Most Wills contain the following provisions depending upon the marital and family status of the person making the Will (Testator):
“SIMPLE WILL:” Under a simple will format, a married Testator with children usually provides that the spouse will receive all of the estate, and if not survived by the spouse, then it would be given equally to their children. If there are no children, then provision is usually made for other beneficiaries, such as extended family members and/or charities.
“EXECUTOR:” A Testator should name an Executor or Co-Executors to manage and distribute the estate according to the terms of the Will. Ordinarily, a surviving spouse, mature child, other relative, friend or trusted advisor are good choices.
“GUARDIAN:” A guardian is a person lawfully invested with the power, and charged with the duty of taking care of the person who is incapable of doing so because of age or other incapacity. A Testator with minor children usually provides that in the event that the other parent predeceases him or her, it is his or her desire that some named person serve as the guardian of the minor child or children. Although this provision is not binding, it is highly persuasive in a proceeding for the appointment of a guardian and should be included in the Will of any Testator with minor children. A guardianship terminates when a child reaches age eighteen (18).
“TRUSTEE:” A trustee is a person appointed to manage the financial affairs of one who is legally incapable of doing so because of age or other capacity. The estate or property otherwise passing to the child should be administered by a trustee under the terms of a trust until the child reaches a certain age.
“TAX PLANNING:” Where the total assets (including life insurance) exceed a certain amount, steps are often taken to reduce or eliminate any Federal and New Jersey death taxes. By so doing, more of the couple’s estates would be available for distribution to their children or other beneficiaries.