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Ocean County Estate Planning Blog

Deciding between a will or a trust

Many different challenges related to estate planning can arise, such as finding someone to take on the responsibilities of being an executor to replacing an executor in the wake of a divorce. Some people are better-suited for a trust, while it makes more sense for others to move forward with a will. There are many differences between the two and each has their own set of advantages. Even though this can be a difficult decision for people who are facing certain circumstances, it is excellent that people understand the importance of carefully going over all estate options before settling on a particular plan. After all, there are a number of options when it comes to estate plans.

Aside from deciding whether or not a will or trust is appropriate, some people have difficulty making up their mind with respect to selecting the right type of trust or will. For example, some people set up a special needs trust because it makes the most sense for a loved one, while others opt for a charitable trust or a revocable trust. These are just a few of the options out there and it is critical for you to closely examine your personal circumstances if you are having difficulty deciding which type of estate plan will suit your needs the best.

Talking to your spouse about your will

Many different challenges can arise with respect to estate planning and the execution of an estate plan, some of which involve may court or difficulty due to so many options (comparing trusts, for example). However, even if you have decided which type of estate plan will work out best for you, you could face a variety of difficulties. For example, if you have decided to set up a will, you may have questions related to the way in which you want your assets split up among beneficiaries, or who to name as the executor of your will.

These can be tough decisions to make and they often involve a person's loved ones, such as their spouse, children, and other relatives. You may want to talk with your spouse about your will and this could be helpful in a number of ways, from clearing up uncertainty or confusion to providing a better sense of what will happen in the future. If you are thinking about naming your spouse as the executor, it might be a good idea to discuss some of the responsibilities they will have to take on as the executor and make sure that they are up for the task. Or, you might want to go over your beneficiaries with your spouse and discuss how your property will be split up.

Sibling rivalries and estate planning

Estate planning can be challenging for a multitude of reasons, whether you are unsure of who to name as the executor of your estate or you cannot decide which type of trust will best suit your individual needs. However, there are other complications that may arise within a family, such as sibling rivalries over estate matters. There are many different causes of bitterness and disagreement between siblings when it comes to trusts and wills, whether they do not agree with the way in which property was distributed or responsibilities were assigned. For example, multiple siblings may want to serve as the executor of an estate.

When you are setting up your estate plan, you should try to be mindful of a potential rivalry between your children or grandchildren, if you are concerned that such an issue will arise. Sometimes, these disputes simply cannot be avoided, but there may be ways to minimize the extent of a rivalry, such as talking with your beneficiaries and explaining your decisions. Some disagreements may arise simply because of confusion. However, it is not always necessary to talk about these issues with loved ones and may not always help, so it is important to keep in mind that every family and situation is unique.

Going over some perks of special needs trusts

If you are considering setting up an estate plan, you may feel overwhelmed by the different options you have. For example, you could be unsure whether a will is ideal, or a trust would be more appropriate given your unique circumstances. Even if you have decided to move forward with a trust, there are various types of trusts, so it is essential to find one that is right for you and those you love. Depending on the details of your loved ones' lives, a special needs trust may be best. Before moving forward, it's important to go over some of the basic benefits of this option.

If your loved one has a disability, a special needs trust could be a great way to ensure that they will be able to receive assets from your estate in the most suitable way possible. For example, special needs trusts allow beneficiaries with disabilities to receive property from the trust without interfering with their ability for certain types of need-based assistance from the government. Estate plans should not be seen as a burden for those who lose a family member and a special needs trust could help ensure that your disabled loved one is taken care of.

Revisiting your estate plan after a custody dispute

For a parent, legal issues involving the custody of a child can be especially tough and may make a recent divorce even more difficult to work through. Furthermore, there are other ways in which these matters can change a parent’s life. For example, you may need to revisit your trust or will following a recent custody dispute. As with all legal issues involving your finances and children, it is paramount to make sure that the correct approach is taken.

