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Phone: 201-345-3018

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April 2012 Archives

Faith-based estate planning requires careful thought

Estate planning, as we constantly remind our readers, is a very personal endeavor. Any tools or techniques available in the planning process should be carefully matched to the needs and desires of each person and their family. One way this is evident is the various ways people seek to make religious faith part of their estate plan.

Basic issues to address in your estate plan

Estate planning is a very important task for a number of reasons, and while it may be tempting to forgo such planning, one will be better off for doing the planning. As a recent article on the Huffington Post stresses, the important thing is to get the ball rolling on one's estate plan. Oftentimes it is simply a matter of getting over one's inertia toward thinking and talking to family members about one's death.

Tangible personal property can be source of much family contention

As our New Jersey Readers are aware, the death of a loved one can often be the source of much turmoil and confusion in families. That is especially the case where significant assets are left behind for a family to sort out. Still, even small items can be the source of big contentions.

Why you should consider updating your estate plan

One of the things we have pointed out before on this blog is that estate planning, rather than being a one-time thing, is actually an ongoing process. One does not set up an estate plan and then go on without ever thinking of it again. The goal is to set up something that fits you and your family's needs if you were to die right now. But those needs often change over time, at least to some extent.

Financial planning, especially for retirement, should go with estate planning

Financial planning is something everybody should think about in conjunction with estate planning. While the two are separate disciplines, the way one handles one can affect how one handles the other.

Should couples do estate planning together or separately? P.2

In our last post, we began to look at the issue of joint representation in estate planning and a number of situations in which couples may want to think about securing their own attorney for estate planning purposes. As we noted, joint representation can be beneficial in many cases, but it will not work well for every couple.

Should couples do estate planning together or separately? P.1

When it comes to financial matters, married couples share a lot with each other. In estate planning, too, couples sometimes structure things on a common plan and work together to secure their own future and that of their family. But couples certainly aren't obliged to do so, and many don't.

Ray Charles estate encounters more legal problems

Two years before his death in 2004, singer Ray Charles created a $500,000 trust for each of his 12 children. In exchange, they were to relinquish and waive any further claims to his estate. That, at least, is what The Ray Charles Foundation claims in a lawsuit it recently filed against seven of Charles' children.

Qualified domestic trusts help international couples keep money in the family

The unlimited marital deduction allows married persons to pass on as much of their wealth as they see fit, free of estate taxes. Taxes will eventually have to be paid on the property once the surviving spouse dies. There are, of course, a number of estate planning techniques that help couples to make the most out of their money while minimizing taxes.