Preparing for the distribution of your assets after your death is only one aspect of estate planning, although it is one that you should not procrastinate about. There are several options available through New Jersey state law to help you ensure that your wishes are carried out after you no longer have the ability to express them.
Learning more about these options and choosing which ones are most suitable for you is the first step in the right direction towards peace of mind for you and your family.
Wills and trusts
When people think about estate planning, one of the first things that comes to mind is likely a will. Creating a will is one of the most common ways to plan for asset distribution after your death, but it is not the only one and not even necessarily the most effective one. For example, you may want to place real estate and other assets in a trust so that taxes and other expenses will not deplete them during probate, and they can go directly to your heirs. Each individual is different and your needs are not necessarily the same as everyone else's, so you should customize your plan to reflect your wishes and your asset portfolio. Updates are necessary, too, because law changes such as the recent federal tax overhaul affect the way you can distribute some assets.
In addition to tools such as wills and trusts, a comprehensive estate plan will also address the need for guardianship for minor children, senior citizens and adult children with special needs. Guardianship can help in a situation in which you are no longer able to express your wishes, by assigning a person of your choosing to administer your decisions.
An experienced estate planning attorney can help you examine all of your options and build an effective estate plan. This area of law is complex, and by hiring a qualified attorney, you can rest assured that the management of your affairs and the carrying out of your wishes will go smoothly after your death.