Many New Jersey residents use trusts as part of their estate planning. The family home is usually the largest asset many people own, and is often the first item to go into the trust. This and other assets need to be properly placed into the trust in order to be sure that an individual's estate plan is carried out in accordance with his or her wishes.
Married couples are not the only people who need to plan for who will receive their assets after death or make decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated. Regardless of whether a New Jersey resident is single because he or she has never been married or is divorced, an estate plan is just as important for him or her as it is for a married couple. In some ways, it becomes even more important since, without proper planning, state law and/or the courts will make decisions on one's behalf.
A loved one's death may be the end of his or her life, but it is only the beginning of tasks that need to be completed by family members left behind. You may feel as though you spent all of your energy planning and attending the funeral and burial. However, once these initial tasks are completed, you may be responsible for dealing with your loved one's financial affairs and the distribution of his or her property through a process called estate administration.
You don't have to be part of the New Jersey rich and famous to need an estate plan. In fact, just about anyone in the general population can use an estate plan to help divide assets among beneficiaries when the time comes. The key, though, is to start talking about the process as early as possible.
Wills, trusts and powers of attorney are the tools that most New Jersey residents think about when it comes to estate planning. However, other tools are available that an individual can use to create an estate plan that meets his or her goals. One of them is a Roth IRA, but the decision to convert to it requires considering several factors.
Trusts often bring up images of wealthy people who are limiting their tax exposure and/or providing for their children. However, regardless of a New Jersey resident's net worth, trusts can be an invaluable estate planning tool for many reasons. Depending on individual estate planning goals, there is most likely a trust to help achieve them.
Many New Jersey residents may not believe that a trust is for them. This may be because there are certain myths surrounding the use of this estate planning tool. These myths are that only the rich need a trust, they are too complicated and a living person does not need a trust.
As New Jersey residents age, their memories and decision-making processes may decline. Without advanced estate planning, it is possible that the hard work an elderly individual did in order to enjoy his or her retirement could go to waste. An incapacitating illness can sneak up on a person.
Many New Jersey residents consult someone knowledgeable in estate planning to draft even a basic estate plan consisting of a will, powers of attorney for health and finances and trusts. However, fewer people consult anyone when they fill out beneficiary designations for accounts such as insurance policies, bank accounts or retirement accounts. These forms are just as important -- and in some cases even more important -- in estate planning as any other document.
Most New Jersey television and film fans heard about the recent death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Not only was his death a cautionary tale for the entertainment industry but also for the estate planning industry. The way Hoffman's estate plan was done back in 2004 highlights some common mistakes.