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ESTATE PLANNING

You have worked hard all of your life and it is important that you have a plan for what will happen to what you own after your death. The proper plan will save your family a lot of money, time, and frustration. Our office will help you review your needs and draft the proper documents for your situation. In addition, you will be able to set up a type of Medicaid Planning for you and loved ones in the event Nursing Home facilities are needed in the future.



A. Last Will and Testament


A Last Will and Testament is a formal document which distributes your property at your death. In your Will, you will be able to name who you want to care for your minor children at your death, and name the person to manage the Probate of your Will and the distribution of your assets.


It is important that you review your Last Will and Testament every few years to make sure that it accurately reflects your current situation. Changes which take place when you Marry, Divorce, have or Adopt Children buy or sell a home, will necessitate a review of your current Will to see if it still makes sense given your current situation.


Our lawyers can advise you on creating an Estate Plan that makes sense for you and your family, by taking into account your assets, the tax consequences of your decisions and your desires. You have worked hard for what you have and upon your death, your things should be distributed in accordance with your wishes in the most cost effective way possible.



B. Living Will/Advance Health Care Directive


A Living Will/Advance Health Care Directive is a formal document which explains how you want your health care managed if you are not able to speak for yourself. In this document, you explain when you want the document to control, who should make the decisions for you and when you want all health care treatment to end.


It is important to designate a Health Care Proxy to make these end-of-life decisions.



C. Durable Power of Attorney


A Durable Power of Attorney is a document which permits another individual to exercise the rights and abilities that you have to manage your day-to-day affairs in the event you are not able to take care of your own affairs.


D. Trusts


A Trust is a formal document that can do many different things depending on the type of Trust which is established.


There are Trusts that are established to try to minimize tax consequences, to take care of Minor Children or Disabled People and protect those individuals from having their money taken by Creditors, and for many other reasons.


The most common types of Trusts are Minor’s Trusts, Revocable Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Living Trusts, Generation Skipping Trusts, Life Insurance Trusts, and Charitable Remainder Trusts.





PROBATE

In New Jersey, Probate is the process of filing a Will with the New Jersey Surrogate Court and making sure that the terms and instructions of a Last Will and Testament are carried out. Ten (10) days after a person dies, their Will can be filed with the Surrogate Court. In order to file a Will with the Surrogate, you will need to provide the Original Last Will and Testament in addition to the following information:


1. The applicant's residence;


2. The name, domicile and date of death of the decedent;


3. The names and addresses of the decedent's spouse, heirs (those entitled to take under the laws of interstate succession), and any person named to serve as Executor;


4. The ages of any minor heirs;


5. The names of the testator's children when the Will was made and the names of children born and adopted after the Will was made, or their children, if any; and


6. An original Death Certificate bearing a raised seal. certificate.



Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning


Q: What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A: This is a form that permits someone else to take care of your financial affairs in the event you are not able to do so. This form can also provide for another to make Medical Decisions on your behalf in the event you are not able to speak for yourself.

Q: What is a Living Will?

A: This is a form which makes clear to your Doctors what your wishes are in the event you are terminally ill and are not able to speak for yourself. This document appoints another individual to make these "end of life" decisions in consultation with your Doctors.

Q: What is a Last Will and Testament?

A: This is a form which directs what you want to happen to all of the things that you own at the time of your death. In addition, this form can also name a Guardian for your minor children in the event of your untimely passing. This document is a useful tool to avoid or minimize Estate Taxes.