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Ocean County Estate Planning Blog

Adoption and your estate plan

Ending a marriage is one reason why many people choose to revise their estate plans, but there are other circumstances in which someone may find that it is necessary to make changes to their estate plan. For example, someone may adopt their spouse’s child after entering a new marriage, or they may adopt a child because they are unable to have kids with someone they have been married to for years. Either way, adoption can necessitate estate plan revision and it is pivotal to cover every base in this regard.

First, every adoption is different, and some children have unique needs. For example, if the child you adopt has special needs you should pay special attention to this fact and you may want to set up a special needs trust. If you want to ensure that your adopted child (or children) do not receive any assets until they turn 18, it may be important to include this in your estate plan. Moreover, appointing a guardian may be essential if your adopted child is a minor.

New Year's resolutions and estate planning

With the new year around the corner, many people have resolutions to eat healthier or change their lives in other positive ways. Often, these resolutions fail and people find themselves falling back into their bad habits. However, setting up an estate plan or going over an estate plan that needs revision is an excellent resolution and one that many people can easily keep. This resolution may not only be beneficial for you and your estate, but it could be very helpful for your loved ones as well.

Whether you are creating a will or a trust for the first time or you are taking a second look at your estate plan, it is pivotal to carefully analyze your options. For example, certain types of estate plans work out better for some people and it is vital to cover every base if you are revising your estate plan for any reason. The holiday season can be stressful for many reasons, from family drama to racking up credit card debt and bad weather. However, handling your estate plan appropriately is one way to relieve stress and give yourself some peace of mind during this time of year.

Power of attorney and the importance of planning ahead

We have covered numerous issues on this blog, such as people who set up a power of attorney for one of their loved ones who is no longer able to take care of themselves. However, you may be in need of a power of attorney one day after becoming incapacitated for some unexpected reason. It is always important to plan ahead and have power of attorney plans in place even if they are never needed. In Ocean County, and all over the state of New Jersey, there are many different reasons why people set up a power of attorney and this may be the right move for you as well.

Setting up a power of attorney designation can be beneficial simply because it offers some peace of mind knowing that critical matters (such as those related to your health decisions or finances) will be handled properly in the event that you become incapacitated. In the event that you do one day need to have an agent manage your affairs via power of attorney, you may be very glad that you designated the right person while you were in good health and fully capable of making the best decisions.

What does intestate succession mean in New Jersey?

The legal jargon concerning estate planning can often be confusing. If you have heard of intestate succession, you may wonder what it is. This term refers to what happens to your parents' property if they die without a will.

New Jersey has laws regarding the proper administration of such an estate. While it is best to navigate such a complex situation with professional help, it is still important to understand what these general laws are to have an idea of what you will face.

The importance of estate plans for blended families

Plenty of people in New Jersey get married after previously getting divorced or having experienced the death of a spouse. While a new marriage and future can and should be something to celebrate, these situations do often raise unique issues that should be addressed by both parties up front. These issues pertain to plans for each partner's assets and debts after they die.

It is important to remember that marriage is as much a business and financial union as it is an emotional one. As explained by Fidelity Investments, a person might have a financial obligation to a former spouse or to their children that should be factored into any plans going forward. When children are still minors, the identification of who should care for them in the event of a parental death is also something to be addressed.

Lottery winners and estate plans

Recently, an incredible amount of attention has focused on a massive lottery jackpot that was distributed to two lucky winners. Winning the lottery is a life-changing experience and it can be overwhelming. If you have recently won the lottery or acquired a massive amount of unexpected wealth due to some other type of gambling, it is extremely important to handle your finances properly and prepare for the future. For example, you may want to set up an estate plan to ensure that your assets will be protected. Unfortunately, some people disregard these considerations, which can be a costly mistake.

For starters, you should have a clear understanding of the different types of estate plans that are available. For some people, a trust makes more sense (and you should review the differences between a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust, for example), while others opt for a will. Creating an estate plan can offer peace of mind, which may be especially helpful during such a hectic time. Many lottery winners feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do with all of their newfound wealth and an estate plan can help address some of this uncertainty.

Does my adult parent need a guardianship?

It can be tough watching an adult parent grow older, especially when issues arise regarding self-care and financial responsibility. If your parent no longer appears to be capable of these tasks, you might want to consider guardianship. Forbes offers the following information on when guardianship makes sense, which will help you make the best decision for your parent.

Does your parent need a nursing home?

Beneficiaries, addiction and trusts

People create estate plans for a number of reasons and often want to make sure that their loved ones receive a portion of their estate after they pass. Unfortunately, there are times when this may be difficult or impossible altogether, such as someone who wants to pass down assets to a loved one, but they are addicted to drugs or gambling, for example. If you have a beneficiary who is an addict, there are a number of considerations that you should be aware of. You may want to set up a trust and take steps to ensure that your assets will not be used to acquire drugs or wasted at the casino.

Sadly, many people are struggling with addiction due to the opioid crisis and there are all sorts of other substances that people find themselves addicted to. Sometimes, this results in estrangement and other family challenges and some parents may cut their child or grandchild out of the will altogether as a result of addiction. However, you may still love your child even though they are having a hard time with an addiction and there is also the possibility that one day they will become clean, in which case you may wish that you had given them a portion of your estate.

Basic estate planning documents

Younger people often think that things like creating a will or setting up a trust are solely for the wealthy or elderly. It is true that estate planning becomes more critical later in life, and that wealthy individuals often make use of estate planning resources, but the reality is that there are elements of estate planning that everyone should familiarize themselves with.

There are a few basic documents everyone should have created. They are often inexpensive, are relatively simple to understand and will snuff out potential questions should you suddenly pass away or become incapacitated.

Reviewing some of the benefits of a power of attorney

There are many different reasons why people need to have someone else care for their affairs. For example, someone may become incapacitated unexpectedly and no longer have the ability to take care of their finances or a small business they run. By designating a power of attorney, people are able to hand over this authority to an agent who is capable of managing their affairs. There are many different advantages when it comes to naming a power of attorney and in this post, we will review some of them.

A power of attorney designation is generally set up to allow one person to handle another's financial affairs, making key transactions and decisions for someone who has become incapacitated. For example, this power may involve a person's investments, real estate, retirement accounts or insurance coverage, among other financial matters. Moreover, these powers can be especially helpful for business owners who become incapacitated and can no longer manage their business affairs. Furthermore, a power of attorney could allow an agent to file a lawsuit for someone who is not capable of taking legal action on their own due to their incapacitation.

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