Why Should I Create an Estate Plan?

create estate plan

There are many good reasons why you should have an estate plan. If you do not have an estate plan, the state has one for you. In other words, New Jersey law will determine who gets your assets when you pass away and in what order. If you want more control over what happens to your assets after your passing, an estate plan is a must.

People may think they need to have a high net worth to justify an estate plan, but this is not true. An estate plan can be beneficial for anyone. Ideally, an estate plan is updated periodically and whenever life circumstances change. An estate plan is not just for designating heirs or dividing assets, it is also a valuable tool for those who want to plan for their future expenses, such as long-term medical care.

Listed below are some good reasons to work with a lawyer to develop an estate plan personalized to your wishes.

Includes a Will

A will inside an estate plan is beneficial. A will leaves no question about what the deceased person wants after their passing, from inheritances of property to division of financial assets. If there is no will, a judge will determine the fate of the estate.

Most people have firm ideas about who should inherit their assets when they pass away. In many cases, it is their children or other loved ones. An estate plan enables you to instruct how assets should be divided upon your death.

Helps Avoid Probate

As part of an estate plan, many assets can be set up to avoid the probate process, which can be time-consuming, costly, and tedious. Making assets immediately available to loved ones upon death is important to many people.

Reduces Conflict

Leaving estate administration to an executor or administrator who is not experienced in estate law can lead to costly mistakes. Having a knowledgeable lawyer create and even help implement an estate plan can save money and ensure everything is done according to law.

An estate plan includes documents that will be needed in the future for most estates. These include wills, trusts, beneficiary designations, durable power of attorney, medical directives, and other necessary documents. Unfortunately, inheritances are often the source of dispute between family members and other interested parties. An estate plan that includes explicit instructions on how assets should be divided can help reduce tension and anger.

A lawyer can help ensure that the transfer and division of assets to the rightful heirs and beneficiaries are legally implemented as swiftly as possible.

Helps Secure Your Children’s Future

An essential part of an estate plan is directing what happens to children if both parents pass away. A good estate plan will name guardians and fiduciaries and has guidelines for the child’s educational, social, medical, moral, religious, and emotional needs.

Plans for Health Care and Special Needs

There may be a loved one with special needs in your family that requires specific care. An estate plan can address how that person will continue to be cared for, where they will live, how they can continue getting governmental assistance, and how your funds may be used to ensure their continuity of care.

Additionally, an estate plan can name who may make health decisions and how and where health care should be carried out. It can also contain instructions for what happens if you become mentally or physically disabled. Finally, an estate plan often includes a living will with explicit health care instructions, including a do-not-resuscitate order.

Allows for Charitable Contributions

Sometimes, people wish to donate money to a charity, church, college, or other entity. An estate plan can ensure these wishes are carried out.

Handles Retirement and Insurance Assets

Investments, real estate, and other assets are addressed in an estate plan, but it must also ensure that other financial assets, such as 401(k)s, pensions, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and life insurance policies, are transferred correctly and lawfully.

Establishes Restrictions

A person will often include restrictions on the division or distribution of assets. For example, their estate plan may say that a beneficiary gets 30 percent of assets at 25 years old, 30 percent at 35 years old, and the remainder at 50 years old.

Protects Assets

A primary reason for an estate plan is to have a roadmap for future expenses. An asset protection plan can help preserve your arranged inheritances while still qualifying for Medicaid or other programs. Long-term care, nursing homes, and assisted living residences are costly. An estate plan can help you plan for these expenses.

How Do I Choose a Lawyer to Help Me?

An estate plan should be developed by a lawyer who handles estates, wills, trusts, and other related practice areas. To find a lawyer best suited for your circumstances, the following tips may help:

  • Ask family or friends for a recommendation. People who have first-hand experience with a particular lawyer are excellent resources.
  • Ask for local recommendations on apps.
  • Do research. The internet is full of information, reviews, and ratings.

Warren Wills, Trusts, and Estates Lawyers at Herold Law Help Clients Build Estate Plans

An estate plan is the best way to ensure the future security of you and your loved ones. Our Warren wills, trusts, and estates lawyers at Herold Law, P.A. will help you construct an effective estate plan that suits your needs. Call us today at 908-647-1022 or contact us online for an initial consultation. Located in Warren, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Plainfield and the surrounding areas.