Completing one's estate plan provides a wonderful sense of relief for many in New Jersey. Once the distribution of assets has been structured and all incapacitation documents are in place, many people rest assured that they have adequately prepared for the inevitable. Often, however, there are holes within a given estate planning package. For many, one of the most frequently overlooked matters involves how a personal belongings will be passed on to loved ones.
For many in New Jersey, the prospect of discussing end-of-life planning with loved ones is distressing. Few people want to look this particular reality of life directly in the eye, which leaves many families with little idea how to handle the affairs of their deceased loved ones. While Thanksgiving and Christmas may not offer ideal settings to discuss estate planning issues, many people find the New Year's gatherings are far less emotionally charged.
For the majority of New Jersey residents, the primary focus of their estate planning involves how to pass on their assets to children and grandchildren. However, there are many couples who do not have children, and their estate planning needs are somewhat different. It is easy to assume that a childless couple has less need for a comprehensive estate plan, but this is simply not true. Even when there are no direct descendents in place, individuals still need to create a roadmap for how their assets will be handled in the event of their death.
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.
A will generally protects someone's assets in the event of their death. Sometimes, a will may require New Jersey family members to go through probate litigation for the distribution of assets. As emotional as this is, there are circumstances where this is necessary and beneficial.
There is a lot to think about when it comes to planning an estate in New Jersey. Most individuals want to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes and will do whatever is necessary to avoid any heirs contesting the will and delaying the process. In situations like this, a no-contest clause may be a useful estate planning tool.
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.
New Jersey taxpayers expecting an inheritance may also receive something else less pleasant along with it - a hefty inheritance tax. A recent article by The Motley Fool discusses the inheritance tax some states charge to generate additional revenue for themselves. According to the article, New Jersey charges taxes in the 11 percent to 16 percent range. Five other states also charge an inheritance tax, but New Jersey tops the list.
Many people may believe that estate planning only benefits the elderly or the very wealthy; however, estate planning is important for everyone, even those with limited assets. Estate planning includes wills, but it also includes living trusts.
In our last post, we looked at an article which gave an overview of the first steps in the process of estate administration, specifically establishing the authenticity of an estate and appointing a legal representative. In this post we will look at a brief overview of the rest of the process.