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Estate planning for New Jersey military members

Many of the men and women in New Jersey who serve within the American armed forces are young, healthy and have the bulk of their lives still ahead of them. Servicemembers are often focused on their duties to their country, and can overlook many of their personal needs. In regard to estate planning, many within the military neglect to address this important issue, feeling that such tasks are for a later time in life. In reality, however, it is never too early to begin estate planning.

Drafting a basic will is the first step of many estate plans. A will outlines one’s wishes as to how their assets will be distributed in the event of their death. It also allows parents to designate a chosen guardian for minor children. This can prevent a great deal of uncertainty and strife for those left behind. In the worst cases, a probate judge could be tasked with making this very personal and important decision, or a custody battle could arise between family members, placing one’s wishes in writing can avoid these types of outcomes.

In addition, creating an estate plan allows an individual to assemble a team of trusted individuals who would handle various tasks in the event of one’s death. There will be an executor who will control the distribution of assets. Another individual can be chosen to make medical decisions on one’s behalf in the event of incapacitation. Some people will also designate an individual to handle their financial matters in the event of an incapacitating illness or injury. Having these people in position before their services are needed is a crucial component of successful estate planning.

Those in New Jersey who serve within the armed forces often set aside their own needs to conduct their duties to their country. However, estate planning is a very personal and important task, one that should be undertaken sooner rather than later. Having these directives in place is not only a gift to oneself, but is also a benefit to those who will be left behind.

Source: InsuranceNewsNet.com, "Estate Planning: Get Ahead", , May 30, 2014

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