Administering an estate in New Jersey begins with locating a will. The items that the will controls, or probate assets, and the person who will be in control of the distribution of these assets will be named in the will as the executor of the will. In some cases, the deceased party may leave behind a trust document. However, there are cases in which there is no will or trust document left. In these cases, an administrator will need to handle the estate administration based on the prior estate planning.
New Jersey residents may be aware that many of the tax benefits originally included as part of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act in 2001 were made permanent this spring through the enactment of the American Tax Relief Act of 2012. Although seemingly merely a confirmation of existing laws, the permanent structure and additional tax provisions it put in place can affect certain estate planning strategies.
While no parent ever wants to consider the fact that they may pass away and leave their children behind, considering what might happen to college savings funds upon the death of a parent may be imperative. Those who are dealing with estate planning issues may want to consider what would happen to their child's college savings if they passed away.
New Jersey residents who are married may wonder about the process of setting up an estate plan for a spouse. Some spouses simply hold assets jointly, titled so that a spouse automatically inherits them at the time of death, or they have a basic will that leaves everything to a spouse. However, a simple estate plan can ensure that all assets are accounted for and transferred according to the testator's wishes.
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.
When planning an estate, most people automatically think of the very rich since the exemption for an estate tax is more than $5 million. However, an estate tax is not the only issue involved in estate planning. Most people, no matter their social status, need to make up a will through the use of either a lawyer or a financial adviser. However, the middle-class individual could also benefit from other areas of estate planning.
Over the years, the American people have moved huge portions of their lives to the Internet. From socializing with friends and business associates to shopping and banking, people spend a great deal of time on the Internet. As part of this shift, "digital assets" have emerged. Some New Jersey residents may wonder how to address these assets as part of estate planning.
New Jersey residents may be interested in to hear that in 2012, a 97-year-old Holocaust survivor and real estate developer passed away, leaving no relatives and no heirs. He also apparently did no estate planning - and left an estate worth nearly $40 million. A representative for the state comptroller's office said that this is the largest unclaimed estate that the state has ever seen.
Some people think that only "old" people die, or that estate planning is unnecessary for the young. On the contrary, estate planning is essential for people of all ages. An estate plan will help ensure that a person's wishes are respected should the person pass away unexpectedly.