will should be changed. Your will lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ should change your will as quickly as possible once children are in the picture. Although many states will typically designate some portion of your estate to your children, you can ensure that they get the full support and provision they need.
Any family law firm, e.g., Suthard Law, will tell you that provision is not the only concern when you have children. You need to immediately name a guardian in case something happens to you. In many cases, the would-be guardian does not have to grant permission, but you may want to let these individuals know you are considering them and answer any questions they may have. Getting their permission is preferable. You can update guardianship as your children and would-be guardians age.
When Your Relationship Status Changes
A reputable law firm, such as Suthard Law, will ensure that your will stays up to date through regular contact. However, if your status changes, you need to let the firm know immediately so your will can be adjusted. Therefore, if you get married, divorced, or change domestic partners, your will should be changed as well.
The courts have seen cases where an ex-husband or ex-wife has received life insurance distributions after the spouse has died. In some cases, this money should have gone to the surviving children instead. Also, your will lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ can tell you whether your state will invalidate a will if it was crafted before you were married. The minute your union is validated, the will becomes invalid. This means that your spouse would only receive a portion of your estate as if you didn’t have a will at all when you died.
Arrange a Risk-Free Consultation
Putting off an estate plan can be tempting, but there is a multitude of steps that need to be taken, and preparing one can take a long time. Deciding whether to use a will or trust can be hard if you are not sure what your goals are or how they work, but a will lawyer can help give you direction. Contact a will lawyer that Elizabeth, New Jersey residents trust now.
Who Should I Choose as My Executor?
If you are thinking about planning your estate and making a will, you will need to name someone as the executor. An executor plays an important role in the process of winding up your estate and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Hence, it is crucial that you think about who you should name.
If you are thinking about planning your estate, or you have been named as an executor and you need assistance with the process, you should contact a will lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ who can help you with the process.
Duties of an Executor
When you are writing a will, you will need to name an executor, and also likely a backup executor. An executor plays a crucial role in the administration of an estate. The executor of a will is responsible for collecting and protecting the assets of the estate, paying the bills of the estate, including creditors and taxes, inventorying the estate, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. If necessary, the executor will also need to offer the will for probate. These duties are important, but also may sound daunting, so you should name someone to the role who will be good at it.
What to Look for in an Executor
Executors are usually either family members, close friends, or business acquaintances. However, there is an option of choosing a professional as an executor, but the fees may be prohibitive for many estates. If you do decide to go with a layperson, here are some qualities an Elizabeth, NJ will lawyer suggests you may want to look for:
- Impartiality – Depending on how your will is written, and your family dynamics, you may want to try to avoid conflicts of interest. For example, if you have several children that do not get along and that is who your estate is going to be, it may make sense to name a different family member to minimize conflict. However, if your entire estate is going to your spouse, you can name them as an executor since there is no one else to accuse them of being unfair.
- Basic understanding of finances – While you do not need to be a professional to be the executor of a will, have a basic understanding of accounting and how to gather assets, pay creditors and taxes, and a basic understanding of the probate process.
- Someone who knows when to get help – This is one of the most important qualities of an executor since knowing when to hire an expert is a main part of the job. A qualified will lawyer can help walk them through the process.
How Can a Will Lawyer Benefit You?
A will lawyer can assist you with a better understanding of the type of options you have when creating a will or trust. A will lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ has the knowledge surrounding the laws involved with creating a will and estate planning that a lawyer will help give you the foresight so that you can avoid common mistakes when creating a will or a trust.
As you know a will is a legal document that will ensure that your assets are distributed to the individuals that you have selected. It will also help identify who will serve as Executor. The executor will manage the process of transferring your assets to your beneficiaries. A will confirms that your wishes will be properly carried upon your death.
You must receive proper validation and enforcement which can be achieved when working with a will lawyer in Elizabeth, New Jersey. A lawyer will be able to guide you through the process of creating and validating your will. They will also have experience with probate which is imperative.
A will lawyer will be able to assist you and your family with:
- Drafting the will
- Assisting your family to assure that your wishes and wants are carried out
- Aiding in any legal proceedings if they arise
A skilled will lawyer in Elizabeth, NJ could mean that you will gain access to their years of knowledge and experience. Once you meet with a lawyer they will be able to provide you with a plan that is catered to your situation, needs, and wishes. They will know the best way to achieve your goals and guide you through the process of achieving those goals. Not to mention, a will lawyer possesses the technical skills that are necessary to confirm the correct documents are prepared.
Another benefit to hiring a will lawyer is that they can act as a neutral third party if someone contests the validity of your will and trust litigation arises. The drafting lawyer will be deposed and a well-documented file will help assure your wishes are protected.
Additionally, your will lawyer will be available to you whenever you need to update your will. Life happens and circumstances change – like marriage, divorce, having a child – these types of life moments could be a good time for you to update your will. Most often, your lawyer will suggest and recommend that you take a glance at your will from time to time to avoid any future problems for your heirs after your death. A lawyer will assist you with using the right clauses and verbiage for your unique situation.
There’s a lot to consider when hiring a will lawyer, but know that having a will is a smart decision. While it can be difficult thinking about life without you, having a will lawyer to help you ensure that your assets and family are taken care of after your passing.
Schedule a consultation with a will lawyer at Suthard Law today.
Let Us Help You Today
Estate planning, including naming an executor for your will, is a complicated process that relies on knowledge of different estate planning tools and techniques to make sure that your estate is free from unnecessary fees and taxes and that it is administered properly. Call Wade Suthard Law to meet with an Elizabeth, NJ will lawyer.