If you are relatively young and have relatively few assets, then a Will may be enough to direct how you want your estate distributed. With specific provisions in a Will you can make sure your child (or children) does not get a large sum on his 18th birthday.
A Will that has been submitted to Court once a person has passed away is a public record. If you highly value your privacy, you may prefer a trust. [hyperlink “trust” to the Trust section]
Guardians for minor children are also named in a Will. And we go a step beyond that to make sure your minor children have a plan of care if their parents are incapacitated or temporarily unavailable.
There has been a significant change in the law concerning estate taxes in NJ: as of the beginning of 2018, there is no estate tax in NJ. In 2017, NJ taxed estates over $2 million. Not so long ago, NJ taxed estates over $675,000.
If your estate planning with a spouse is more than three or four years old, your plan may contain provisions creating trusts that were intended to save estate taxes when the threshold was $675,000. Depending on the trust provisions, they might be more cumbersome than necessary for the surviving spouse and might even be detrimental (costly). It might be time to review your plan with your attorney to check that the wording works with the new state of the law. One further point is that a Will is public information.