Even though thinking about dying is not pleasant, many New Jersey residents take the time to put together an estate plan. However, this estate planning is not only for an individual, but for his or her family as well. It can give family members the peace of mind that they will not have to determine what to do with a loved one's assets.
Many New Jersey residents are aware that avoiding estate and inheritance taxes is one of the reasons that people create an estate plan. However, there are other -- and some would say more important -- considerations in estate planning. What an individual believes his or her family members will do with their inheritance could shape the decisions made.
Many New Jersey residents have retirement plans, annuities and life insurance policies. These accounts do not pass through probate but instead go directly to beneficiaries through forms filed with the company for each account. How these forms are filled out can have an impact on an individual's estate.
Many New Jersey residents know that their family members may end up arguing about their inheritance. Even if each inheritance is equal in value, those who are receiving them may not think so. One way to limit -- or eliminate -- those rivalries, is by being open about estate planning.
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.
Many New Jersey residents, especially young people, tend to believe they do not need to plan for their death. However, no one knows how long he or she has on this Earth. Further, an estate plan is not just about death, it is about documenting an individual's wishes if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to make decisions.
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.
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.
Most New Jersey residents want to provide for their loved ones when they pass away. However, many people make certain assumptions when it comes to estate planning that can ultimately deny a family the inheritance an individual intended to leave behind. Two of these mishaps are failing to plan at all and not changing beneficiary designations on certain accounts and insurance policies.
For some New Jersey residents, choosing the people to represent them in the case of incapacity or death is more difficult that making other estate planning decisions. These people could literally be making life and death decisions on an individual's behalf. When creating an estate plan, time should be taken to carefully consider these choices.