There are many important responsibilities in life. If you live in New Jersey, estate planning for New Jersey residents is one of these responsibilities.
What Is Estate Planning?
There is much more to this topic than many people realize. There are some aspects of planning that are essential for all responsible adults, while others depend on your particular situation.
A will is one essential part of planning. Your will is simply a legal document that specifies how you want your estate distributed after you die. You can leave personal property, real estate, cash, and other assets to one person, a number of people, or to charitable organizations. You will select an executor who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes.
A second essential document is a living will. Living wills are designed to provide the opportunity for individuals to control their health care concerns and preferences. When you have a living will, your wishes will be known if you become unable to speak in your own behalf. As examples, you may be in an accident or experience an illness that leaves you unable to communicate. As your decisions will be clearly stated in this legal document, medical personnel in charge of your health care will know and abide by your decisions.
A third factor is guardianship. Guardianship issues pertain to children who have not reached the age of majority, as well as those who need special care due to mental or physical disabilities. You can appoint a guardian to be responsible for your child’s everyday care. The same person or a different person can be appointed to oversee your child’s finances.
When you are planning, you may wish to consider powers of attorney. There are a number of approaches to powers of attorney, in both medical and financial categories. Your lawyer can help you choose the approach that is best for your situation.
If you are married, planning also includes tenancy issues. As one spouse is likely to outlive the other, you should discuss tenancy options with your lawyer.
If you or your spouse plans to enter a long-term care facility, there are additional considerations to discuss with an attorney. Consult with a lawyer before finalizing your plans.
When Hiring a Lawyer Is The Best Approach
No one should risk dying without a legal will. You do not want the state to determine who receives your property. You also do not want to risk errors that may occur in a will that you prepare yourself.
If you wish to take extra precautions, you can have your will notarized and file it with the state. Although these steps are not required by law, it is a wise decision.
You should not want to risk becoming incapacitated without a living will. Neither your physician nor your family members should be able to make these important decisions for you.
Guardianship of your children is another reason you need a lawyer. You want your children to have the best of care, and for their lives to be financially sound.
Powers of attorney can give you peace of mind. You will know the person or persons you choose will act responsibly in your behalf when you cannot make your own decisions.
Tenancy will affect your spouse if you die or enter a facility. You do not have to worry about your husband or wife’s well-being when you are no longer living together.
While your state does not require legal assistance to prepare wills and other legal documents, it is in your best interest to hire a lawyer. This decision will not only affect you, but your spouse and children as well.
Planning for the future may seem complicated, but it can be much easier when you have a lawyer. You can choose a general lawyer or one who specializes in elder law. For the sake of your own future and your loved ones, estate planning for New Jersey residents is the responsible approach.
The content provided herein is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice. If the issues discussed in this blog are of concern to you or your loved ones, please seek the counsel of a qualified attorney.