Having a will or trust in place can be important for anyone living in New Jersey. Most people have assets or other property they would wish to protect. Estate planning can be particularly important if one is a business owner and has other family members involved in the business.

If a person dies without a valid will, he or she is said to have died intestate. This means that the property of the deceased will be distributed according to the laws of the state. If the person was married, the estate would pass to the surviving spouse unless there are children from a previous marriage or relationship. In that instance, the assets would be split between the children and surviving spouse.

If a person owns a business and has family members as part owners of the business, the lack of a will could further complicate settling of the estate. The owner, or owners, of a company may actually hold stock in the company. Depending on how any agreements were set up, surviving shareholders may have a right to purchase the shares of the deceased partner.

A person in New Jersey who has questions regarding business ownership and/or estate planning should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can review the client’s assets and/or business holdings and make recommendations to ensure that a person’s final wishes regarding asset and property distribution are successfully carried out. Planning for the future in the event of one’s premature death is unpleasant to contemplate, but it can be one of the kindest actions one takes for loved ones.