The vast majority of the time, when people have taken the time to develop a sound estate plan under the guidance of a lawyer, there won't be a problem when the time comes for probate. In fact, it's estimated that fully 99 percent of wills in the U.S. pass through probate with no problems.
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.
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.
Every day in New Jersey and across the country, people are involved in serious accidents or contract serious illnesses. Some of those people are unable to make healthcare decisions for themselves during these times -- at least temporarily. This is when family members can turn to the incapacitated individual's estate plan for his or her living will in order to ensure that family members and physicians are aware of that person's wishes. Without a living will, family members are often left to make decisions that person may not have wanted. Further, they may have to go to court in order to be granted the right to make decisions on that person's behalf, and that could waste valuable time during which decisions need to be made.
To young New Jersey parents with minor children, the possibility of death may seem so far away that it does not even bear consideration. However, anyone who picks up a newspaper, reads news online or watches television knows that people lose their lives in accidents every day. Not doing at least the basic estate planning could be disastrous for the family and children left behind.
Many in New Jersey tend to be overwhelmed before they even begin the estate planning process. For this reason, the idea of sitting down to create an estate plan may seem slightly less terrifying than going to the dentist. In reality, the process can be broken down into simple steps that can make it more manageable and less of a mystery.
Many people think that just because their estate is small and won't be subject to estate tax that they don't need an estate plan. That simply isn't the case. Every New Jersey resident can benefit from doing some estate planning.
It used to be a common practice for parents to leave an inheritance for their children, and many parents in the past took great care to do so. However, a recent study shows that inheritance practices in New Jersey and elsewhere are changing. As parents are living longer, they are depleting more of their savings and retirement funds, leaving few to no assets for their children.
Even with the best of intentions, New Jersey residents can sometimes make estate planning mistakes that may later hurt their families. Celebrities also make these same kinds of mistakes, but with much more dire consequences because of the amount of wealth that they hold often. These estate planning errors could serve as a cautionary tale for others who may be in the beginning stages of estate planning.