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Cherry Hill NJ Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Discuss charitable estate plan components with your heirs

There are many aspects of your life that you need to think about when you are creating your estate plan. Not only do you need to consider where you want assets to go when you pass away, but you also have to think about what you need to happen if you are ever unable to make decisions for yourself. We can work with you to come up with a step-by-step method for getting everything handled.

When you are trying to decide where your assets will go, don't forget to decide if you have any charities or nonprofits that you want to support when you are gone. You can do this through a trust if there is one that you feel should have a portion of your estate.

Tips for handling a will contest

When a loved one passes away, you are likely going to experience a range of emotions. This can make it difficult to think clearly and make important decisions; however, if your loved one's estate plan isn't the one that you were aware of, you might have to make a big decision now. Do you allow the estate plan to close out without alerting anyone about the issue or do you contest it?

If you are leaning toward contesting it, there are some points that you have to consider. These might help you decide what you are going to do.

  • Probate litigation can tear families apart. Make sure that you are fully prepared to deal with having to cut ties with some family members. They might not understand why you are calling the estate plan into question. Some might even say that you are just being greedy.
  • Be prepared for the battle. Your character might be called into question. There may be some difficult conversations about why you are contesting the will. You may have to fight to show why the current estate plan isn't the valid one.
  • Your emotions might suffer. This is going to be a difficult process. Even though you feel like you are well within your rights to contest the will, you might feel a range of emotions. This can range from elated that you are taking action to upset that you are having to go through this.

Get your estate plan made to start the new year off right

Estate planning is a vital duty of being an adult. The first of the year is a good time to get this taken care of so you start the year off knowing that you've done what you could to protect your family if something happens to you. When you are doing this, make sure that you think carefully about what you are planning.

You need to set up a plan for what is going to happen to minor children if you have any. You can set up a guardianship and trusts to help care for them. You also need to ensure that you are getting things in order to pass out your assets to the people you want to have them.

Make plans for your end-of-life care while you can

It isn't easy to think about becoming incapacitated, but it is something that is very necessary. What if you are unconscious after a car wreck or suffer a debilitating condition that takes away your ability to make your wishes known? In both of these situations, you will be at the mercy of others to decide what is best for you. If this doesn't sound like an ideal situation to you, now is a good time to sit down and get your living will set.

A living will provides instructions for medical professionals about your wishes regarding specific aspects of care. You can cover as many or as few topics as you want in the document. Some of the more common are regarding organ donation, life support and resuscitation. You can also include information about intravenous hydration and nutrition, pain relief and specific treatments and tests. For example, you might not believe in the use of blood products, which should be relayed in the living will.

Estate administrators have serious duties to handle

Being the administrator of an estate is a huge undertaking. You should ensure that you are fully prepared for this when a person asks if you can take on this responsibility. The duties have to be in accordance with the laws so that the estate can close out without delays or increased expenses. We know that you might need some assistance with this aspect of your position. We are here to provide assistance throughout the case.

One of the first things that you are going to have to do when the decedent passes away is to notify the heirs of the estate that you have taken on the duties of the administrator. This lets them know where to go if they need anything, but it also helps you ensure that you have contact information for anyone who has an interest in the estate.

The estate process can become complex sometimes

The probate process is mystifying to some people; however, it doesn't have to be. In the simplest of terms, probate is meant to transfer the assets of the decedent to the rightful heirs. This is done based on the estate plan of the person. If the person doesn't have one, the case will follow the intestate guidelines of the state.

For most people, the probate process is simple. There aren't any legal issues that come up during the process. For others, will contests and other litigation matters will come up. These individuals need to ensure they know their rights and responsibilities as the case moves through the court system.

Family heirlooms should be included in your estate plan

Thinking about how your relatives will carry on when you pass away is difficult. One thing that you might do is ensure that your estate plan is in place so they have one less thing to worry about. This will help them focus on their healing. We can help you get things together so that you can plan for them.

While many people are focused on handing out big assets, others are more worried about the fate of family heirlooms. Both of these are equally important in estate planning so finding a balance between them is important.

Creating a valid will isn't difficult

When you create an estate plan, you need to write a will. This document might seem old-fashioned, but it still plays an important role in the estate. Without one, the state will determine who gets your assets based on intestate succession laws, which outline exactly what will happen based on a person's relationship to you.

There are several things that you need to know about writing a will. All of these work together to ensure that the will is deemed valid in court. Here are a few things that you need to remember:

  • You must have a sound mind, which means that you understand exactly what the will is going to do to your assets and for the heirs when you pass away.
  • You need to be at least 18 years old unless you have joined the military or are married.
  • Your will must not be made under duress. You have to voluntarily include the provisions that are listed in the document.
  • All of your assets and property that you are distributing must be clearly listed in the will along with instructions about where each item will go.
  • Your will must be witnessed by two other people who aren't named in the will. They must watch you sign and date the document so they can attest to it containing your signature if there is ever a question raised.

Estate administration duties may add stress to a difficult time

Finding out that you are the administrator over a loved one's estate usually comes at a time when your mind is reeling from their death. It is easy to become overwhelmed when you are thrust into this spot, especially when you find out suddenly that you need to do these duties. We know that you might have some questions about the specifics of what you need to do.

Sometimes, having to deal with the probate process is a lot when you are dealing with the emotional turmoil of the death. Plus, you might be trying to make final arrangements, which can add more stress to your life.

A will contest must be carefully planned

Probate litigation isn't something that most people will experience in their lifetime. Most wills go through the process without any issue. In fact only around 1 percent have issues, while the remaining 99 percent pass though without any problems.

You can't challenge a will for any random reason, nor can anyone contest it. There are very strict requirements for doing this. You have to be a person with a valid interest in the will, which means that you are actually in the current will, in a previous version of it or would stand to inherit something if there wasn't a will at all. If none of these apply, you can't contest the will.

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

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Law Offices of Nancy M. Rice
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CHERRY HILL, NJ 08034

Phone: 856-673-0048
Fax: 856-673-0052
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Law Offices of Nancy M. Rice
Linwood Professional Plaza
2021 New Road, Unit #9
Linwood, NJ 08221

Phone: 609-398-3447
Fax: 856-673-0052
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