Estate planning and writing Wills are important to your family and you. With so much information that needs to be covered and explained at length, it is crucial you are working with an attorney so as to not enter into mistakes on how to manage your Estate.
Estate planning may not be the easiest thing to do but it is important to determine how assets are passed to loved ones after we die. An estate plan may also be used to name guardians for young children after a tragic parental loss, and/or to arrange for the support of persons who are not mature enough to handle wealth on their own.
When a Will is used, a person’s financial assets are frozen upon his death. To unfreeze them, a legal process known as “probate” must be initiated. A second, less used method to transfer wealth is the Living Trust. When a Living Trust is used, financial assets are not frozen when a person dies. In that there is nothing to unfreeze, legal probate is avoided. The deceased person’s assets are immediately available to the spouse and family. Typically, Living Trust estate plans are privately administered by family members or close friends.
Estate plans created by Wills and in Living Trusts are both revocable; that is either type of plan may be modified or changed by the person who created it during his or her lifetime. David can help you choose what is right for you and your loved ones.
Clients often consider putting the ownership of their assets in other names. As a result, the following scenarios take place which often result in challenges.
When putting your assets in a trust thinking that they will avoid tax related responsibilities which can at times result in difficulties regarding reasserting their ownership of these assets in the future.
Others wind up putting their assets in joint accounts thinking that it will facilitate convenience an This tends to result in a situation where their assets have been snatched.
Clients that put their assets in their spouses name in an effort to avoid creditors, this can lead to difficulties obtaining future loans and pursuing other business opportunities wherein it is necessary for the client to show assets.
While it sometimes serves a beneficial purpose to remove an asset from the owner’s name, it often creates greater problems in the future than it resolves.
Make the time to explore your options and potential consequences before deciding how to proceed. I can assist in navigating the sometimes confusing options with the appropriate legal guidance and explain to Clients the laws and estate planning options. Please call our office for an appointment so that we can discuss all your concerns and questions.
Estate Planning involves more than just Wills. I usually prepare a Power of Attorney and a Living Will for clients when they request a Last Will and Testament. I also advise clients to title all of their assets appropriately which can often accomplish Estate Planning regarding many of their assets.
Over the years, I have written simple Wills and complex Wills involving Trusts, protecting minors, protecting special needs beneficiaries, etc.
I also have handled a large number of Estate Administration matters for clients over the years. Often times I can advise clients that they do not need an attorney to accomplish their Estate Administration needs, depending upon how assets are titled. My office has handled Estates in the multimillion-dollar category and also some of the most simple and basic types of Estates and asset distributions.
Every attorney has different opinions based upon their experiences. Over the last 35 years practicing law, I am of the opinion that clients should not divest themselves of their assets in an effort to streamline their Estate Planning decisions. New Jersey has done away with the Estate Tax and the current Federal Estate Tax exemption is Quite high and most of my clients' assets do not exceed that amount. In my experiences I have seen too many situations where parties have put their assets in the names of their children, or others, and the outcome has gone very badly. I have seen situations where the children then fight over the assets which have been placed into the name of one or more of them. I have also seen situations where Creditors have attached to the assets because they have a Judgement against the child into whose name assets were transferred.
Every case is different, and every individual has different Estate Planning needs and requirements. I am available to review the specifics with my clients in order to accomplish the best outcome for them.