Many people know that having an estate plan in place is a good idea. Yet, many New Jersey residents do not. If they do, there is a fair chance that it was not set up as well as it could be or that it needs updating. Careful estate planning is required to ensure the probate process is easy for one’s heirs, so it is worth taking the time to get it done right.
There are several things that people can do to ensure their estates pass on to their loved ones with little to no issues. First, they can make sure they have a will and that it is updated. Life changes; one’s will must change along with it. It is good to review one’s will every few years or after a significant life event.
Second, one can take into account inheritance tax, which may negatively affect heirs. This tax can be significant. How much must be paid in inheritance taxes depends on one’s relationship with the designated heir, how much that individual/organization is to receive and if the beneficiary qualifies for a tax exemption.
Finally, third, one can take steps to keep assets from having to pass through probate. There are several ways to do this. A few are:
- Adding beneficiaries and back-up beneficiaries on financial accounts
- Filling out transfer on death/paid on death forms if available
- Creating a trust
There are a lot of New Jersey residents who put off estate planning because of the time and expense required to do it. At the end of the day, not putting together an estate plan can cost one’s heirs a lot in the end. This is something that is definitely worth doing and doing right. An experienced estate planning attorney can help those interested in setting up estate plans work through their options and put the legal protections they desire in place.