What Types of Wills Do I Need a Will Lawyer For?


Consultation with a will lawyer is important because wills not only provide post-mortem directions for asset distribution but also instruct how to manage the remaining estate. In particular, people with larger families or more money should prepare wills to protect spouses, children, and their money. Depending on one’s goals, creation of a specific type of will better instructs remaining loved ones on how the recently deceased person would like things handled after their death.

Last Will and Testament 

A Last Will and Testament is the most common will in New Jersey, with standard direction to loved ones after one’s passing and direction on how to divide assets among family and friends. A person’s Last Will and Testament is a legal document that loved ones can consult to understand how a recently deceased person wanted their estate divided. Consultation with a will lawyer is important when preparing a Last Will and Testament to ensure one’s wishes are clearly indicated and expressed.

This ensures the wishes are later followed by the court. For example, in a Last Will and Testament, the deceased person can select a person who would care for any minor children instead of the court appointing an estranged family member or a court-appointed guardian. 

Testamentary Trust Will 

A Testamentary Trust Will establishes one (or more) trusts that estate amounts can be transferred into after a person’s death. In other words, a Testamentary Trust Will is a will, which creates a trust upon the person’s death, which will receive all or part of the estate after the person has died, usually the life insurance policy. A person may select a Testamentary Trust for any number of reasons.

For example, if the person has a physically disabled child that they want to ensure medical treatment for, or are wary of another child’s fiscal responsibility. Consultation with a will attorney is important considering the possible negative consequences. Contrary to what one might assume, the person controlling the trust does not necessarily have to enforce the trust wishes and can use the funds in any way that they choose (though legal action can be taken to appoint a different trustee).

However, that type of practical reality differs from what most people would assume to be the requirements. Consultation with a will lawyer is important to understand the risks involved. 

Pour-Over Will

A pour-over will is a type of Testamentary Trust Will. The difference between the two is that a pour-over will does not create a new trust, but transfers the assets to a trust that was already in existence. In contrast, a Testamentary Trust will create a new trust following the person’s death.

A pour-over will usually transfer remaining assets to be transferred into an existing trust after one’s death. Worded simply, a pour-over will is a type of Testamentary Trust, but the reasons for consulting with a will attorney are the same. 

Joint Will 

A Joint Will is a shared will for both people in a relationship – usually romantically involved. Joint Wills are most applicable to older people with no desire to remarry and without children. Couples with a joint will have agreed to leave any remaining assets to the surviving spouse, with no changes allowed or accepted after either spouse’s death.

A Joint Will is particularly useful to protect the assets of vulnerable parties, ensuring that the surviving spouse is well taken care of after the other’s death.   Similar to other wills, consultation with a will attorney is important given the risks involved. 

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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