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Items not to neglect in New Jersey estate planning

The law surrounding estates is ever changing. With the less volatile estate taxes that have been around since the start of 2000, many individuals have not been worried about how these taxes will affect their distributions to their beneficiaries upon their death. However, new tax laws are set to go into effect in 2013, which could have significant implications on New Jersey residents and how they go about creating their estate planning documents.

It has been released that all estates with a value of $1 million or more will be subject to estate taxes in 2013. The highest tax rate on these estates is expected to be 55 percent, which will be dependent on the estate's assessed value. With real estate being accounted for in an estate's value, these taxes may cast a much wider net than what many originally thought. As a result, it may be time for many individuals to perform some tasks to ensure that their estate documents are properly created in an effort to plan for this ever changing legal landscape.

One of the most crucial items in estate planning is the designation of intended beneficiaries. As personal circumstances change, the intent of an estate may also change. With this in mind, it is important that these estate documents are regularly revisited so, in the event of death, all the grantor's interests are carried out properly.

Appointing a guardian for minor children and the creation of a power of attorney are also important. By identifying these individuals in their estate planning documents, New Jersey residents are taking proactive steps to ensure they and their families' best interests are protected. In order to understand all of the important tasks that may need to be reviewed, an individual may benefit from seeking advice on how to ensure their estate is able to best benefit their loved ones each time it is released that the laws in New Jersey are about to change.

Source: Morningstar.com, "5 Estate-Planning Tasks That You Shouldn't Put Off," Christine Benz, Aug. 20, 2012

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