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Ocean County Estate Planning Law Blog

Reasons why it's important to have an estate plan

Estate planning is one of the most important legal actions you can take in life. Despite the importance millions of people fail to plan their estate before it's too late. That's why so many people pass away without a will, leaving their assets to be divided by the courts. Today, we will discuss the reasons why it is important to have an estate plan in place in Jackson, New Jersey.

One of the biggest benefits of estate planning is that it helps to protect your young children. Parents of young children must plan for the unthinkable. No one plans to die young but it happens for various reasons. Planning ahead of time ensures that your children are cared for by the right people, have money to pay for education and ensures that the courts stay out of this issue.

Careful planning needed with children on SSI

If you are a parent of an adult child who relies on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you probably worry about their future. They may have a disability which has made life difficult, and it's only natural to be concerned about their care and their life after you are gone.

One tragic mistake commonly made in estate planning is leaving an adult child who relies on SSI proceeds from your estate in order to benefit them when you are gone. It can easily knock them over the asset limits and reduce or eliminate their monthly benefits. Careful planning is essential to make sure that this does not happen and they continue to receive the stipend they are entitled to.

Steps necessary for funding a real estate trust

When you create a trust to protect your real estate holdings, it is important to carefully consider all the steps necessary to properly fund it. If you do not fully fund the trust, you not only waste the resources you invested to create it in the first place, you also may miss out on the important legal protections trusts provide.

First, you must create a new deed that removes the property from your personal ownership and places it in the ownership of your trustee. Before you record this new deed, it is important to get the permission of several parties who may take issue with the transfer.

Too many Americans missing important estate documents

When people hear the word estate, they tend to think of the wealthiest people in the country. When you combine that word with planning, many younger people think that estate planning is simply something for the wealthiest to do in an effort to avoid taxes upon death. This cannot be further from the truth. Estate planning is a group of legal documents that get your affairs in order prior to your death.

Sadly, more than half of the American population does not have important estate documents signed and at the ready. This can lead to some serious problems should the person become incapacitated or even die prior to planning his or her estate.

Why designate a durable power of attorney?

An effective estate plan is made of several pieces, all essential to completing the puzzle. Most people know they must create a will to administer their assets. However, not everyone knows the other important steps, including designating a durable power of attorney.

Granting someone as your durable power of attorney gives them the power to make important decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. While no one wants to consider being unable to voice their own decisions, accidents and illnesses can happen at any time. Assigning a loved one as your power of attorney will allow them to make health care and end-of-life choices on your behalf.

How is a home willed to an adult child?

Owning a home in New Jersey brings with it a lot of responsibility. From maintaining the home to ensuring no one gets injured while on your property, home ownership takes quite a bit of effort. Many New Jersey residents retire out of the state after spending their entire lives here. When they do so they might want to turn the ownership of the home over to their adult children. So, how is a home willed to an adult child?

One of the most common ways a person can will one's home to an adult child is through the use of a gift deed. A gift deed transfers ownership of the property from one person to the other as a gift. When using a gift deed there is no exchange of money in the transaction, just the updating of the deed. The transaction requires two witnesses not connected to it to sign the document.

The 5 main reasons you need a will

Wills aren't just for millionaires and those with huge estates to distribute. It's wise for anyone to have a will, regardless of assets.

Wondering if you really need one? Below are five key reasons. With a will:

  1. You make plans for the kids. Even if you don't have assets, if you have a family, you want to pick someone to care for your children after you're gone. Making a simple will gives you one more way to provide for your children and work for their best interests.
  2. You guarantee that your distribution wishes are followed. Some people just assume that their heirs will make all the "right" decisions, but why take that risk?
  3. You pick someone to handle your estate. There are a lot of loose ends to tie up, from dealing with the home to credit card bills to distributing the proceeds of a life insurance policy. You want to pick the right person for the job.
  4. You can cut people out. Perhaps you had a falling out with someone who would otherwise have inherited portions of your estate. A will is a tool to officially disinherit that person and keep your assets from him or her.
  5. You plan for an unpredictable future. Many people don't make a will because they say they'll just do it later. They hope to live to 80 or 90, so why have a will at 35? Unfortunately, living to 80 isn't a guarantee. Even those in perfect health could be victims in a car accident or something of this nature.

What you should not include in your will

Having a will is one of the most important things in life, no matter your age, marital situation or if you have children. All adults beginning at the age of 18 should have some form of will. If you want to wait, it's best that you wait no longer than graduating from college. Today, we will discuss what not to include in your will when you sit down to create it with a family law attorney.

You should never include joint tenancy property when creating a will. When you have joint tenancy already in place, it will leave your property to the joint tenant upon your death. For this reason, you do not need to include a provision such as this in your will.

How millennials view the issues related to long-term care

Estate planning is usually not top of mind for the millennial generation, because serious, end-of-life issues seem such a long way off.

However, there is one area of planning that concerns them, and it has to do with healthcare needs later in life.

Factors to consider when choosing your power of attorney

An estate plan gives individuals the ability to designate the allocation of their property and person should they pass away or become incapacitated. Whether an individual has a few assets or a large estate, a plan may be beneficial and avoid confusion for the family during a difficult time.

If you are creating an estate plan or revising a current one, having a power of attorney in place may be helpful. Before you make your decision, there are a few factors to consider:

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