One of the reasons why many people forgo creating an estate plan is because they buy into the misconception that estate plans are only for the wealthy. The reality is that anyone in New Jersey, regardless of wealth, should have at least a simple plan in place.
Your estate plan should match your needs. You may not need a bunch of documents, but you should have something in place to plan for what happens after your death. Having a plan allows you to watch out for your loved ones when you are no longer here to do so yourself, and that is an important thing even if you do not have extensive assets.
When you start to consider putting together your estate plan, it helps to know what the basic elements are and how they relate to your needs. Many plans begin with a will that states your general wishes. This is a simple document that allows you to state what you want to happen with your assets and other property, along with taking care of any minor children you have.
While a will is a good start and may cover the needs of some people, you may also want to add some tools that will help if you were to become unable to make your own decisions while still alive. These tools include a power of attorney that grants someone else the ability to make decisions for you. It can cover financial, medical and general decisions depending on what you want. Another important tool is a medical care directive. You may hear this called a living will. It explains what you want to happen when incapacitated.
As you can see, an estate plan does not require a bunch of documents or complex legal plans. With a few key documents, you can create a plan that works for your situation.