Most New Jersey residents are aware that their accumulated wealth will not be subject to estate taxes unless a very high volume of assets has been reached. The exact figure beyond which an estate is subject to taxation currently sits at $5,340,000. For married couples, that number can be extended to $10,680,000 with the proper level of planning. However, even individuals and families with a far lower net worth should consider creating an estate planning package that serves to protect their wealth from other forms of loss.
When discussing estate-planning needs, a great deal of focus is placed on preserving assets and dictating the manner in which one's accumulated wealth will pass on to intended heirs. Often, we discuss these matters in terms of family connections, spouses and children shared within the same family unit. Single New Jersey residents may feel as if their own circumstances do not merit even a simple estate plan. This, however, is a misconception.
Many New Jersey residents postpone addressing their estate planning needs. For some, procrastinating will result in a failure to chart out one's wishes in time, and loved ones will be left to wade through the probate process with little concrete guidance as to what their lost family member would want. Some people, however, will have their estate planning needs placed under a spotlight when they learn of a terminal illness.
When New Jersey residents go through the process of planning their eventual estate, it is important to remember that these directives can only be put into place if the guiding documentation is available to those who need to take action in the matter. Simply creating these estate planning documents and then stuffing them into a file box is not the best course of action. Individuals must take the proper steps to ensure that their wishes can be carried out in the manner of their choosing.
Most New Jersey residents are aware of the benefits of establishing one or more trusts. These flexible estate planning tools can help individuals protect assets from excessive taxation and can give families the ability to bypass probate. However, in order to access the full potential of any given trust, it is important to follow some simple guidelines.
Much has been written, here and elsewhere, about the need to create and maintain a thoughtful drafted estate plan. That said, the reality is that many in New Jersey and across the nation will not address this important need, and their heirs will be forced to go through the probate process. A recent article written for estate planning attorneys puts an unusual spin on this reality, one that is disheartening for many families but also has the power to motivate some to make a change.
Many New Jersey residents find it advantageous to make use of one or more trusts when setting up their estate plans. There are many different types of trusts, all of which have various benefits. In the case of a living trust, individuals are able to place chosen assets into the trust while they are still alive, and can also participate in the management of that trust. For many, the ability to see their trust in action is a big advantage, and makes the estate planning process much easier to accomplish.
For many New Jersey residents, the process of putting together a set of estate documents is a source of stress. This is largely due to the sheer volume of available choices. When confronted by the range of options, many feel overwhelmed and unsure where to begin. However, everyone should rest assured that there is a combination of estate planning documents that can meet any need.
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 faced with a set of choices, many in New Jersey look for a clear path toward making the best possible decision. In terms of estate planning, selecting a course of action may seem like a challenge. In reality, however, there is almost always clear indicators that support one path over another. Once those decisions have been made, individuals are free to move forward with structuring the estate plan that best suits their unique needs.