When considering how to structure their end-of-life needs, many in New Jersey hold the misconception that they do not have enough wealth to require estate planning services. They feel that asset protection is a concern only for those who sit amongst the wealthiest; the fabled one percent. In reality, however, virtually everyone can benefit from having a solid estate plan in place.
First, let’s take a closer look at the word “estate.” An estate is not a country home sprawled across multiple acres and featuring a large and imposing house. It is nothing more than the sum total of all assets that an individual has control over. This can include various investments, the equity in one’s home, and different types of personal property. No matter how modest an individual’s holdings may be, those holdings comprise his or her estate.
Estate planning is nothing more than a carefully constructed plan for allocating those assets at the time of one’s death, and for ensuring that those assets pass on with the least possible tax burden. An estate plan contains the legal documents required to ensure that the right people are granted the correct blend of assets. They also designate which individuals are to be tasked with administering one’s final wishes.
It is important that every New Jersey reader is aware of the need to document their final wishes in writing. Asset protection is for everyone, not just the wealthiest one percent of the nation. By understanding the benefits of embarking on the process, individuals will often prioritize drafting the necessary documents, and structuring their estate in a way that reduces taxation. That is an outcome that is 100 percent positive.
Source: CNBC, “Estate planning: Not just for the 1%“, Ivory Johnson, Sept. 29, 2014