Results-Oriented Legal Services

Photo of attorneys John R. Lanza and John E. Lanza

Basics of Estate Planning in New Jersey

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Estate planning is crucial for managing your assets and ensuring your wishes are honored. In New Jersey, estate planning involves more than drafting a will. This blog post will provide an overview of the essentials of estate planning in New Jersey.

The Importance of Estate Planning

Estate planning involves creating a plan for your assets and healthcare decisions. Many think planning only involves a will; however, a complete estate plan covers various life events. For instance, it includes planning for incapacity and ensuring the correct beneficiary designations on bank accounts.

Estate planning protects you and your loved ones. It ensures your wishes are honored during your lifetime and after your death. Key elements of this planning include:

  • Healthcare agent: Choosing someone to make medical decisions if you become incapacitated.
  • Financial power of attorney: Appointing someone to manage your financial matters.
  • Living will or advance directive: Outlining your wishes for end-of-life care.
  • Guardians for minor children: Designating guardians for your children.

Essential Estate Planning Documents

Several documents form the foundation of a solid estate plan:

  • Last will and testament: Specifies how your assets will be distributed after death. It names beneficiaries and appoints guardians for children.
  • Power of attorney: Allows someone to manage your financial affairs. You can create a durable power of attorney that remains in effect during incapacity.
  • Health care directives and living wills: These documents express your healthcare preferences. They allow you to outline medical treatments you want in case of incapacity and appoint a health care agent.
  • Trusts: Trusts help manage your property and avoid tax burdens. Types of trusts include asset protection trusts, charitable trusts, and special needs trusts. Trusts must be set up and funded properly, so consulting an estate planning attorney is advisable.

Probate and Taxes

Probate is the court-supervised process of managing a deceased person’s affairs. Although the law does not require it, an estate planning attorney can guide you through probate and help with tax planning. They can assist in managing real estate, private property, and understanding estate laws.

Estate planning in New Jersey involves more than writing a will. It includes preparing for incapacity, managing assets, and ensuring your loved one will protect your interests. Consulting an experienced estate planning attorney can provide peace of mind and help you to understand the complexities of estate planning.


FindLaw Network