While many people in New Jersey have probably heard that it’s important to complete estate planning, too many people put it off until it’s too late, passing away without a will or trust in place to distribute their assets. Still others fail to ever update their estate plans, despite life circumstances that have changed, while others do not communicate with their families about estate planning documents they do have.
People need to communicate with their loved ones and let them know about where their wills are located. They may also want to explain what their wishes are, and, if they plan to leave one child a larger share, their reasons for doing so. People who have other children out of wedlock should explain this to their advisers if they want to make provisions for those children as well. The adviser will need instructions on how to divulge the information to the rest of the family if they are unaware the other children exist.
Every time a major life change happens, such as a divorce and remarriage, a will needs to be updated to reflect it. In some cases, it’s a good idea to establish a trust in order to prevent future litigation in the case of blended families. If the parent has a caregiver taking care of them towards the end of their life, children may want to look out for the caregiver’s exercising undue influence over the parent to convince them to change estate documents.
There are many different types of estate planning documents, and an attorney may be able to help prepare the best ones to fit a client’s particular needs. After the documents have been completed, people may want to revisit them regularly to make certain that they are modified and updated to reflect life changes as well as changes in estate tax laws.