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Estate planning can protect one's property after death

When life is busy, people tend to focus on simply making it through each day. Thinking about the future even five or 10 years from now may seem overwhelming, and thinking about what would happen in the event of one's death may seem too morbid. However, if people fail to make the necessary preparations through estate planning while they are alive, their families are the ones who may end up suffering in New Jersey.

One important part of an estate plan is a will. Having a will ensures that a person's wishes are met regarding what particular assets will go to certain beneficiaries. When a will doesn't exist, a probate court will have to decide what will happen to these assets, and the outcome may be the opposite of what the deceased person had intended.

Some people may be tempted to use cheap resources online to create wills. However, even small details may end up causing a will to be invalidated or prevent a person's true wishes from being fulfilled. It is often wise to select someone who will take over one's finances should one become incapacitated. These individuals are called powers of attorney, and choosing them is an essential part of estate planning.

Estate planning understandably may seem emotionally challenging for a person who prefers not to think about death. However, wills ensure that if people pass away, as much of their property as possible will go to the people they select to benefit from these assets. These assets may include investments, cash, vehicles and even homes. Each person in New Jersey has the right to seek their family's best interests by engaging in carefully executed estate planning.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Four Estate-Planning Documents Everyone Should Have", Tom Lauricella, April 20, 2014

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