Estate Planning in NJ
A comprehensive estate plan resolves a number of legal questions that arise whenever anyone dies: What is the state of their financial affairs? What real and personal property do they own? Who gets what? Does a personal guardian need to be appointed to care for minor children? Are their trusts created under the Will that need to be funded and implemented?
An estate plan can and should accomplish the following:
- Identify the family members and other loved ones that you wish to receive your property after your death, when they are to receive their property.
- Ensure that your property will be transferred to those you have identified, as quickly and with as few legal hurdles as possible.
- Avoid the time and costs associated with the probate process by utilizing estate planning devices like living trusts and “payable on death” bank accounts.
- Dictate the kinds of life-prolonging medical care you wish to receive or not to receive should you be unable to make your wishes known when the time comes.
What’s the Difference Between Estate Planning and a Will?
Many people assume that creating an estate plan is essentially the same as creating a Last Will andTestament. However, these two terms are not interchangeable – not in the slightest. An estate plan is a comprehensive set of documents that are effective while you are still alive, as well as after your passing. A will is only one part of the estate planning process, detailing who gets your assets, who is in charge of distributing those assets, and who will be deemed guardian for your minor children after your passing. The other documents that comprise your estate plan dictate who should make personal decisions on your behalf while you are still living.
These documents include:
- Advanced healthcare directives “Living Will” and healthcare power of attorney gives the person of your choosing the ability to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you be physically and mentally unable to. If you have strong feelings about whether you prefer to be kept alive (or not) in certain medical situations like an irreversible coma, these are very important documents to consider when creating your estate plan.
- Durable power of attorney is a document stays in effect if you become incapacitated and unable to handle financial matters on your own. With a durable power of attorney, the person you appoint will be able to make financial decisions on your behalf that coincide with the preferred medical decisions outlined in your advanced healthcare directives.
Avoid Costly Estate Litigations with a Solid Estate Plan
At SCC Legal, we’ve seen more than our share of estate litigation cases gone wrong. If there is no comprehensive estate plan or Will and Testament in place, children or other family members may engage in dishonest or combative behavior if they feel they are being cheated out of their inheritance. These situations oftentimes get ugly and end with family ties being severed and substantial court costs.
The best way to ensure something like this doesn’t happen to your family is to work with a reputable estate planning attorney like the team at SCC Legal in Fairfield, NJ. With many years of experience in estate planning, we can assist you in developing a plan that addresses all your needs, ensuring your hard work and assets go to the people who truly deserve them.