Estate planning probably sounds intimidating. You may find yourself asking “When should I start arrangements?” or “Should I hire an attorney?”
All of your questions, which you may have been afraid to ask, are answered for you here. But first, let’s answer the number one question getting started- what exactly is estate planning?
Estate planning is a legal term that explains where you want your money and belongings to go after you die or become disabled. An estate plan can be either very simple or very complex, depending on these ever-changing factors:
the number of assets you own
the number of heirs you are leaving your assets with
and the lifestyle you currently live.
Start planning now.
If you’re wondering when you should start, the time is now. Many people think that estate planning does not need to start until they are elder. The truth is, the earlier you start, the more secure you will be in the future. It is recommended to begin as young as 30. Estate plans change with time, but the documents created along with your plan can be updated as you age.
Update your plan as you age.
A lot can change in just a couple of years, so keeping your trust up-to-date is important. You can change a will or trust easily by amendments, updates, or even revocation. However, these documents become complicated and it is best to create these documents with an estate planning lawyer to be sure your plans are not voided.
Multiple documents are involved.
Without any documented plan for after you die, your estate is distributed through the state’s laws. (This is referred to as “intestate.”) Many people ask about the difference between a will or a trust, but did you know it is good to have both? By having documents written by a legal professional, your probate process will be exceptionally easier for your heirs. An acceptable list of state planning records include:
A will and trust
Power of attorney
Letter of intent
Healthcare power of attorney
How to get your estate planning started.
Begin your plan with a checklist, or by writing down all of your current assets and their estimated value. It is also good to have a talk with your family, or those close and trustworthy, and make sure they know what to expect from your will after you die. Finally, hire an estate planning attorney. Find an attorney who you think you can work well with, and who you can afford, and ensure your estate is properly taken care of.
New Jersey Office
195 Route 9 South, Suite 204, Manalapan, NJ 07726
New York Office
425 Madison Avenue, Suite 902, New York, NY 10017