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Phone: 201-345-3018

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Common estate planning errors to avoid

When considering their estate planning needs, many New Jersey residents make a number of common errors. Perhaps the most central of these is a reluctance to turn one's attention to matters that center on an individual's demise. By failing to address estate planning issues, however, individuals are by default making matters far more complicated for those they love. The best way to ensure that one's wishes are carried out upon his or her death is to clearly outline those wishes within the proper legal documents.

When thinking about various estate planning tools, a great number of people make the false assumption that estate planning is only for the rich and famous. In reality, however, these tools are beneficial to people from all walks of life. While individuals with a more modest set of assets may have a more simplified estate plan than an individual who holds a great deal of wealth, the benefits of estate planning apply to everyone. The ability to avoid probate, save on taxes and facilitate a smooth transfer of assets to one's heirs are universally heralded as positives.

Another common mistake is resting in the belief that the right time to create an estate plan is off in the distance. By postponing this important task, individuals are placing themselves at risk that they will go to their grave without having completed these tasks. As with anything that one finds unpleasant, it is easy to put off estate planning until it is too late. Doing so only makes things harder for those left behind, and does nothing to ensure that assets pass on in the manner of one's choosing.

The best piece of advice that anyone can receive in regard to estate planning is simple: start the process now. Once this need has been addressed, many in New Jersey will find that it was far less arduous and unpleasant than imagined. In fact, the peace of mind that comes with knowing that one's final wishes will be properly handled can bring about a peace of mind that is beyond value.

Source: The Week, "7 common estate-planning mistakes", Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sept. 22, 2014

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