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Seek professional advice before making an estate plan

A professionally prepared estate plan may make it easier for family members to settle an estate after a loved one passes away. Although a person could write their own will or complete an online template for a healthcare directive or powers of attorney, having documents that are specific to an individual situation may be more effective when a New Jersey family really needs to use them. The first step is meeting with professionals who have experience helping people plan their estates.

Depending on the size and complexity of an estate, it might be helpful to use several professionals in the planning process. A financial adviser, attorney and accountant could work together to ensure that a client's estate plan meets their goals. Each of these professionals has a different focus, and all of them working together could make sure the plan covers everything that's important to the client. Once there's a clear plan, an attorney may draft the necessary documents to make it official.

Some people put off estate planning until it's too late and their family members have to settle their estate in probate. Delaying or making a plan without professional assistance could result in unintended consequences. Without a will, assets are passed to immediate family members based on the current state probate laws. People who want to give property to charity or to people who are not their child or spouse may only be able to achieve this with careful estate planning.

Working with an attorney may give people more control over their estate plan. Because most people are not familiar with all the nuances of estate planning, having an attorney may help a client explore options they didn't know they had. For example, a client might be able to avoid probate by transferring assets into a trust. This kind of guidance may help prevent conflicts in families following a loved one's passing.

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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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