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The consequences of dying without a will

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2022 | Estate Planning

If you die without a will, there is a chance that assets such as your New Jersey home or business will be allocated in accordance with state intestacy laws. Of course, if you die without a will because you have a trust, your estate plan will be carried out by the trustee.

The importance of a will to your estate plan

A will is generally seen as the foundation of an estate plan. This is because it enables you to appoint someone to represent your estate after you die as well as dictate who gets your stuff after you pass. If you are a parent, you will want to create a will because it allows you to name a guardian for your children. Without such a document in place, the state will likely decide who gets whatever is held in your estate as well as who will serve as your child’s guardian.

What to know about trusts

If you have a living trust, there is generally no need to have a will. Having a trust also makes it possible to name a guardian for your children or dictate where your assets go. As it takes effect during your lifetime, there is generally no need to worry about managing your affairs if you become incapacitated as the alternate trustee will typically do so for you.

Therefore, you may not need to appoint medical or financial agents. When you pass, there is no need for probate as the trust can exist without you whereas a deceased person cannot own assets directly. Ultimately, having a trust usually means that you can die without a will while also minimizing the risk that your affairs won’t be settled in a timely and smooth manner.

In most states, you can start creating an estate plan the day that you become a legal adult. This may be ideal as even those without assets may benefit from having a medical agent or crafting a medical directive. Having a will may also make it easier to transfer assets in a timely manner after you pass.