Plan for the Worst so You Can Focus on the Best
Estate planning is essential for every adult, whether you are 18 or 81. An estate plan is essentially a combination of several important legal documents that help you and your family through difficult times.
A will, trust, durable financial power of attorney, and advance health care directive documents are the centerpieces of a good plan. Please read more below on the importance of each document and contact us to discuss your plan.
The cornerstone of estate planning, wills are a popular way to give away your possessions when you die. All adults should have one, even if your wealth passes at death by other means.
In fact, even though it is possible for the majority of someone's assets to not pass by their will, they should still have one.
For example, if you pass away in New Jersey and New York, the only way to designate a guardian for surviving minor children is by a will. If this is not done, a court will get involved and decide who raises your children.
For this, and many other reasons, it is important to have a will. Click here to learn more about what wills are and why they are an essential estate planning tool.
Using trusts can be another way to create a good estate plan. Trusts come in a variety of "shapes and sizes," but their core is the same, a legal agreement involving at least three parties - the grantor who creates the trust, a trustee who administers it, and one or more beneficiaries.
In this legal agreement, the grantor transfers assets to the trust, which is managed by the trustee for the beneficiaries.
Trusts are a great way to avoid the court administered probate process, especially when you own property in two states and have to deal with probate proceedings in two separate jurisdictions.
Call us to set up a consultation to help determine whether a trust is right for you. You can also learn more about what a trust is and how it can help you by reading this article.
Durable Financial Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a document that allows someone to act on your behalf. Making it "durable" allows that trusted individual to act even if you become incapacitated. A "financial" power of attorney focuses on access and management of financial accounts, including enabling your agent to pay your bills.
Many attorneys consider this the most important estate planning document because, without it, you could be facing serious financial issues. The durable financial power of attorney is particularly important if you have a severe health crisis or are elderly and need help managing your affairs. Learn more about what makes a good financial power of attorney.
Advance Health Care Directives
Advance health care directives are written instructions that let people know the care you want if you are seriously ill and cannot communicate yourself. These documents include a health care power of attorney, living will, and a do not resuscitate order (DNR). You should also include a HIPPA authorization with these documents, as it allows your health care agent access to your medical records.
Read this article to learn more about Advance Health Care Directives and why they are important for your estate plan.
Please contact us at contact us or 201-664-0540 to put an plan in place, or update an existing one, and make sure you are protecting yourself and your family.