Many New Jersey residents often wonder whether they really need an estate plan. In reality, any adult can benefit from having an estate plan. These plans go beyond simply detailing how your assets should be distributed after your death, and if you have not gotten started on your plans, you may wish to take a look at the benefits of planning.
No matter if you have children, live alone or only have a few assets, estate planning can help you get important affairs in order. The areas you can cover in your plan range from medical care while still alive to managing how your surviving loved ones use the assets you bequeath to them.
As mentioned, your estate plan can address medical care. In particular, you can utilize documents to appoint individuals to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated. People often face cognitive decline as they age, which makes it more difficult for them to make sound decisions, but even young adults can face incapacitation if they suffer from a medical emergency due to a sudden illness or injury.
With your estate plan, you can designate a person to make medical-related decisions for you by creating a health care proxy or health care power of attorney. You could even create other documents, such as a living will, to detail what type of care you want to receive in a given situation.
Your estate plan can also allow you to manage your wealth even after you are gone. If you have a charitable organization that you hold dear, you may want to set up a charitable trust that could allow for funds from your estate to benefit a certain organization after your death. For your family, you could also utilize trusts to better protect assets as well as provide instruction on how and when the assets can be used.
Planning ahead can also give you the opportunity to address various taxes associated with your estate. Gift tax, estate tax and transfer tax could apply to your situation, and a well-executed estate plan could help you minimize those taxes in the future.
Creating a plan
Because you undoubtedly want to create the best estate plan for your situation, seeking out legal resources can be helpful. Together you can create a plan that works for you.