Do I need to create a will?

One question that I get asked quite often is whether it is important to create a will during the estate planning process. A will can help you protect your property and assets in the future after you pass. You can secure your assets and make sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands. A will can allowย you to inform your family of your wishes.

If you have children, it is crucial that you have a will. There are a couple of things a will does for you, a last will and testament. Number one, it allows you to, when you are no longer available, indicate where you want your property to go. Number two, you may wish to put money, in trust within a will, for the benefit of a child. You can do that. You have that opportunity to take that protective act and ensure your children have a financial cushion to lean on down the road.

Furthermore, a will allows you to pick an executor or an executrix. That does a couple things. Having that choice forces you to think about which individual, or individuals, you trust enough so that when you’re not around, these individuals can then look after the affairs of your family, your surviving spouse, your children, and your property, and how and in what way the property should be disposed of.

If you don’t have a will created at the time in which you pass away, New Jersey, like many other states, has what’s called an intestacy statute. An intestacy statute is a very cold, lifeless piece of state law that simply says where your property, and who your property, will go to, whether you like it or not. They don’t care about the relationships you have with certain people and will give them your property regardless of whether you would make that decision on your own. Having said that, and having set forth the distinction, you want to make very, very sure that you prepare a last will and testament.