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What to Consider While Estate Planning in New Jersey

June 02, 2017 |

The topic of estate planning can be difficult. It embodies the toughest decisions you must make: what is done in the event of a loved one’s, or your own, demise. However, it is also one of the most important topics to address. Having a plan laid out can alleviate the stress on your loved ones in the event of your passing, and can help a family pick up the pieces after a tragedy.

If you live in New Jersey, there are some state-specific considerations to make while starting out in planning.

Writing a Will

Regardless of where you live, you will have to write a will. This document allows survivors to determine how assets will be divided. The document identifies an executor who will be responsible for handling debts and distributing assets. In New Jersey, even handwritten wills are recognized. However, they take longer, as they must be established as valid by a judge.

Probate

Every estate must go through probate, even when there is a will. This is simply a procedure to ensure all debts and taxes are taken care of before assets are divided. New Jersey provides a checklist of probate issues to make the process easier for the executor. The only way to avoid probate in New Jersey is to die without any assets.

Power of Attorney

This is a power given to a trusted individual in the case you are unable to make your own decisions. These documents can be as simple as granting them full power or can be made specific to individual tasks such as handling routine finances.

Medical Issues

Planning in advance can ensure you are best-taken care of if your health deteriorates. There is even a way to create a solely medical power of attorney so a loved one can make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. In New Jersey, you can create an instructive directive that spells out what type of care you want, or a proxy directive to appoint someone to make the decision for you.

Regardless of how detailed you want your documents, it is important to consult an attorney. At Malamut & Associates, our estate planning lawyers understand how emotionally charged these decisions can be. We educate our clients on what the laws mean and make sure they fully understand what powers they are signing to their loved ones before they sign anything.