Michael A. Manna & Associates
Toll Free: 866-678-0459
Phone: 201-345-3018

Let our attorneys provide the legal help Your Family Deserves

Case Evaluation Form

March 2015 Archives

Dean Smith's generous estate planning choice

Many New Jersey residents have seen media coverage of the generous gift that former basketball coach Dean Smith left for the players he worked with over the years. Smith, who is widely considered one of college basketball's most beloved coaches, used a revocable trust within his estate planning strategy to gift $200 to 180 of the young men who passed through his program. Not only is his generosity to be applauded, but the method through which he structured his estate also deserves admiration.

Without current beneficiary information, probate court decides

Organization and periodic review are two topics that should always be associated with the creation and maintenance of a proper estate plan. Without these two practices, it is all too easy for the wishes of a New Jersey resident to fall by the wayside. Over the course of a lifetime, many individuals will obtain a wide variety of assets, including various insurance policies. Ensuring that the beneficiaries for those assets are up-to-date is an essential aspect of good estate planning. Absent such measures, the division of one's estate can be left in the hands of a probate court.

Seek cohesion within estate planning efforts

When planning for the distribution of one's assets upon death, many New Jersey residents make the mistake of taking a piecemeal approach to the matter. They may draft a will in which they outline how they would like their assets to pass to the designated heirs, which is an important step within estate planning. However, there may be a range of assets that have named beneficiaries, such as bank accounts, investment accounts, life insurance and more. In addition, many individuals name their children or others as joint owners on certain assets, such as their home. This approach can lead to a wide range of problems.

Estate planning is a marathon, not a sprint

When many New Jersey residents complete their estate planning packages, they feel overwhelming senses of relief at having handled such an important task. Often, they then place those documents into safes or file cabinets and move on to other projects. It is important to realize that estate planning is not a one-time event, and a properly structured estate plan must be revisited from time to time. In other words, simply having these documents in hand is not sufficient to ensure that one's wishes are followed when the time comes.

Providing for pets during estate planning

Many New Jersey residents consider their pets as members of the family and would go to great lengths to ensure that they are happy and healthy. However, many fail to consider what would happen to their beloved animals in the event of the owner's death. Including pets within one's estate planning is an attainable goal and is also an incredible gift that pet owners can give their furry family members.

Charitable giving and estate planning options

Many New Jersey residents have a long history of giving their time and money to various charities. It comes as no surprise that those same individuals would like to include their favorite charitable organizations within their estate planning. There are also a number of tax benefits that can accompany charitable giving, many of which yield benefits during the life of the giver. Understanding the various options is important when determining how to work charity into one's greater estate plan.

Factoring risk of divorce into estate planning and trusts

The creation of a comprehensive estate plan is in effect a gift that an individual gives to his or her loved ones. By carefully structuring the means by which assets will be distributed after one's death, a great deal of stress and turmoil can be reduced for those left behind. However, there are certain areas of estate planning that offer a challenge to New Jersey residents. Addressing the risk of divorce is a prime example.

Estate planning tips to help avoid family conflict

When a loved one passes away, those left behind are often very distressed. This is a time when emotions and tensions run high, and when conflict between family members in New Jersey can easily flare up. When it comes to estate planning, there are several tips that individuals and families can implement to offset the risk of family feuds. Doing so can make this challenging time far easier to weather for all involved.

Blended families have unique estate planning needs

The shape of the American family is not what it was in generations past. Today's families in New Jersey and across the nation are often comprised of a blend of children from the current and previous unions. This diversity makes family life far more complex and interesting than in previous decades, but it also brings about a range of challenges. One such challenge involves the need to take a carefully considered approach to estate planning, to ensure that everyone's needs are properly addressed.