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Phone: 201-345-3018

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Estate planning basics

New Jersey residents often assume they do not need estate planning documents because they do not have a large amount of assets or they are not old enough to concern themselves with it. However, there are basic estate planning documents that adults should have. Once created, these documents also need to be updated whenever someone experiences a major life change such as a marriage or the birth of a child.

It is suggested that individuals have a will, power of attorney and health care power attorney. A trust may also be a good idea, depending on an individual's situation. These documents do not have to be incredibly complicated or expensive; their complexity will depend on an individual's needs. The goal of these documents is more than just to determine who will end up with an individual's assets. They can also determine who will take care of someone's children and have an impact on medical care for individuals when they cannot make their own choices.

Creating these documents can also help ensure that a family business is well-taken care of and help ensure children do not squander their inheritances. If a family business is divided between two children and only one has real interest in it, it can cause endless problems for the business. Wills and trusts enable people to distribute assets in a way that is the most beneficial instead of immediately dividing them up into percentages.

If someone does not have an estate plan or is looking to update one, a lawyer may be able to assist them. An estate planning lawyer could help effect a will and efficiently plan the division of an estate.

Source: Fox Business, "Why You Need an Estate Plan", Donna Fuscaldo, June 21, 2013

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