Creating a will is one of the best things you can do for your family and loved ones. A will is an important part of your overall estate plan.
The purpose of a will is to provide your family with a written, legal document that clearly specifies how you would like your property to be distributed after you die.
You may assume that you must include all property you own in your will, but this is not true. There are some types of property and information that should absolutely be included in a will, but some that are best left out.
Basic information that must be included
There are various items that must be included in a will to make it legally valid. These include your name and identifying information and language declaring your intent to distribute the named property.
This language must be specific, so it is best to have professional assistance with drafting your will.
You do not need to include language about your funeral or burial preferences. Your will must go through the New Jersey probate process, which will last well past the time your funeral takes place.
It is best to put your funeral instructions into a letter of instruction. While this is not a legally binding document, it can provide some evidence of your wishes to your family.
If you own a business, you should keep anything related to the business out of your will. The reason for this is also because of the time and complexity of the probate process.
Your businesses activity could be interrupted or even come to a halt while the business-related items to go through probate.
If not in a will, where can I put them?
Generally, any property that you would not want to be subject to probate you should not include in your will. A better option is to place that property into a trust, or to set up beneficiaries.
Estate planning is a very personal thing. What to include in your will depends on your specific circumstances, so knowing your options is important.