You might be one of many young adults in New Jersey who recently graduated college and are laying the groundwork for a new career and independent lifestyle. On the other hand, you might count yourself among baby boomers across the state who are getting ready to retire. You put in years of work and have built a savings, raised a family and made a few financial investments and are looking forward to spending your next years in leisure. What about estate planning?
No matter which age group you happen to be in, estate planning might be a phrase that makes you cringe. It’s not uncommon. There are several reasons why people tend to procrastinate when it comes to executing an estate plan. Perhaps you’d rather avoid discussions about your own mortality. After learning more about the process of planning an estate, you might decide that it’s a topic worth talking about, after all.
You’re never too young or too old
Many people hesitate to develop an estate plan if they think they’re too young or have waited too long and are too old. There is no perfect age for executing an estate plan, other than being age 18 or older. Even if you’re young and single, there are still benefits to having an estate plan in place.
For instance, if you become incapacitated due to a car accident or illness, etc., it would be helpful to have a Power of Attorney so that someone you trust can make financial or health decisions on your behalf. As for being too old to start planning your estate, as long as you’re of sound mind, it’s not too late.
Estate planning is not just about asset distribution
Sometimes, the reason for procrastination regarding estate planning has to do with people thinking they are “not rich enough” to need a plan. No matter how basic or complex your financial portfolio is, it’s understandable that you want what you do own to go to people you love after you die. If you don’t have an estate plan, there’s no guarantee that that will happen.
In addition to a Power of Attorney, there are other important instructions that you can incorporate into an estate plan, as well, especially if you’re a parent. You might want to designate someone as a legal guardian for your children if you and their other parent are deceased or incapacitated. You might also want to institute a revocable or irrevocable trust. Also, if you have a special needs child, there are estate planning documents that can help you provide for his or her future needs.
Taking the mystery out of the estate planning process
Another reason many people hesitate to initiate an estate plan is simply because they don’t know how to do it. Depending on what types of documents you want to incorporate into a plan, you have a moderate to large amount of paperwork to take care of, expenses to meet, tax issues to address and more.
It’s helpful to speak with someone who is well-versed in New Jersey estate laws before designing a plan. This would help ensure that all assets are protected and the right documents are being used to fit a particular set of needs and estate goals.