An incomplete estate plan can cause a person's assets to be tied up in the New Jersey probate process for years. Additionally, end-of-life decisions about finances, life support, and other emotional issues could be left in the hands of a judge if clear directions have not been legally recorded. To ensure that one's final needs and wishes are handled correctly, it is important to pay attention to numerous elements of an estate plan.
Tangible assets are typically included in a will, which is an important component of an estate plan. However, wills can also include one's electronic assets and accounts, including blogs, digital media collections, and social media pages. Ethical wills are created to communicate important information, thoughts or sentiments to family members and other loved ones. A living trust is important for assuring that personal assets can be managed for someone who becomes unable to do so. Further, living trusts often help heirs with the distribution of assets outside of the probate process after a loved one dies.
Coordinating with a trusted individual to handle financial and health care decisions if one becomes incapacitated can be facilitated with a durable power of attorney and living will. The power of attorney may make it possible for the designated party to sign checks, sell property or transfer assets as needed, but legal execution of the document is crucial for ensuring that all desired actions are allowable. A power of attorney can also be important as an individual faces surgeries or other medical situations that could create difficulties in making one's own decisions. Living wills have also become important for ensuring that one's end-of-life desires are clearly communicated.
In ensuring that an estate plan is comprehensive enough to minimize difficulties for survivors, an individual may want to work with an experienced lawyer. This is important for ensuring that all pertinent documents and facts are held in an organized and accessible manner until they are needed.