Music legend James Brown died just about 12 years ago on Christmas Day in 2006. He had an estate plan in place, but this did not stop estate litigation from happening. His estate has yet to be distributed as there are unresolved issues that various members of his family keep taking to court. While most New Jersey residents do not have estates as vast as Mr. Brown's, when family members disagree with how assets should be divided, estate litigation may take some time to resolve the issues -- though hopefully not over a decade.
If you are like many residents of New Jersey and elsewhere, you might assume that estate planning is only for the rich. However, there are many reasons to plan a will, regardless of how much of a nest egg you have saved up and how many--or few--assets you have to your name.
After a loved one dies, it is a common goal to want to get through the estate administration process in New Jersey as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, you may find yourself dealing with estate litigation if anyone in your family questions your loved one's estate plan or lack thereof. Legal matters such as this can become expensive very quickly. Who pays for estate litigation?
Designating beneficiaries on financial accounts and in an estate plan is just part of preparing for the future. One's assets need to go somewhere when one passes on; who wouldn't want a say in who should get them? Unfortunately, many people in New Jersey believe that beneficiary designations and estate planning in general are a "one and done" kind of thing. The truth is, time passes and people change their minds about who their beneficiaries should be. If beneficiary designations are not updated, the wrong person could end up receiving assets following your passing.
Most New Jersey residents have a lot on their plates daily. Family and work obligations leave little time for much else. There is one thing that many people really should think about prioritizing, though, and that is taking the time to do some estate planning. Why? Here are a few reasons.
Taxes, taxes and more taxes. Whether one resides in New Jersey or elsewhere, taxes are a big part of life. The only way to escape taxes is through death, but even then one's family may be left holding the bag, so to speak. This is where tax planning comes into play. With a carefully thought-out tax plan in place, one may be able to reduce one's tax liability, which can be beneficial now and into the future.