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Cherry Hill NJ Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Understand the purpose of a letter of instruction

When you think of an estate plan, you likely think about wills and trusts. But, there is another document that you need to prepare for your loved ones – the letter of instruction. This isn't legally binding, but it outlines important information that can benefit your family members when you die. You can leave one for everyone to read or you can leave individual letters for specific people.

One important thing to include in your letter of instruction is the details for your final arrangements. Would you prefer cremation over burial? Try to be specific so that your loved ones know exactly what you want. If you have a prepaid funeral plan or have made arrangements with a certain funeral home, you can include this information in the letter. If you know what casket or urn you want, include that, too.

Plan for handing your digital assets to loved ones

Digital assets are sometimes very important to people. This can include everything from your massive collection of ebooks and movies to your social media accounts. You should ensure that you have a plan in place for these after you pass away. If you don't, they might become inaccessible and useless. You can't think only about things that you purchased. Also, take the time to plan for things like family pictures and other similar things.

One thing that you might not realize is that without having your username and password for many of these websites, your loved ones might not be able to access anything. This could leave them without being able to enjoy the things you've collected. If you have websites or any other assets online, write them down, and make a plan for them.

Noncompliance with state law might lead to will contests

Choosing to go through litigation with a loved one's estate isn't an easy decision. For some people, the entire goal of the process is to ensure that the decedent's wishes are actually followed. One area that might come under scrutiny is the will.

In order to be legally valid, wills in New Jersey have to meet certain requirements. When they don't, the assets might be handled in accordance with the state's succession laws. This is an ordered list of who is able to receive the benefits of the estate according to their relationship with the decedent. Any one of the following points can be called into question:

Choosing the best guardian for your children

One of the most important things that you have to decide as part of your estate planning, particularly if you are a single parent, is who will care for your children if you pass away. The person you choose will need to have the guardianship designation. This is a legal document that gives them the power to do anything that you would normally do for the children, including making decisions about education and health care.

It is imperative that you choose a person who will be able to handle the duties of raising your children. Typically, younger children will require people who have more energy to care for them, so be sure to consider this when you are deciding on a guardian. You also need someone who is going to respect your wishes regarding your children's upbringing.

2 categories of debts that you might encounter in probate process

One of the main duties of an estate administrator is paying the debts of the estate. This is done with money in the estate since the bills shouldn't be passed down unless they are on something that is held jointly with someone else. There are a few things to know before you attempt to handle these debts after your loved one's death.

First, you need to make a complete list of the debts that must be addressed. These include things like property, federal, state and local taxes. It also includes loans of all sorts, including mortgages. Condominium fees, lines of credit, storage fees, utility bills, credit card bills and any other debt must be listed.

Powers of attorney are crucial estate plan components

Thinking about the end of your life on Earth isn't a pleasant thought for most people. One thing that you need to do is ensure that you have things set so that you can be cared for if you aren't able to make decisions on your own. You can handle this situation now by putting powers of attorney designations into your estate plan. We know that it can be challenging to make this type of decision.

You need to set a plan for two areas of your life. One of these is for your finances. This person is going to make all decisions about your money and assets. This can include selling your home, buying a new property, paying your bills and taking care of all other money matters.

Service members should have an estate plan in place

People who are serving this country in the military can face some dangerous situations. Considering only the nature of the job, you can certainly understand that there is a chance that the person might eventually die in the line of duty. It is imperative that anyone who is serving has an estate plan in place so they know things are taken care if something happens to them. This is especially important if they have children.

Military members need to have the same basic estate planning document as other adults. This includes a will and trusts, as well as having a living will and powers of attorney designations. Adults with children who don't have a non-military spouse also need to have a family care plan in place.

Probate litigation matters can rip families apart

Probate litigation is a serious matter that can rip families apart. The issue is that everyone sees the litigious matter as something personal. This can make it difficult for them to think logically about it, which just makes things more difficult to resolve. We understand that you want to ensure that your loved one's wishes are followed, and we are here to help you work toward that goal.

You might think that probate litigation can only occur after a person passes away, but it is possible for it to occur beforehand. Matters that have to do with the advanced directives or powers of attorney designations might have to be handled when the person is unable to speak up for themselves.

Small business owners need to have an estate plan

Many people focus on their personal assets when they are creating an estate plan. They don't realize that people who have family businesses, including farmers, should have a comprehensive estate plan that sets out what will happen to the business.

One thing that no business owner should ever do is to overlook the importance of the estate plan. If you don't have one in place, the state's laws will dictate who gets what. This might not be anything close to what you want to happen. In fact, it could mean that your family loses the business completely.

Mistakes in estate administration can be costly

The death of a loved one is likely going to have a at 5 impact on your emotions, but you can't forget that there are certain things that have to be done after the death. One of these is dealing with the estate of the person. In the estate plan, there should be an administrator named. This person is responsible for handling a lot of the duties related to closing out the estate. We realize that you probably need time to process your loss, but there are many things that you need to get taken care of for the estate.

The duties of the administrator vary greatly, but they include finding heirs and assets, preparing the final tax return, paying creditors and other similar tasks. These are very necessary, but it is understandable that it might be a lot to handle right now when you are already dealing with your loved one's death.

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


Rice & Quattrone, PC
1236 Brace Road, Suite F

Phone: 856-673-0048
Fax: 856-673-0052
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Rice & Quattrone, PC
Linwood Professional Plaza
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Linwood, NJ 08221

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