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When a Wills Attorney May Be Needed
While you might be able to handle a simple legal document yourself, there are times when hiring a New Jersey wills attorney is beneficial. First, go over some situations where an attorney is needed. Then, you can consult with a lawyer if you need assistance. Finally, your attorney can guide you while drafting your will and other essential documents.
Reasons to hire a New Jersey wills attorney
Anyone who wants to draft a will can hire an attorney to make the process easier. New Jersey residents should also consider hiring attorneys when dealing with complex estates, high-value assets, and other challenging issues. Here, we go over some of the main reasons people hire lawyers for wills. Keep in mind that these are only some of the reasons people contact lawyers.
The estate is complex
People with complex estates or desires often benefit from a lawyer's guidance. For instance, someone who wants a simple will that leaves property to the spouse and kids might choose to do it alone. However, a person who wants to use a trust combined with a pour-over will often go to attorneys first. Additionally, those who wish to gift property to charities and other organizations benefit from receiving legal guidance.
It is a high-value estate
New Jersey did away with the estate tax, so residents no longer have to worry about that. However, the state still has an inheritance tax. The amount charged depends on the estate's value and the beneficiary's classification. It can be quite steep, cutting into how much people receive when loved ones pass away.
People with large estates should consult with a wills attorney to go over options for avoiding or lowering the tax, which may include setting up a life insurance trust or gifting over the years. First, the attorney will evaluate the estate to determine the right path forward. Then, the client and attorney can work together to reduce the estate's tax liability.
The estate intends to disinherit someone
New Jersey does not allow people to disinherit spouses unless the surviving spouse agrees. Thus, if residents leave their spouse out of the estate plan, they can challenge the will and receive an elective share. Those who believe their spouses agreed on disinheritance should see an attorney. The lawyer can review the case to see if disinheriting the spouse is a legal option.
Disinheriting children is allowed, even when kids do not agree. However, the disinherited child might challenge the will after the testator passes away. Thus, it is wise to consult with an attorney to ensure the will is legally valid. Then, the document can stand up to legal contests.
A will contest is likely
Disinheriting a child is just one reason someone might contest a will. Unhappy family members could also contest on the grounds of undue influence or fraud. Additionally, someone can bring a claim stating that the testator was not of sound mind. If the court agrees, it will invalidate the will.
Sometimes, it is clear that someone will come up and contest a will after the testator passes away. Going to a lawyer can help estates avoid roadblocks when that is the case. That way, it will be harder for the person to contest the will successfully. On the other hand, a do-it-yourself will might contain mistakes that make it hard to stand up to legal challenges.
Get legal advice from a New Jersey wills attorney
These are just some of the many reasons to go to a wills attorney. You also have the benefit of a lawyer handling another aspect of your estate plan as well. With that in mind, consider consulting with a lawyer to draft a will and other legal documents. Then, you will have an estate plan in place.
Call us at (732) 449-0449 for more information from Anthony J. Cafaro, P.C. or to schedule a consultation in our office in Sea Girt. NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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