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Seemingly simple estate planning guidelines

Perhaps the biggest step in completing one's estate plan is simply making the decision to move forward with the process. Once that step has been made, the rest of the process is simply a matter of details. There are certain aspects of estate planning that seem to be obvious, but many in New Jersey fail to take care of these simple details. The following information is given in the hopes of helping individuals reap the benefits of their estate plan, no matter how simple or complex their finances may be.

Once an estate plan has been completed, the resulting documents are often set aside and forgotten about. When the time comes to make use of these legal directives, relatives often have no idea where they are located. This leaves loved ones scrambling to hunt down paperwork in the midst of making final arrangements and coming to terms with their loss. Be sure to let your loved ones know where they can find these documents if the need arises.

In addition, simply drafting a will and other legal documents is not always sufficient to ensure that one's heirs receive the full measure of their inheritance. As time goes by, it is essential that individuals maintain an updated list of their financial accounts and the information needed to access those accounts. If such a master list is not kept up-to-date, it is possible for heirs to lose out on assets that they were intended to inherit.

As these tips suggest, the devil is often in the details. Creating a solid plan for one's estate is not sufficient; it is also necessary to make sure that the people left behind are able to access estate planning documents and put those plans into action. While this may seem like a simple matter, it is one that many New Jersey families face when they lose a loved one.

Source: Investing Daily, "10 Basic Rules of Every Estate Plan", Bob Carlson, April 17, 2014

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