If circumstances have not changed, is it necessary to update a Will?

UPDATED: Jan 7, 2014

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If circumstances have not changed, is it necessary to update a Will?

Asked on January 7, 2014 under Estate Planning, New Jersey


Kenneth Vercammen Esq. / Kenneth Vercammen

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

.  Federal Estate Tax exemption is now permanently increased so no tax for Estates under $5,340,000, and will be adjusted annually for inflation. However, New Jersey taxes estates over $675,000.

Federal Exemption Amount for Non-Citizen Spouses is $145K up from $143K.

      New Jersey has an Estate Tax on amounts over $675,000.  So, even if no Federal Estate Tax due, the estate must still file a Federal Estate Tax Return, plus NJ Estate Tax Return.

So, for an unmarried or widowed person with assets of $1,000,000, there is No Federal Estate Taxes, but


the Estimated State Estate Tax:  $33,200.00



   For  an unmarried or widowed person with assets of $1,500,000, estimated NJ Estate Tax is over $60,000.

The Federal Tax rate on estates over $5,340,000 has been increased from 35% to 40%.

How to avoid NJ Estate Tax- hire an attorney to set up a personal residence trust or irrevocable trust and have the assets taken out of your name and put into a trust or given to children and grandchildren in the trust. Minimum fees for trust are $3,000. This is probably not something a non-attorney can do on their own. It is illegal for a non-attorney to provide legal advice or prepare most legal documents.


2.Gifts permitted without Federal Estate & Gift tax was increased to $14,000 per person. 


        However, the amount permitted for Medicaid transfers is zero.

 Kenneth Vercammen Edison, NJ

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If circumstances have not changed, the Will does not need to be updated. 

As for future changes in circumstances, the Will may be amended by a codocil instead of re-drafting a new Will.  A codocil is an amendment to a Will in which the testator (person whose Will this is) acknowledges their signature in the presence of witnesses.

If there are major changes in circumstances, a new Will would then be advisable.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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