Last Will & Testament

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The Last Will and Testament is a legal document that names the person that will be in charge of wrapping up the affairs of your estate, and paying your final expenses after you die. Your Will lists your beneficiaries and indicates who gets what, when and how, and who you want to get custody of any minor children you have.

If there is no Will, property is distributed according to the state law of intestacy and a Judge will decide who gets custody of your children. It is important that every element of your Will is properly written and well articulated and that it is kept up to date.

An old Will that no longer adequately reflects your wishes, will still be honored by the Court.

Everyone over the age of 18 should have a Will.

It frequently costs more money not to have a Will than to have a Will. If your estate requires review by the courts or if there is a disagreement among the heirs as to who is to be the administrator or any other disagreement over the estate, the costs of litigation will far exceed the cost of having a valid Will drawn. In the absence of a will, another added cost is that of a bond which is normally required when a court appoints the administrator.

If you die without a Will in New Jersey, the state will require that your property be distributed as if you had a Will that like this one...Click here...

Glossary of Last Will and Testament Terms:

Administrator/Administratrix: person or institution appointed by the Court to manage and distribute the estate of a person who dies without a Will.

Beneficiary: person named to receive property or benefits.

Bequest: gift of personal property by Will.

Codicil: an addition or supplement made to change, add or delete a provision of a Will.

Decedent: a deceased person.

Devise: a gift of real estate by Will.

Estate: everything a person owns, all real and personal property.

Executor/Executrix: a person or institution named in the will to carry out the provisions and directions of the Will. Also called a Personal Representative.

Heir: those persons who are entitled under the statutes of intestate succession to the property of a decedent.

Intestate: to die without a valid Will.

Issue: a person’s direct descendants.

Legal Guardian: a person who acts in a fiduciary capacity for a minor or mental incompetent

Personal Property: intangible property, such as: stocks, bonds or bank accounts, and tangible property, such as: furniture, automobiles and jewelry.

Probate: official proof of the genuineness of a Will.

Surrogate: a judicial officer who has the jurisdiction over the probate of wills and administration of estates.

Testator/Testatrix: the person who makes a Will.

Testate: to die leaving a valid Will.

Trust: property owned and managed by one person for the benefit of another.

Will: a legal declaration of the manner in which a person wishes his/her estate to be divided after death.