Putting together an estate plan can feel like a daunting task. There are so many estate planning documents available; many New Jersey residents may not know which ones they actually need. Here’s the thing — there is no one-size-fits-all estate plan. The various documents exist so that one can create a plan that truly fits their needs and estate planning goals.
What are the various estate planning documents available to New Jersey residents? Those most commonly used are the last will and testament, power of attorney — durable and healthcare, beneficiary designations and revocable trust. One other document that one might wish to have is a digital asset management form.
What do all of these documents do? The last will and testament allows a person to document his or her final wishes, including funeral plans, beneficiary designations and last words to loved ones — among other things. The power of attorney documents allow a person to put in writing whom they want to take care of their affairs if they become incapacitated. The revocable trust is used to protect assets and achieve certain tax benefits. Finally, the digital asset management form specifies who is to have access to any of one’s online accounts, such as email, social media or personally owned websites.
There are several other estate planning documents and options available for those with special circumstances — such as individuals with minor children or children with special needs, among other things. Legal counsel can provide information on those and further details on the documents mentioned above if they apply to one’s situation. At the end of the day, estate planning is about protecting oneself, one’s assets and one’s loved ones. Accomplishing all this is possible as long as all of the right documents are in place and legally valid.