New Jersey readers may be aware that Casey Kasem -- the voice of "Casey's Top 40," "American Top 40" and Shaggy of "Scooby Doo" -- was recently lying in a hospital bed at the center of a controversy regarding how and when he would die. In May of this year, Kasem's current wife took him from a medical facility in one state and moved him to the home of a friend in another state. Despite his estate planning efforts, his daughter continued to fight in court for her father's wishes to be respected.
Estate planning memorializes the wishes of a New Jersey resident with respect to two primary circumstances -- death and incapacitation. When it comes to preparing an estate plan for the distribution of assets after death, a will typically serves as the cornerstone of that plan. The three important components of a will are to whom property is distributed, who will distribute the property and who will become guardian of a person's minor children, if any.
An estate plan is formulated to express the wishes of the one making the plan. However, a New Jersey resident’s heirs have to live with those wishes. If an individual is not careful, one's heirs could end up resenting each other after he or she passes away.
Scientific advances in the area of conception have allowed numerous couples here in New Jersey and around the country to have a child when they could not conceive one naturally. Technology also allows men and women to freeze either their sperm or eggs for future implantation -- even after the death of one of the prospective parents. This raises the question as to whether a child conceived and born after death should receive an inheritance from his or her deceased parent.
It may not take New Jersey residents much imagination to believe that Walt Disney left behind a sizable estate. The children of Disney's deceased daughter were left an inheritance. However, one of Disney's grandchildren has yet to receive any of the money set aside for him.
Many New Jersey parents are put in an impossible situation when it comes to leaving an inheritance to more than one child. Even if the estate is divided equally, conflicts could result. In order to minimize these conflicts, it may help to begin the estate planning process early.
Many people in New Jersey want to be sure their spouses and children are taken care of when they pass away or if they become incapacitated. Estate planning is the best, easiest way to ensure that happens. How simple or complex an estate plan is depends on each individual's circumstances and the level of control and protection a person desires.
New Jersey residents often hear that it is important to keep beneficiary designations up to date on retirement accounts such as an IRA. However, not as much attention is given to making that designation in a way that helps heirs get the most out of the account. Below are two ways for an account holder to control how an heir will receive distributions from the account.
Now that the federal tax exemption is over $5 million per individual, many people believe they no longer need an estate plan. However, limiting tax liability was never the main benefit for many people. Estate planning provides for loved ones the disposition of an individual's property and a guardian for minor children. It also provides for the health and financial well-being of a New Jersey resident in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated.
Nearly everyone in New Jersey -- and nationwide -- has at least some sort of online account. This includes everything from email accounts to bank accounts, and everything in between. The fact that so many people conduct at least some of their personal or business lives online has led to the need for them to be addressed in an individual's estate plan.