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December 2014 Archives

How do frozen eggs and fertility factor into estate planning?

When considering various estate planning options, many in New Jersey follow a similar path of the loved ones who have gone before. While there are many and varied virtues to be found in tradition, estate planning requires a far more forward thinking approach, especially in regard to advancements in medicine and technology. A prime example lies in the issue of fertility treatments, and how new approaches could create complicated genealogical lines.

Discussing estate planning during New Year celebrations

For many in New Jersey, the prospect of discussing end-of-life planning with loved ones is distressing. Few people want to look this particular reality of life directly in the eye, which leaves many families with little idea how to handle the affairs of their deceased loved ones. While Thanksgiving and Christmas may not offer ideal settings to discuss estate planning  issues, many people find the New Year's gatherings are far less emotionally charged.

The role of personal letters within estate planning

For most New Jersey residents, the topic of planning one's estate brings to mind a stack of legal documents and directives, and a body of paperwork intended to preserve assets and pass accumulated wealth down to those left behind. While there is no denial that properly drafted estate planning documents form the base, there is another type of writing that individuals should consider adding to the mix. Leaving behind personal letters can make the grieving process much easier for loved ones, and it can also guide them in understanding matters that are beyond the scope of wills and trusts.

Estate taxes not the only estate planning concern

Most New Jersey residents are aware that their accumulated wealth will not be subject to estate taxes unless a very high volume of assets has been reached. The exact figure beyond which an estate is subject to taxation currently sits at $5,340,000. For married couples, that number can be extended to $10,680,000 with the proper level of planning. However, even individuals and families with a far lower net worth should consider creating an estate planning package that serves to protect their wealth from other forms of loss.

Asset protection requires proper funding of trusts

Taking a proactive approach to estate planning is a great way to get started. Those in New Jersey who are able to address these matters far in advance of their eventual implementation are at an advantage, as last-minute planning often yields poor results. However, in order to harness the full potential of asset protection tools such as trusts, those vehicles must be properly funded.

Single people can and should create a simple estate plan

When discussing estate-planning needs, a great deal of focus is placed on preserving assets and dictating the manner in which one's accumulated wealth will pass on to intended heirs. Often, we discuss these matters in terms of family connections, spouses and children shared within the same family unit. Single New Jersey residents may feel as if their own circumstances do not merit even a simple estate plan. This, however, is a misconception.

The hazards of last minute estate planning

Many New Jersey residents postpone addressing their estate planning needs. For some, procrastinating will result in a failure to chart out one's wishes in time, and loved ones will be left to wade through the probate process with little concrete guidance as to what their lost family member would want. Some people, however, will have their estate planning needs placed under a spotlight when they learn of a terminal illness.

Estate planning can help protect one's possessions, family

Thinking about death is one thing most people likely prefer not to do, especially during the holidays. However, failing to plan for one's death may mean that one's wishes aren't upheld in the event of one's death in New Jersey. Estate planning is critical, no matter the size of one's estate.

Think control isn't necessary for asset protection? Think again

Drawing up a will or creating a trust can initially feel like passing on the responsibility of your things to other people. Grandma's old piano might be intended for your granddaughter, the china cabinet for your son and a charitable trust for your favorite New Jersey non-profit. However, much of estate planning isn't about losing control; it's about maintaining control and ensuring proper asset protection.