The probate system is used to ensure that assets are distributed fairly in the event of someone’s death. However, the legal definition of fair asset distribution may not be the same as what the person wanted done with their assets while they were alive, and even if it is, dealing with probate is stressful, and the last thing that people want to do when they are grieving the loss of a loved one. Click here if you are in New Jersey and want to learn about estate planning.
Making sure you can avoid probate in NJ
If you want to avoid the probate system, then you will need to make sure that you declare your wishes clearly, and that in cases of joint ownership, titles are assigned correctly. If titles are held in the right way then when one of the owners of the property dies, the other owner is given right to the property. Consulting a good estate attorney in NJ for avoiding probate is highly recommended. A New Jersey estate lawyer can also help you a lot.
One example of this is joint tenancy with the right of survivorship. In this instance, when one of the tenants passes, the tenancy passes automatically to the surviving person, with no requirement for probate.
Another example is tenancy by the entirety. This is the way that married couples tend to hold title in certain states. Rather than just being a joint tenancy, it is ‘in the entirety’. This can be used for married couples in many states, and same sex couples in certain other states, and avoids the probate process.
Stating Your Wishes
For items where you are the owner right now, but you want to ensure that the property is transferred to someone else only after you die, the best thing to do is record a formal will. You may hope that your collection of guitars will go to your best friend who taught you how to play, but if you do not write down that express desire then your spouse or your children may choose to dispose of the guitars in another way, because the law makes no provision for friends.
Writing out a will is something that most people don’t relish the thought of doing, but it is very important because it ensures that your wishes are dealt with correctly. A will is a legally binding document, and it should be used to describe your wishes. Don’t forget that there is such a thing as a living will, and if you have clear preferences about how you want your care to be carried out in the event that you end up in a coma or you suffer from serious mental impairment, then you should make sure that those are documented, and that the people who are most likely to need to know are informed of the existence of your living will.
Seek advice today about how to write a will, and talk to those closest to you to make sure that they know about your wishes, and you know about theirs. If you address the issue today, you will have peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out, should the worst ever happen in the future.