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.
It's important for New Jersey residents to plan how their estates will be distributed when the time comes, but many of them may not know the importance of the estate planning process. Without a solid estate plan, their children don't always know what assets they own, and these assets are often scattered in different places. Even after the assets are assembled and the family can start dividing them, there are often issues with various ownership structures, account titles and beneficiary information. Dated estate planning may not keep up with the changing laws, and it may not reflect a person's current financial position. As a result, surviving family members may face a mess of paperwork that is difficult to understand and time-consuming to sort through. The more convoluted the estate is with accounts in various joint names and housed at different banks, the more tedious it will be to finalize and divide.
In our last post, we spoke about the importance of reviewing one's estate plan periodically to ensure it keeps up with current law and continues to serve one's needs. We named five different events that should prompt the review of one's estate plan. A recent article in Forbes looks at the matter from the perspective of wellness. The article does mention the importance of reviewing one's estate plan, particularly for families with family-owned businesses, and notes that now is a particularly good time to do so.
Financial planning is something everybody should think about in conjunction with estate planning. While the two are separate disciplines, the way one handles one can affect how one handles the other.
In our previous post, we began looking at the topic of minor guardianships. As we noted, selecting a guardian or guardians for minor children is an important aspect of estate planning, and for many it is the careful decision they will make in their will.
For many people, ensuring that the needs of their children are met is one of the most important reasons to get an estate plan done. There is no question that appointing guardians for children is a very important question, and one that shouldn't be taken lightly.