A child custody dispute can bring multiple changes to your life and your estate plan. For example, it may impact the way in which you choose to distribute your property among those you love once you pass away, including your children and their other parent. Moreover, a custody decision can transform your life in many ways and from a financial perspective as well. As a result, you may find that your assets have changed, whether you have acquired new property, decided to sell your home, have experienced significant changes with respect to your financial accounts, or have been impacted in other ways.

Life changes and estate changes

Everyone goes through changes in their life. Your family grows, your business succeeds, you buy a new house. The last thing you might be thinking about through all of these events in your life is what will happen if you were to pass on suddenly. But it is important.

The main purpose of estate planning is to make sure that your loved ones are taken care of and do not have a mess to take care of. You can help them out tremendously with just a few simple steps that make sure that when they are grieving they don’t have additional worries. That’s why there are some key times in your life when an update to your estate is necessary.

When is guardianship appropriate?

Residents of New Jersey who are faced with a situation in which calls for making legal or medical decisions for a minor or incapacitated adult may want to consider establishing guardianship. Although not appropriate for all circumstances, a guardianship can provide certain protections for both the guardian and the person needing guarding.

According to FindLaw, guardianship of a minor is recommended when the caretaker is providing for all the child's needs and the situation is going to continue for longer than a few months. This is beneficial for the child because the caretaker is able to make more decisions, such as medical care, school enrollment and benefits, based on the best interests of the child. The caretaker also has some protection in the event the parents, who are deemed unfit, want to get custody back.

Revoking a living trust after divorce

With the end of your marriage, life could change in an assortment of ways. The financial consequences of divorce may need to be considered before filing a petition, from property division to child support. Divorce can also, of course, result in significant changes within a person’s family life, such as child custody matters. However, it is important to look at some of the other ways that bringing your marriage to an end can affect your life. For example, if you have a living trust that you set up with your ex-spouse, you may need to revoke the estate plan and set up a new trust.

If you are able to communicate with your spouse before, during, or after the divorce process, this can be very helpful. Unfortunately, healthy communication is not always an option, either. Moreover, you may have an especially hard time if you and your spouse set up an irrevocable trust which contains your marital home. Regardless, it is essential to carefully look over all of your options and pinpoint the smartest plan of action.

Revising your estate plan due to divorce

There are many different reasons why people may decide to take a second look at their estate plans, from problems within their family to significant changes in their loved ones' lives. However, divorce is a common reason why revising a will or trust becomes necessary. Many people who end their marriage feel overwhelmed with the changes in life, but it is essential to cover every base and make sure that your estate plan is updated to reflect your wishes. After all, it is critical to make sure that your assets are distributed to your loved ones properly.

There are a number of different issues that you may have to go over when it comes to revising your estate plan after a divorce. For example, if your spouse was the executor, you may need to name a new executor, which can be challenging. It is important to find the right person who is fully capable of handling these important responsibilities. Moreover, you may want to make changes to your will or trust with regard to beneficiaries. For example, you may want to remove some of your beneficiaries or change the way in which assets are split up.

Undue influence and other reasons for estate disputes

When many people set up an estate plan, they are relieved to know that their loved ones will receive property according to their wishes. Not only can this make it easier for families to work through the loss of someone they love, but it can be beneficial from a financial point of view also. However, there are times when things go wrong, such as when a dispute arises over undue influence. These disagreements can be costly and may also cause a great deal of emotional stress within a family, which highlights how crucial it is to prevent them in the first place or handle them with care in the event a disagreement does arise.

Sometimes, a beneficiary or someone in the family may feel that a loved one was coerced into making changes to their estate plan. However, this is not the only reason for an estate dispute. For example, a beneficiary may believe that the executor has breached his or her fiduciary duties, which can occur in many ways. A beneficiary may accuse the executor of failing to distribute an estate's assets properly, which can lead to fighting within a family. In some instances, these allegations are true, but some executors have also been falsely accused of such wrongdoing.

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