Dying Without a Trust in NJ

What Happens If You Die in New Jersey Without a Trust?

We all know we are supposed to do estate planning, but not all of us get around to it.  So, what happens to your estate if you don’t have a trust or Last Will in place before you die a resident of New Jersey?

The answer is. . .  Your estate will be distributed according to New Jersey “intestate laws”, which means your estate may or may not be distributed to important people and/or causes in your life the way you want it.


Caution: Dying Without a Trust in New Jersey is Bad for Your (Financial) Health

Dying without a trust or Last Will is called “dying intestate”. New Jersey has laws that determine what happens to your estate if you don’t have a trust or a will. If you are married, New Jersey law will award a portion of your estate to your spouse, with the rest divided among your children.  If you don’t have children, then your estate will be divided among other living relatives such as your parents, siblings, next of kin, etc. If you are single, New Jersey provides that your estate will go to your children or to other living relatives if you don’t have children. If you have absolutely no living relatives, then your estate will be forfeited to the state of New Jersey. This is called escheating to the State of New Jersey.

Note that jointly held assets, such as bank accounts or real estate, will go directly to the joint account co-owner. In addition, life insurance policies or retirement accounts will go directly to the person named as beneficiary designated on the account. If you have a revocable living trust, the assets held in the trust will be distributed by the trustee to the beneficiary(ies) designated in the trust.

In a trust you can also name a guardian for your minor and/or disabled adult children; if you do not have a trust or a will, the court will appoint a person or persons who will act as guardian of your children. In addition, if you are unmarried but have an unregistered partner, your partner will not inherit anything from your estate without a trust naming him or her as a beneficiary.

The best way to ensure your estate is distributed in accordance with your intentions is to plan your estate with a qualified and experienced NJ trust attorney.

Fredrick P. Niemann Esq.

The trust attorneys at Hanlon Niemann & Wright are experienced in NJ estate planning and can help you to determine your needs.

Please Call Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.  He genuinely looks forward to meet and speak with you about a trust and your estate planning needs.


Written by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a New Jersey Trust Attorney

Trust attorney serving these New Jersey Counties:

Monmouth County, Ocean County, Essex County, Cape May County, Mercer County, Middlesex County,
Bergen County, Morris County, Burlington County, Union County, Somerset County, Hudson County, Passaic County