Unsurprisingly, a person’s last will and testament can be a major source of conflict for any family, even if that family typically gets along well. There can be fights over who gets to keep money, houses, cars, and other valuables, of course, but also fights over precious heirlooms and other things that have emotional value, even if they aren’t worth much monetarily. Fortunately, there are things you can do when you’re writing your will to preempt these kinds of conflicts. Continue reading “Shortcutting Conflict in Your Will”
On November 7, 2018, the Appellate Division of New Jersey’s Superior Court ruled in favor of a descendant’s only child and against the descendant’s siblings in an inheritance matter. The descendant’s siblings sought to disinherit the child using an “equitable adoption theory.” The court’s decision affirmed the primacy of statutory law over judicial fiat in property succession law. The matter also brought to light the importance of making a Last Will and Testament in order to avoid distribution of assets to undesired beneficiaries. Continue reading “New Jersey Court Rejects “Equitable Adoption” Argument in Inheritance Case”
A Last Will and Testament is a document that memorializes the wishes of the testator. When a person dies without a Will, his or her assets are distributed in accordance with the state laws of intestacy. When this occurs, assets are distributed in a specific order to the decedent’s next of kin, which may not be in accordance with their wishes. Also, a Will may set forth a decedent’s wishes for his or her funeral. Without a Will, a decedent’s wishes for their burial or cremation may not be carried out properly. For these reasons, it is important to execute a valid Will. Continue reading “A Last Will and Testament is Important”
A person that dies without a Last Will and Testament is known to have died intestate. Dying intestate or without a Will can result in unintended consequences as well as chaos because the decedent’s property and possessions will then be distributed to their heirs in accordance with the laws of the state. When this happens, a decedent’s intended wishes for the distribution of their assets and possessions will not always be carried out. Continue reading “Even Single People Need an Estate Plan”
Oftentimes, when a family member or loved one dies without a Last Will and Testament, it results in unintended consequences as well as excessive expense. When a person dies intestate or without a Will, his or her property and possessions will be distributed to their heirs in accordance with the law of the state. When this happens, a decedent’s intended wishes for the distribution of their assets and possessions will not likely be carried out. To ensure that person’s wishes are carried out upon their death a comprehensive estate plan must be created. Continue reading “Create an Estate Plan to Ensure Your Property Is Distributed as You Wish”
Advanced directives are documents that assist in the event that a person loses the capacity to make decisions on their own behalf. These documents allow a designated agent to act on someone else’s behalf in order to make medical or financial decisions. It is recommended that those over the age of eighteen have advanced directives in place, especially if he or she is going away to college. Continue reading “Be Sure You Have Advanced Directives in Place”
Creating and maintaining a comprehensive estate plan is essential to preserving assets and ensuring that a beneficiary’s financial needs are met in the event that a person should die. A thorough estate plan can be created at any age and should include a Last Will & Testament and advanced directives such as a Health Care Proxy, Living Will, and Power of Attorney. Some estate plans may also include a Trust in order to protect certain assets. Continue reading “Storing and Maintaining Original Estate Planning Documents”
An authorization for final dispositions is a document that allows a person to designate who will be in charge of their body and funeral arrangements upon his or her death. In addition, the document provides family members and loved ones with specific instructions regarding a person’s wishes for their funeral and body disposition. The document may include information regarding: Continue reading “Authorization for Final Disposition”
While some people are pleased with the way a decedent allocated assets to his or her beneficiaries, others may not be. However, just because a person was not given what he or she felt they were entitled to, does not necessarily provide them with the grounds necessary to challenge a decedent’s will. An individual must determine whether challenging a decedent’s will is both valid and will succeed in the eyes of the law because the process is timely and expensive. It is worth mentioning that a decedent has a right to allocate his or her assets or other meaningful possessions to those of their choosing. This includes leaving assets or large sums of money to a charity or other institution. However, this does not preclude a beneficiary or heir from challenging the decedent’s will.
Regardless of how many assets you own, estate planning is an important component of your overall financial plan. A properly expected estate plan can help to secure a financial legacy for loved ones and express medical decisions if you are unable to do so. Estate planning can be complex, so it is important to consult the guidance of an experienced estate planning lawyer.