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Estate planning across the decades

As a New Jersey resident ages, he or she will have different estate planning needs. Understanding those needs can help ensure that a proper estate planning approach is put to use, and that one's needs are being properly addressed. While there is no such thing as an "ideal" age to begin the estate planning process, the following guidelines are given in the hopes of underscoring the benefits of putting one's wishes into a legal format.

During one's 50s, it is important to discuss estate planning with family members. Adult children who have not yet begun their own estate planning process should be encouraged to do so. Discussing the matter in a frank and open manner can remove a great deal of the emotional charge that normally accompanies such topics.

During one's 60s, many people have adult children who are already married. At this stage of life, estate planning efforts might be focused on ensuring that children will receive their intended inheritance, even if their marriage ultimately ends in divorce. By placing those assets within a trust, a high degree of protection is possible.

In one's 70s, it becomes important to review the topic of estate planning with one's family. This is the time to remind loved ones where to find the proper documents when the time comes. It is also a good time to review the provisions laid out within those papers to make sure that the legalities are still in line with one's wishes.

New Jersey residents should view estate planning as a journey and not as a destination. Many of the tasks associated with the estate planning process are not very time or labor intensive, but they can have serious ramifications. During the last few decades of an individual's life, it becomes increasingly important to handle these matters in a timely fashion.

Source: pasadenanow.com, "Estate Planning in Your 50s, 60s, 70s & 80s", Alexandra Smyser, June 12, 2015

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