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Trust and Estates Newsletters

Failing to Make and Leave a Will

Although estimates vary, it’s pretty safe to say that more than 50 percent of the people who could make and leave a will fail to do so.

Inheritance in Unusual Circumstances

State statutes of descent and distribution are usually supplemented by other statutes or court rulings governing inheritance in unusual circumstances. This article discusses some of those unusual circumstances.

Letters of Instruction

Your will should not mention each one of your possessions because their value and nature change as time goes on. Revising your will upon every change would be both inconvenient and costly. Instead, your will should use general language in addressing the disposal of your possessions. However, it is important that you keep an updated record of all your possessions in order to assist your survivors.

Precatory Language, Ademption, and Abatement

One of the main purposes for making and leaving a will is to guide the administration of the estate of the testator–the person who made the will. A will should be written in language that is clear and indisputable. Alas, the language in a will may be unclear or vague. This article discusses the will interpretation and construction issues of precatory language, ademption, and abatement.

The Body of a Will

Most of the formalities of a will come at the beginning of the will and at the end of the will. The initial clauses usually announce the intention of the testator to make a will. The closing clauses usually indicate that the will has been signed and witnessed as required. In between the initial clauses and the closing clauses is the body of a will. The body of the will is where the testator directs the disposition of his or her estate.

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