For many in New Jersey, the primary focus of their estate plans is to ensure that their families are taken care of in the event of their deaths. For married couples, the person best-suited to carry out one's wishes is usually the spouse. By centering estate planning around the person one trusts the most, a favorable outcome is not only possible, but likely.
For many in New Jersey, the act of creating a comprehensive estate plan brings about a sense of relief in knowing that these matters have been addressed. With the right degree of effort, estate planning strategies can work wonders in ensuring that one's wishes are followed when the time comes. It is important for individuals to understand, however, that simply creating a will is not a catch-all solution. Many assets can still pass to others upon one's death if the proper precautions are not taken.
When many New Jersey residents consider their estate planning needs, they focus on traditional types of assets. We think about retirement savings, investments, cash and property. Few people take the time to consider how less tangible assets, such as those that exist in the digital realm, should be factored into the process. However, in today's technological world, even a simple estate plan should address digital wealth.
For many in New Jersey, the main focus of planning one's estate is to ensure that loved ones receive the inheritance that is planned for them, without incurring heavy taxation and outside of the probate process. For those residents who are unmarried and do not have children, estate planning may be structured around a different focus. Many forget that an important function of estate planning can have an impact while an individual is still alive.
A great deal of focus within estate planning is centered on the best way to transfer assets to children and grandchildren after the death of a loved one. For couples in New Jersey without children, a different estate planning approach is often taken, and the focus becomes how to best ensure that one's own needs are taken care of in the event of an incapacitating illness or injury. It is one thing to consider how one would like to be cared for in such circumstances, but another to actually structure a plan to make sure that one's wishes are followed in this most important regard. This aspect of estate planning is often overshadowed by a focus on passing on assets and avoiding probate.
Many New Jersey residents experience a sense of relief when their estate planning documents have been drafted and signed. Having this important financial step completed can bring about a feeling of comfort in the knowledge that these matters have been properly addressed. However, there is one addition to the estate planning process that is often overlooked. Including a financial inventory can be a great help to the individual(s) tasked with administering the estate.
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.
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.
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.
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.