An estate plan outlines your preferences and priorities for your estate if you become unable to make or voice those decisions due to illness or death. This plan is not a single document, but a group of tools that clearly explains what should happen in any given situation.
The best way to create an estate plan is to work with an estate planning lawyer who will handle your case with grace and compassion. At Bratton Estate and Elder Care Attorneys, we have an entire legal team consisting of attorneys, social workers, and even a registered nurse. Our whole team will go to work for you, getting to know your family, and learning about your needs. Only then will we begin to build an estate plan for you.
Call our office today at 856-857-6007 to schedule your initial consultation.
What Is an Estate?
Everyone has an estate. Many people assume you only need an estate plan if you are wealthy or have a certain amount of assets. However, everything you own is part of your estate. We all have assets, including our house and car, bank account, any savings accounts, investments, furniture, electronics, and personal possessions.
If what happens to these assets when you cannot make decisions about them or after you pass away is important to you, you need an estate plan. If you do not take control and create a plan for managing and distributing your assets, strangers will likely make these decisions for you. An estate plan ensures the administrator of your estate carries out your wishes, taking care of your family and friends as you desire.
We can help you create an estate plan that provides guidance about who should receive your assets, exactly what they should receive, and when they should receive it. We can also help you understand how things like taxes play a role in asset distribution, and help you minimize their impact on your loved ones’ inheritance.
What Are the Tasks Associated with Creating an Estate Plan?
Estate planning covers a wide range of tasks that allow us to take care of everything necessary before you suffer an injury or illness that prevents you from handling your estate, or before you pass away. Some things we will do as a part of your estate plan include:
- Writing your will
- Naming an executor or administrator of your estate
- Selecting and documenting a guardian for your minor children and adult dependents
- Ensuring you name beneficiaries on all life insurance, retirement, and other plans
- Establishing a durable power of attorney to handle your assets if you become unable to do so
- Funeral planning, including pre-paying for costs in some cases
- Setting up trusts and/or annual giving plans to limit estate taxes later
Should Younger People Have an Estate Plan?
Yes. While older people naturally begin to plan for their death more frequently than younger people, the bottom line is that everyone needs an estate plan. Young people pass away or suffer serious injuries every day, and many of them have minor children and assets with no clear plan for providing care and managing those assets.
In many cases, estate plans are more important to young families. Estate planning offers a way to ensure you know what will happen to your children if you cannot care for them, and how you can ensure your assets help support them. Even if you do not have children, your assets will need to go somewhere, and you may not like the decision the court makes.
When You Need to Consider an Estate Plan
The best time to create an estate plan is now. An accident or illness can lead to incapacity or death at any time. It is not fun to think about, but knowing what will happen to your family and other heirs if the unthinkable occurs offers peace of mind you cannot get any other way.
We often see families who lost a loved one who had no will or estate plan in place. In some cases, this leads to disputes over their family member’s assets. With an estate plan, this would not have been an issue.
An estate plan is not set in stone, so there is no reason you cannot create it today and alter it as your situation changes. We expect to update and alter these documents as you get married or divorced, have additional children, make investments, and even retire. We encourage all people to not only create an estate plan, but to keep it up-to-date as changes occur in their lives.
Contacting an Estate Planning Attorney in New Jersey
An estate plan is key in ensuring your estate is distributed the way you want after your death. At Bratton Estate and Elder Care Attorneys, our legal team can help you create a unique plan that fits your needs and preferences. We focus on getting to know you, and offering individual solutions to your problems and concerns. Call our New Jersey office today at 856-857-6007 to get started.