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The big 6: estate planning documents

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Many New Jersey residents are worried about asset protection. With an unstable economy, they want to be sure to preserve the legacy and inheritance they have in mind for their loved ones. Estate planning is a useful tool to help accomplish this goal. If you are considering executing a plan, you’ll want to learn more about numerous legal documents that might meet your needs.

When you create an estate plan, you’re not required to incorporate specific documents. One of the benefits of planning is that you can choose which legal documents to include and which to omit. You can also update or amend your plan if the need arises in the future, provided you possess the testamentary capacity to do so.

Basic overview of the most common estate planning documents

Reviewing the following list provides a basic idea of what types of documents estate owners usually include when they want to create a solid plan:

  • Last will and testament
  • Trusts
  • Powers of attorney
  • Beneficiary designations
  • Guardianships
  • Letter of intent

By adding these documents to your estate plan, you can make sure your loved ones receive a set of instructions that express your wishes regarding issues such as family heirlooms or other assets, business succession or burial protocol.

It’s wise to have a backup plan

If you are thinking about who to choose as the executor of your estate or who to grant power of attorney for healthcare or financial issues, you might want to try to have at least two people in mind for each duty. This enables you to designate a secondary representative, who will step in to fulfill a duty if the primary representative has been deceased or is unable to do so.

You can also list an alternate for guardians of your children. There have been cases where a particular person was a guardian but died suddenly in a car accident or become incapacitated through illness. By listing a second designation, there will be another guardian, whom you know and trust, to care for your children if the primary designee is unable to fulfill the duty.

Keep your estate plan updated

If you forget to add a particular document to your estate plan, you can always add it later. In fact, it’s best to periodically review your plan to check if any changes or updates are needed. For instance, you might have a birth or marriage in the family that compels you to amend your existing estate plan.

You can also remove a name from your plan, if needed. This happens often when someone dies, gets divorced or family discord arises, and an estate owner decides to omit an heir or beneficiary from a will. Estate planning is a legal practice through which you can gain support if you encounter complications regarding your plan.


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