For New Jersey residents wanting to preserve their legacy and provide for later generations, an estate plan is a vital tool. While estate planning can involve a multitude of different documents and legal tools, financial professionals make some basic suggestions that can make the entire process less troublesome while putting everyone at ease that a person's wishes will be followed.
First among the documents that should be included in any estate plan is the will. Although wills can be contested and even enter probate, they are still an important tool in making specific bequests for specific heirs. Furthermore, passing on without a will means that one's wishes are dismissed in favor of the intestacy of whatever state the decedent happened to live in. In most U.S. states, that means that one's current spouse will split the estate with any children in the family.
Another helpful tool for the passing of assets to heirs after a person's death is a revocable living trust. One of the best features of a living trust is that it is not subject to probate. Heirs inherit whatever the recently passed property owner says that they inherit. However, legal experts caution that if one has minor children, then a will is still essential because only a will allows the specifying of certain guardians for children. If there is no will, a judge decides who will be their guardian.
Estate planning allows for the distribution of assets according to the wishes of the property owner involved. An estate planning attorney may be very helpful in estate administration and wealth protection after a death. Will planning, asset valuation and acting as or appointing an executor are services that may be provided.
Source: Yahoo, "How to create a bulletproof estate plan", November 12, 2013