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Cherry Hill NJ Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Probate litigation is complex but it serves an important purpose

Estate plans are a set of instructions about the handling of possessions after individuals pass away. These plans are usually followed without any issues, but there are some instances in which people who are left behind don't believe that the way things are set up are truly indicative of what the person wanted. We can let you know if you have legal grounds to contest a will or fight back against an estate plan component that you believe isn't correct.

Contesting a will is a big step. It can pull you and your family members apart, especially if they don't agree with the reason for the challenge. You need to think carefully about this. One of the first things to do is to come up with a plan.

Only certain people have a legal standing to contest a will

Challenging a will isn't something that can be done by just anyone. The law has things pertaining to a will set up so that only specific people can challenge the contents of the will. People or entities who don't have a legal interest in the will can't challenge it.

One group of individuals who has an interest in the will even if they aren't specifically named in it are those who would stand to inherit all or a portion of the estate if the decedent had died without a will. State law sets up a succession plan of people who can inherit assets if a person dies intestate.

Think about the goals of your estate plan to get things moving

Planning your estate must be taken seriously, but this is one reason why some people might put off the planning process. It is very easy to think that you have plenty of time left to get a will and other components of the estate plan hashed out. This may not be the case, since "life is what happens when we are busy making other plans," as a famous song counsels. We can help to make the estate planning process as easy as possible on you.

Thinking about what goals you have for your estate is the start of getting the estate plan started. You need to decide if you are going to provide for your children or if you want to support a favorite charity. Maybe you want to do both. By informing us of the goals of your estate, we can enlighten you as to the avenues available for their materialization.

Understand what you need to include in an estate plan

A lot of people wish they could live forever; however, this isn't something that is going to happen. Since you know that death will occur at some point, now is the time to get things together so that your loved ones know what to do with your assets when you aren't here to use them any longer.

One thing that you need to do is to create an estate plan. This plan must include instructions for how you are going to distribute your assets. When you think of assets, you are thinking of things of value or things that your loved ones might fight over. For example, you need to state who gets the car and house, but you should also include instructions for the green stained glass butterfly that your family members all say they want.

Carefully plan how you administer your loved one's estate

The loss of a loved one is a traumatizing event in a person's life. In some cases, you know that the person is going to pass away soon. Other cases come as a total shock. No matter which one of these your loved one's death falls into, you might be the person who is faced with handling the estate.

Estate administration is a big responsibility. You have to be ready to make some decisions about what is going to happen with certain aspects of the estate. We recently discussed how the estate has to pay for some debts after a decedent's death. Knowing which debts must be paid and where the payment can come from is imperative.

Some debts die when a person dies, others don't

Many people think that when they die, their debts die with them. This is exactly what happens for some individuals who don't have an estate to leave behind, but the debts of people who do have assets when they die will have to be paid following very specific guidelines.

One thing to remember is that the life insurance policy isn't considered part of the estate. The beneficiaries of the policy don't have use the proceeds to pay off any of the debts of the decedent.

Personalize your estate plan to suit your situation

Your estate plan is a personalized account of what you want to happen when you die, as well as what needs to happen if you can't make decisions. You have to think about a variety of issues when you are making your estate plan so that you can determine what to include in this plan.

We understand that you might not be comfortable thinking about all of the questions that are likely going to come up. We are here to help make the process as easy as possible.

Don't include these items in your will

Your estate plan is something that you need to think carefully about. There are many different things that you need to include in your will; however, there are some things that shouldn't be included here. Knowing the difference can help you greatly as you create the estate plan.

One thing that you might want to plan for, but that shouldn't be placed in your estate plan, is your funeral plan. This is because the funeral plan is needed as soon as you pass away. Your will won't be read immediately, so your funeral plans won't be found if you place them in the will.

Avoiding mistakes during estate administration is necessary

Estate administration is something that is difficult to handle for some people. These duties come at a time when you are dealing with the loss of a loved one. This is why some people choose someone not related to them to handle these duties.

There are many different duties that you have when you are administering an estate. Some of these can get rather complicated, especially if you aren't familiar with the process. One of the things that you are responsible for is paying the decedent's bills; however, this might not be as easy as it sounds.

Know the types of life support measures to consider

One of the components of an estate plan is the advanced directive. This works with the powers of attorney for health care to ensure that you get treatments you are comfortable with when you aren't able to make decisions on your own.

When you are drawing up the forms that will outline your wishes, you might decide to include instructions about life support. While some people think that this means being kept alive through artificial means, there is much more to life support.

Law Offices of Nancy M. Rice
Representing clients in Ocean City and communities throughout New Jersey.

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CHERRY HILL, NJ 08034

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Linwood, NJ 08221

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