People in New Jersey should create an estate planning checklist to ensure that they have everything they need in their estate plan. While estate planning provides individuals the opportunity to get ready for the unavoidable, it also allows them to dictate what should happen to their financial assets after they die. If their estate plan is not structured as it should be, surviving loved ones may encounter difficulties with the estate.
A will is an important component of an estate plan. Individuals are able to designate certain persons or organizations to receive their assets. Executors, or someone who will have the legal responsibility for handling the taxes and debts for the estate and the distribution of assets, should also be designated. However, the will is far from the only document needed for an estate plan.
Provisions should be in place for that specify how what type of medical treatments individuals should receive if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. An advanced health care directive, also called a health care power of attorney, can be used. This document can also specify if someone wants to be an organ donor or placed on life support.
A living trust is another legal device to include on one's estate planning checklist. Individuals can place their assets in the trust, use them during their lifetime and have the remaining assets transferred to beneficiaries. Because the assets are in a trust, they will not have to undergo the probate process.
An attorney who practices probate and administration law may advise clients of the proper legal documents to include in their estate plan. The attorney may consider the assets own by the client and their financial goals and suggest certain types of will or trusts. They might include living wills or irrevocable trusts.