Last Will and Testament

As the owner of any asset, property, or real estate in the State of NJ,  a living trust is critically essential if you wish to avoid probate, the formal court administration of a decedent’s estate. The implementation of a trust that owns your assets helps ensure that probate doesn’t occur. What this means is that your successor trustee can distribute your property (that’s held in trust), according to your desires without having to go to probate court to approve distribution.

What is a living trust and why do I need one?

A living trust holds title to all of your major assets. You name exactly who should get what upon passing away and who would execute your wishes, also known as an executor, overseeing this effort on your behalf.

In the case where you become incompetent, a successor trustee will manage your property for your benefit without the involvement of a court conservatorship or court supervision.

Do I need both a living trust AND a pour-over will?

Ercolano Law recommends that we draft both a living trust AND a back-up pour-over will. The purpose of a pour-over will is intended to port and/or grab any asset that you acquire after you create your living trust, but forgot to include in your trust. Similarly, if you died before the transfer could be completed, the pour-over will would catch these outliers. Imagine you won the lottery but died before you had the chance to title these earning into your trust, the pour-over will would capture the winnings and transfer them back into your trust via a probate proceeding. Think of it as a backup.


Guardianship for Minor Children & Pets

Pour-over wills are the preferred document to nominate guardians for minor children and pets. It is in this legal instrument that parents with young children indicate the child’s custodian, should anything happen to both of the parents.