Creating your estate plan is an essential part of preparing for your retirement and your end-of-life plans, but many people do not even know where to start. Ensuring you have what you need for your estate plan will help to protect you and your loved ones from the legal and financial complications that can arise as you grow older, and after you pass away. Here are five things you should consider for your estate plan:
No matter how healthy you are, there is always the risk that you will become incapacitated and unable to make healthcare decisions on your own. However, this is especially a concern for the elderly, and those with long-term health problems that may worsen at any time. That is why, if you are putting an estate plan together, you should seriously consider creating a healthcare proxy so that your wishes are honored if these situations arise.
Writing a last will and testament is always a difficult undertaking. If nothing else, it requires you to confront the fact that you won’t always be there for your loved ones, and you need to plan for what will happen to them when you are gone. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when you are writing your will, to ensure you don’t leave your loved ones with unnecessary problems. Continue reading “Writing a Last Will and Testament: Five Things to Consider”
If you are thinking about planning your estate, you may already know the benefits of having a will. However, it is important to know the tools you have available to you for estate planning beyond executing a simple last will and testament. One such tool is known as the testamentary trust, and depending on your needs, it can be an essential part of your estate plan. Continue reading “What is a Testamentary Trust?”
The main purpose of every trust is to preserve assets that will eventually pass or transfer to beneficiaries. In order for the trust to be valid, the terms must clearly recognize that the assets will be transferred to beneficiaries. In addition, trusts are also used to: Continue reading “Purpose of a Trust”
Estate planning is a complex process. Estate planning often includes a Last Will and Testament and may also include utilizing a trust as well as advance directives such as a power of attorney, health care proxy, living will, and HIPPA release form, among others. While these concepts may be foreign, these estate-planning tools assist with creating a comprehensive estate plan. One of the most important tools in every estate plan is a trust. A trust is created to protect property and assets. In order for a trust to be valid it must: Continue reading “Trust Basics”
An inventory of assets is a form that may be required by the Surrogate’s Court. The form must be completed and delivered to the court by either the fiduciary of the estate or, at the request of the fiduciary, it may be provided by the attorney on record.
It is important to create a comprehensive estate plan, and there are certain measures that one can take to avoid probate if done correctly. Probate is the legal process whereby a last will and testament is determined to be valid and authentic by a court of law. Under New Jersey State Law, the will is admitted to probate when the executor files a “Petition for Probate” with the decedent’s will attached. Additionally, if the decedent died without a will, then an administrator would apply with the Surrogate. Probate proceedings take place in the county surrogate’s court where the decedent resided at the time of their death.
Over the last few years, both New Jersey and federal estate tax laws have changed. Currently, a decedent’s estate only needs to pay federal estate tax if the gross value of the estate exceeds $5,490,000. In New Jersey, estates with a value in excess of $2,000,000 have to pay the state’s estate tax. As of January 1, 2018, the New Jersey estate tax will no longer be in effect.