The Law Office of David M. Watkins              285 Closter Dock Road, Closter, N.J. 07624
Phone (201) 768-0301
Fax (201) 768-3125

Wills & Trusts

Wills can be fairly simple legal instruments that allow individuals to decide who will receive which of their assets. A Will gives you control over what happens to your estate after you pass on, and keeps your estate from being divided according to the State's intestacy statutes.

Why You Should Have a Will

A Will tells your beneficiaries and the court system how you wish for your assets to be distributed. Without writing a Will, your estate will be distributed according to intestacy laws. In order to strictly comply with the intestacy statutes, the Judge may order your assets disbursed to relatives according to law and who may not be be who you would have chosen to get your property.

A Will also gives you the chance to designate someone to be in charge of handling the distribution of your estate — an "executor."  This can be a trusted family member or an attorney.

Wills Have Limitations

In comparison to creating a living Trust, however, Wills have some disadvantages. Your assets will be distributed according to your Will, but that distribution must take place in probate court. Your asset distribution will then become a part of the public record. A Trust helps you ensure privacy for your family.

In addition, Wills make no provision for how the assets will be distributed. All assets are disbursed immediately at the probate court hearing. A Trust allows you to have your assets distributed over time, in increments.


Living Trusts

A living trust is not something you create for yourself. Rather, you create it for your family, knowing that when you pass away, it will allow you to disperse your assets in the way that's best for them and to make their lives easier by averting the burdensome probate process.

With a Trust, you leave instructions regarding not only which assets will go to whom, but also how those assets are to be distributed. If you only write a Will, then your assets will be distributed to your chosen beneficiaries in probate court — a fully public process. Revocable trusts allow the family privacy and control of the assets while paying debts and disbursing assets to the beneficiaries.

In addition, a living Trust gives you control over when your assets will be distributed. Rather than having your assets disbursed to beneficiaries immediately in probate court, you can choose to have your assets held in a Trust and disbursed in increments over time.

Finally, assets are usually distributed faster, smoother and easier when the decedent has left a living Trust. This is because you already have a plan in place, and the beneficiaries only need to follow the instructions. Without a Trust, it is necessary to determine how to distribute the assets.


Contact the Law Office of David M. Watkins

If you are interested in creating a Will or a living Trust, we can help. Schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to learn more and discuss your options.

The Law Office of David M. Watkins
285 Closter Dock Road
Closter, N.J. 07624
(201) 768-0301
FAX (201) 768-3125

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