A common misconception people have is that estate planning is for wealthy individuals with many assets. Some people in New Jersey also believe that estate planning is meant to be done later in life. While it's true that a tax filing isn't required unless assets and previous taxable gifts exceed $5.6 million, there are many potential benefits associated with being proactive about estate planning at any age.
Many New Jersey residents are aware of the new tax bill that was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump. Kristi Noem, who is a Republican congresswoman from South Dakota, has campaigned for a repeal of the estate tax based on her family's story.
A New Jersey resident who is creating an estate plan might think primarily of putting together a strategy that will pass assets on to loved ones. However, making a plan that covers potential incapacitation is another important aspect of estate planning. Many seniors end up needing a caregiver at some point, and around one-third of people eventually need long-term care.
Legacy planning involves much more than assigning beneficiaries for money and other assets after death. Although legacy planning is often used interchangeably with estate planning, the two are different. Estate planning is something New Jersey residents do when they want to ease tax burdens and allocate assets. Legacy planning is done to continue a life's work after the estate holder has died.
After people in New Jersey have completed their estate plans, it is important that they review them regularly. It is especially important for people to review and change their estate plans when they decide to get divorced so that they don't accidentally leave their estates to their ex-spouses when they die.
Some New Jersey couples might think that if they do not have children, they do not need an estate plan. However, estate plans are not just for passing on wealth to the next generation. They can also help protect people and allow them to decide what becomes of their assets after their death.
New Jersey residents should never be pressured into signing a power of attorney document. In fact, it may be a sign of fraud for another person to pressure someone to take that step. As a general rule, those who aren't ready to delegate financial duties to another person in the event they are mentally incapacitated should step away and reconsider the situation.
New Jersey residents may want to consider planned giving as part of their estate plan. Planned giving refers to arranging a donation to charity while a person is still alive. Planned giving can offer a number of benefits to donors, charities and beneficiaries.
Parents in New Jersey and elsewhere will ideally create an estate plan that takes into account the needs of their children. Doing so may be more important if a child has special physical, mental or emotional needs. This is because a properly crafted plan may allow a child to receive assets without jeopardizing their ability to receive government benefits if necessary.
New Jersey adults of all ages should think about having some basic estate planning documents in place. Even people who are in their 20s may benefit by drafting these documents because unexpected accidents or illnesses can occur. There are several types of estate planning tools that can offer protection in the event that people become incapacitated and are unable to make financial decisions for themselves either temporarily or permanently.