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Ocean County Estate Planning Law Blog

5 tips for getting your estate plan under way

Like many people, you may be procrastinating about sitting down with an attorney to map out your estate plan. It may seem to you a huge undertaking.

Putting an estate plan together is really about collecting your thoughts and getting organized. Here are five tips to help you move in the right direction.

Find a power of attorney that works for your parents

Your parents may have achieved senior citizen status, and the subject of powers of attorney has come up. These agreements can take many forms; understanding how they work in certain situations will be helpful when you begin to talk with your parents about their future care.

Your parents can assign powers of attorney as part of their will. They may choose you or someone else, but the person they select as their agent should be someone they feel will act in their best interests.

You can name a guardian for your child in your will

You may not have a lot of money or many assets, but drawing up a will is important. If you have a minor child, a will can and should address the matter of guardianship.

If you do not designate a guardian and you pass away, the court will appoint one for your child, and it may be someone you never would have chosen.

How Surrogate Court handles probate

You may believe that probate is a complicated, onerous, difficult process for an executor to manage and, in general, a procedure to avoid. While issues can arise, settling an uncontested estate is usually a fairly straightforward task.

If, after you pass away, your estate is not contested, an attorney will assist in the administration of probate by taking your last will and testament to the Surrogate Court.

Why is estate planning important for millennials?

Someone brought up the subject of wills recently, and asked if you had one. You said no. Your friend chattered on about trusts, powers of attorney and medical directives, but you lost interest in the discussion.

After all, you are not yet thirty, your focus is on your career and, at this point, you have not even found the person you want to marry. In your opinion, estate planning is not something you need to think about until you are middle aged. However, age does not matter. What matters is assets and what happens to them after you leave this world.

What happens if you do not leave a will?

Making a will often falls into the category of tasks many people put off indefinitely. After all, you have so many things to take care of right now, and focusing on what happens after your passing can feel somewhat morbid. However, no matter your age, drawing up a will should be on your list of priorities.

New Jersey's intestacy laws provide rules for distibuting proeprty in the absence of a will. Before distribution, the state deducts taxes, debts and exemptions from the estate. Any property you owned jointly with your spouse automatically goes to the spouse. Property such as an insurance policy, which comes with a designated beneficiary, goes to that beneficiary. If you leave a spouse but no parents or descendants, everything else goes to the spouse.

How to survive a bidding war to buy your dream home

So you have finally found the home you want to buy, but it appears everyone else in town has the same idea. When the demand is high and the supply low in the real estate market, you have to use some ingenuity to emerge as the winner in a bidding war. You are also going to need some experts on your side, including a knowledgeable real estate agent and an attorney experienced in dealing with the various legal issues that arise in a real estate transaction.

Just Because You're Single, Doesn't Mean That You Don't Need a Will

Preparing a will is wise for anyone, not just married couples.  It is not just for yourself, but for your loved ones.  At best, a will spares them from trying to decide what you would have wanted.  At worst, the agony of a legal battle over how to distribute your estate.

Should you disinherit your children?

While most parents opt to leave their estate split equally between their children, others disinherit one or more children for several reasons. They may be concerned about a special needs child receiving government benefits, feel one child is more financially independent than another or not want to leave money to a drug-addicted or troubled child who will spend it irresponsibly. Parents also disinherit because a child is estranged, and some even use it as a way to get the last word and get even after an argument. Parents need reminders that disinheritance is permanent and can cause terrible feelings that last between living children even after you are gone, so there are a few things you should consider before you make this decision.

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