Wills and Trusts Attorney in NJ

Regardless of age, all adults 18 and older in New Jersey can benefit from estate planning. A good estate plan will include different documents to address an individual's needs and goals for their families and how to ensure their wishes will be protected. An estate attorney in New Jersey at the Ziegler Law Group, LLC can help you understand the various types of estate planning documents you should have in place to accomplish your goals and protect your interests. 

If you fail to create an estate plan, others could make decisions for you about your medical care and finances if you become incapacitated, and your assets could be distributed in a way that you don't want if you pass away. A New Jersey estate planning attorney can help you to prevent unintended consequences that could occur if you fail to create a valid trust, will, and other important estate planning documents.

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New Jersey Estate Planning Attorneys

When a teenager turns 18, their parents will no longer have the right to make medical or financial decisions for their child or access their financial and medical information. This is why even young adults need to have estate plans in place just in case something happens. As you grow older, your estate plan should be modified to reflect important changes in your life as they occur. Our estate attorneys in New Jersey help people ensure their plans accurately reflect the current needs of clients and families. 

Estate planning should be completed regardless of your age. As you grow older, it will become increasingly important for you to have an estate plan in place to ensure that your assets will go to the people you choose. If you don't have a will or trust in place at the time that you pass away, your assets will be passed according to New Jersey's intestacy laws regardless of your wishes. 

Once you create an initial estate plan, you should review it whenever a major change in your life occurs to ensure it still reflects your situation and goals. A wills and trusts attorney can review your plan with you when any of the following events occur:

  • Moving away for college
  • Getting married
  • Having a baby
  • Adopting a child
  • Buying a house
  • Getting divorced
  • Getting married for a second or subsequent time
  • Creating a blended family
  • Going through the death of your loved one
  • Preparing for retirement

Updating your estate plan to reflect the changes in your life can help you be prepared and prevent unintended consequences from happening. For example, failing to update your will after you get divorced could mean that your ex-spouse will receive assets that you wouldn't want them to receive. 

Wills and Trusts Attorney in New Jersey

Your last will and testament or a trust should be the central document of your estate plan. A last will and testament is a legal document in which you describe your wishes for how your assets and property should be handled once you die. You can use your will to specify whether you want specific family members, friends, or charitable organizations to receive certain assets. You can also include special conditions in your will before someone can receive certain assets from your estate. If you write a will, it will need to go through the public probate process after you die before your assets can be distributed according to its terms.

A trust is another type of legal document that can be created to ensure your wishes are followed. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable, depending on the goals you have for your estate. Trust planning might be used to reduce or avoid estate taxes when you have a large estate. A trust can also be used to accomplish other purposes, including providing for a special needs adult, protecting a loved one from creditors, and passing your assets to your loved ones outside of the probate court to maintain your family's privacy. A trust will only work if you fund it with your assets after it is created.

Advance Healthcare Directive Attorney

An advance healthcare directive can be used to state your wishes for the healthcare you want to receive if you become incapacitated. This document is recommended for adults of all ages because it allows you to control the types of treatment you will receive and avoid involving others in making decisions about your medical care, including doctors or your family members. An advance healthcare directive attorney can help you draft this document and include it in your estate plan.

New Jersey Power of Attorney (POA) Lawyer

A power of attorney is another document that you should have in your estate plan regardless of age when you are 18 or older. It can be part of a comprehensive estate plan or created as a standalone document. A POA allows you to name someone who can make financial decisions for you if you are unavailable or become incapacitated. A financial POA can be important when you want someone else to be able to pay your bills, access your bank account, or take care of other financial decisions if you are injured in an accident or suffer a serious illness and can't do these things yourself. You can choose a trusted person to be your agent. The agent will have the powers you choose, and you can also make the power of attorney effective only when you are deemed to be incapacitated by a medical doctor. 

You can use a financial power of attorney to allow your agent to pay your bills, access your bank account, operate your business, or buy or sell a property for you. 

In addition to a financial power of attorney, you should also create a healthcare power of attorney. This document only becomes effective when you are deemed to be incapacitated. Your agent will then be able to access your medical information and make important healthcare decisions for you. Many parents of college students ask their kids to create healthcare powers of attorney to allow the parents to access their medical records and make decisions if their kids are involved in accidents or otherwise seriously injured while away at school. 

If you don't have a POA and become incapacitated, the court will appoint someone else to be your guardian and give them the power to make decisions for you. The guardianship process can be long and expensive and must go through the probate court. In some cases, a court will appoint a professional guardian instead of a loved one. 

Probate Attorney in New Jersey

If your loved one becomes incapacitated, can't make decisions for themself, and doesn't have a POA, you can file a petition with the probate court for the appointment of a guardian. The person the court appoints will have to act in the ward's best interests. Guardians make decisions about a ward's medical care and finances. 

What Happens When Someone Doesn't Have an Estate Plan?

If you put off creating a will and other documents in an estate plan, you risk that you won't be able to control the decisions that are made for you if you become incapacitated and that your assets will be passed according to the mandates of the state's intestacy laws once you pass away. Your family members might end up fighting with each other over your assets in court and have to go through a lengthy and expensive process. If you are a college student and are incapacitated in an accident or because of a serious illness, your parents might have trouble getting information about your medical care and might not have any say in the treatment you receive.

Talk to an Estate Planning Attorney in New Jersey

Creating an estate plan can allow you to take control over who will make decisions about your healthcare and finances and the types of treatment you will receive if you are at the end of your life. It will also help to ensure your wishes are followed and that your assets are passed to the intended recipients after you die. To learn more about planning your estate, contact the Ziegler Law Group, LLC today at (973) 878-4373.


For the general public: This Blog/Website is made available by the law firm publisher, Ziegler Law Group LLC for information and educational purposes only. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice to any reader. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and the Blog/Website publisher. The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice you obtain from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

For attorneys: This Blog/Website is informational in nature and is not a substitute for legal research or a consultation/representation on specific matters pertaining to your clients. Due to the dynamic nature of legal doctrines or the current law what might be upheld or viable one day may be changed or modified the next. As such, all of the content of this entire blog must not be relied upon as a basis for arguments to a court or for specific individualized advice to clients without, again, further research or a formal consultation with our professionals.

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