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New Jersey Estate Planning
Have you made plans for how your assets will be distributed after your death? And are you concerned about how much money your estate will have to pay in federal and New Jersey estate taxes? If you have young children, have you thought about how would care for them if you died unexpectedly? If you were in a life-threatening accident, would you want to be kept alive using artificial means? An estate planning attorney can help you answer these questions and more.
What Is Estate Planning?
Most people mistakenly believe that estate planning deals only with death. While estate planning does help you plan for that eventuality, it can also be used to address a variety of legal, financial and medical issues while you're living.
The last will and testament is the best-known of the estate planning tools. This document is used to explain how you'd like your assets—such as money, real estate and possessions—distributed after your death. It can also be used to name a legal guardian for your minor children and to name an executor to manage your estate after your death. By law, you must be 18 years old and "of sound mind" to create a binding will in New Jersey.
There are ways other than a last will to distribute your estate after your death. In some circumstances, your estate planning lawyer may suggest a revocable living trust instead of or in addition to a will. A living trust enables assets to be distributed more quickly and more privately than a last will and testament, which must go through the probate process.
The power of attorney (POA) document is used to empower someone else (your attorney in fact) to handle certain legal and financial tasks on your behalf. This might include signing contracts, accessing financial accounts and paying bills. A POA can be very narrow in scope or very broad, depending on your specific needs. The attorney in fact's powers are terminated upon your death.
Two documents—sometimes known as advanced medical directives—address healthcare issues. The healthcare power of attorney lets you authorize a surrogate to make medical decisions on your behalf if you're incapacitated and unable to communicate. And the living will lets you explain your end-of-life treatment wishes and decisions.
Find & Hire Local New Jersey Estate Planning Attorneys
Whether you live in Jersey City or Trenton, Newark or Paterson, or elsewhere in New Jersey, Attorneys.com can quickly connect you with estate planning lawyers in your area. Phone 877-913-7222 or complete the form on this page to use our free lawyer referral service.