You Can Control the Distribution of Your Estate with a Wills
Choosing the right person to handle your estate might is one of the most important decision you will make in your lifetime. Upon death, the estate of those without a will might be placed in the hands of the wrong person or the State of New Jersey. Upon your death, the only way to control the distribution of our estate is the have a will. If you do not establish who handles the estate or the beneficiaries, the wrong person can be named its administrator if you were to pass away and the right people may not receive what you wish to leave them.
The Will Process
The process of creating a will begins with a consultation. During this phase, Anna-Maria Pittella meets with you and discusses our intentions. This includes exploring if the client has ever been married, or if they have children or stepchildren, even those they do not see anymore. We talk about the details of your estate and your thoughts on distribution.
During the consultation, we talk about the people you believe would be most appropriate to handle our estate. The functions of that person – who is known as an “executor” or “executrix” – are limited. The executor’s main responsibility is paying debts and distributing the assets of the estate.
A client must name a trustee for their children under 18 and sometimes older than 18. The trustee will have a longer term of responsibility depending on the term. You also need to consider who would be the right person to be the child’s guardian, the physical caretaker, upon your passing.
By New Jersey statute you can specifically name in your will who will handle your funeral arrangements. If you think that your wishes may not be honored, if you are estranged from relatives or don’t know where your relatives are or don’t have any relatives, this might be a helpful tool. You cannot however name a funeral director. The responsibility does not automatically fall to the executor unless you so delegate. The specific designation has to be done in a will or by a codicil. When planning your will it is a good idea to give this due consideration.
Ms. Pittella says, “My role in helping my client make these important decisions is to guide them towards finding the best possible executor, executrix, trustee or guardian for their family. If the estate consists of a substantial amount of money, my role is to make sure that my client has insight into the tax consequences. In that case, my focus is to find them the right outside source for the advice they need. Depending on the estate, this may involve a tax attorney or an accountant.”
Before it’s too late, contact Anna-Maria Pittella to prepare your family’s estate planning tools.