Will for Individual with Spouse or Partner (NJ)
This is a New Jersey Will for an individual with a spouse or partner. More specifically, this New Jersey Will is for married or unmarried couples, with or without children. Creating a last will and testament is a very important part of family estate planning in New Jersey. Notably, married couples or unmarried partners can use this document to create mirror wills. To accomplish this, the will for each spouse or partner should be nearly identical.
This Will is relatively simple and well-suited for couples who plan to transfer everything to each other upon one’s death. Further, this Will is for individuals who want a simple, consistent plan for transfers upon their spouse’s or partner’s death. Additionally, this document contemplates the instance upon which simultaneous deaths occur. Importantly, this Will is for couples residing in New Jersey. If you live in New York, Helix Wills offers a New York Will for Individual with Spouse or Partner. If you live in another state, please contact us, as we have access to wills in other states.
This New Jersey Will does not create trusts. The executor has discretion regarding distributions to beneficiaries when there are minor or incapacitated beneficiaries. You should generally consider using a will with continuing trusts if:
- The beneficiaries are minors.
- Your children are young adults or older. However, you do not believe your children are old enough or financially mature enough to receive outright distributions.
No Minimum Inheritance Guaranteed
This New Jersey Will for couples directs substantially all assets to a surviving spouse or partner upon the other’s death. However, this Will does not guarantee any particular minimum inheritance to a surviving spouse or partner. There are no provisions under New Jersey law requiring that an unmarried partner receive a minimum amount from an estate. Nevertheless, a surviving spouse or registered domestic partner is entitled to receive a minimum inheritance from the estate. Please note this distinction between a spouse/registered domestic partner and an unmarried partner.
Assets may pass outside of probate to persons other than the surviving spouse or the estate. Therefore, it’s possible a surviving spouse or domestic partner will not receive enough under this Will to satisfy the required minimum obligations. If this is your desired outcome, spouses or domestic partners should enter into a contractual agreement waiving inheritance rights. This Will may be an appropriate part of a couples’ estate planning. However, standing alone, this Will does not specifically waive inheritance rights. If the amount the surviving spouse or domestic partner ultimately receives is less than what they are entitled to under New Jersey law, they can pursue the right to obtain additional assets.
To determine what amounts a surviving spouse or partner must receive, you should consider all relevant factors. Whether you’re in a common-law marriage is one factor that may determine the amount a surviving spouse or partner receives. Additionally, factors include whether any marital agreements affect the surviving spouse’s right to inherit. For example, such agreements may include Premarital and Postmarital Agreements. Finally, another factor to consider is a surviving spouse’s, or domestic partner’s, rights to an elective share. In addition, you should consider the surviving spouse’s right to other exempt property.
Spouses and domestic partners have the right to inherit a certain minimum amount from each other under New Jersey law. You can always give the surviving spouse or domestic partner more than this minimum amount. However, you cannot provide less than the minimum amount unless the spouse or domestic partner waives their inheritance rights.
Other documents commonly accompany a will. For example, common documents may include a durable power of attorney, a health care proxy, and a living will. You should consider including these additional estate planning documents when preparing this Will:
- Advance Health Care Directive (NJ).
- Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney (NJ).
- HIPAA Release (NJ).
For more information, or to begin planning and gathering information for your Will, please visit here to Get Started.