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Flemington NJ Estate Planning Law Blog

Ways to help ensure a safe group motorcycle ride

There isn't much of summer left, and while the temperatures are still good, you may want to take the opportunity to go riding with a group of friends. Before you know it, school events will kick into high gear and the holidays will creep up on you as the weather gets colder.

If you do manage to schedule a ride with friends, you may want to give yourself and others a refresher on how to keep a group ride safe and fun for everyone.

Police use certain interrogation techniques in DUI stops

When you were growing up, your parents may have told you that police officers are to be trusted because they are your friend and will help you if you are in trouble or in danger. While an officer may be your friend if you are a victim, if you are a suspected perpetrator, that changes dramatically.

For instance, in a DUI stop, a police officer may use certain interrogation techniques in order to gather evidence against you to make an arrest. In fact, they receive training in how to talk to people in order to get them to provide information they may not otherwise.

The benefits of being proactive with estate planning

It's not unusual for individuals in New Jersey who are single, childless or within the 18- to 34-year-old range to fail to realize the importance of estate planning. In fact, nearly 80 percent of millennials admit to not having a will. Younger people may not want to think about unpleasant matters relating to mortality. However, not making an effort to plan in advance can have some unexpected consequences. For instance, passing away without a will means the state will make decisions about asset and property distribution.

The most common estate planning document is a will, which clearly spells out who gets what assets. An executor is named to handle the distribution of the assets referenced in a will. With a durable power of attorney, a trusted individual can be named to make financial decisions should the estate owner become incapacitated or not immediately available. An advance medical directive allows the estate owner to make end-of-life decisions ahead of time. If a health care agent isn't named and someone is in a persistent vegetative state, the default action is typically to sustain life artificially.

Protect your Assets and your Family - Set up an Estate Plan

It is not unusual for people in New Jersy to consider their mortality. However, ignoring the legal matters that will inevitably arise upon death and the subsequent transfer of the decedent's assets is a mistake that can be costly in more ways than one.

The primary issue is the choice of beneficiaries and what assets they are to receive. While most people name their spouse and children, there can be any number of reasons to desire a different distribution. Without a will or a trust in place, the estate will be distributed according to New Jersey's laws of intestate succession with no consideration of the decedent's preferences.

When should you update your estate plan?

Figuring out your estate plan was probably a large undertaking. It requires a lot of time and energy to decide how to handle your estate and other decisions that will need to be made after you are no longer around. However, your work is not quite done with your estate plan, yet.

Your estate plan needs to be updated periodically. There are changes that happen in your life every day and your estate plan needs to be an accurate reflection of your life. There are different events that will require you to review and make changes to your estate plan.

Estate planning with minor children in mind

Some New Jersey parents may think their estate planning is complete with paperwork such as powers of attorney and a will that names a guardian for their children. However, while this takes care of things in the longer term, parents may want to think about whether they should make plans for their children over the shorter period of time before the legal guardianship is in place. This may be particularly important if no family is nearby.

One couple who were concerned about this prepared a document with the assistance of an attorney. While it was placed with other estate planning papers, another copy was also put on the refrigerator so it could be easily accessed.

Key estate planning decisions can be about people

The estate planning process can be complex and include a number of documents that enable people in New Jersey to plan for incapacity or death. Developing an estate plan can help people to feel secure about the future and how their loved ones will be provided for. As part of the process, people may be asked to name a number of representatives to act on their behalf.

People may think first of the executor of a will, the person who sees that a testator's wishes are carried out after death. However, there are also a number of other representatives involved in an estate plan. For example, an agent may be named in an advance health care directive or a power of attorney to make medical or financial decisions in the case of incapacity. Many people also make use of trusts in estate planning for their increased flexibility and level of control provided. A named trustee will manage the trust's investments, distributions and financial responsibilities.

Estate planning can be useful for young people too

Young people in New Jersey often fail to consider the necessity of establishing an estate plan, or consider it and determine it's something to be taken care of later. Even if those who are young and have little in the way of assets, though, certain estate planning documents can work to ensure that possessions are distributed properly. Some planning documents can also give direction regarding financial decisions or medical care should the person become incapacitated.

The most important document for most estate plans is a will. A will gives instructions regarding how assets should be distributed. The legal process of proving the validity of a will is called probate. Once the will is proven, the court acknowledges the appointment of the executor.

Five crucial steps to take after a car accident in New Jersey

A 1-year-old New Jersey boy was killed over the weekend by an alleged drunk driver. His 5-year-old brother is fighting for his life, and his mother was seriously injured.

The accident happened in Raritan Borough around 7:00 on Saturday night. The mother and her two sons were walking to a park - and celebrating the child's first birthday. The alleged drunk driver hit a number of parked vehicles, lost control of his own vehicle and hit all three family members as they were walking down the sidewalk.

Modifying an estate plan after a divorce

Going through a divorce can be a traumatic experience both emotionally and financially for New Jersey residents. Former couples often seek to put the whole experience behind them once negotiations have been concluded and settlements signed, but failing to take care of estate planning matters before moving on could leave their assets and even their lives in jeopardy. Health care proxies often give spouses the authority to make life-or-death decisions, which is an issue that should be addressed without delay if the divorce was an acrimonious one.

Powers of attorneys should also be modified after a divorce. This is especially important if a durable power of attorney is involved as these arrangements could provide bitter ex-spouses access to assets even when the principals are not incapacitated. The beneficiaries listed on life insurance policies and retirement accounts cannot generally be changed while divorce negotiations are ongoing, but addressing this issue should be a priority once an agreement has been reached and a divorce becomes final.

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Lanza & Lanza LLP
5 Main Street
Flemington, NJ 08822

Phone: 908-905-0183
Fax: 908-782-4012
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