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Why Estate Planning Is Important For New Jersey Residents

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If you live in New Jersey, you probably know that estate planning is important. But do you know why? Estate planning is not just for the wealthy - it's for everyone. If you have any assets at all, estate planning can help make sure they go to the people you want them to go to, […]
December 26, 2022 ★ 

If you live in New Jersey, you probably know that estate planning is important. But do you know why? Estate planning is not just for the wealthy - it's for everyone. If you have any assets at all, estate planning can help make sure they go to the people you want them to go to, and can help minimize taxes and other costs. Here are some more reasons why estate planning is so important for New Jersey residents.

What is estate planning and why is it important for New Jersey residents specifically?

Estate planning is a vital component of life planning, critical for New Jersey residents as well. It involves the prudent design, development and direction of appropriate strategies for taking charge of financial situations and estate management realized through the organization, conservation and distribution of an individual’s wealth according to predetermined objectives. Taking advantage of available exemptions to reduce or eliminate federal estate and generation skipping taxes can be done, while preserving family fortunes while transitioning them from one generation to the next. Ultimately, it is important for New Jersey residents to have estate plans in place in order to maximize their control over their assets when they pass away.

The different components of an estate plan and what they do

An estate plan is an important tool that takes into consideration the ownership and control of property, assets, and the person's wishes in case of incapacity or death. Generally speaking, an estate plan involves four main components.

Last will and testament

A will is a document that controls what happens to your belongings after you die. This includes not only your money, but also your home and other possessions. It can also appoint someone to take care of minor children if they are left without parents. However, simply having a will does not mean that everything goes according to plan; there are many laws surrounding wills which can make them difficult follow. Therefore, it is essential to speak with an attorney both when making the initial will as well as for any future estate planning needs..

Powers of attorney

Powers of attorney designate someone to make decisions on behalf of the person should they become incapacitated. There are different types of power of attorney, including medical, financial and durable. An attorney can explain these to you and determine which one(s) you need.

Estate tax planning

New Jersey has an estate tax that applies to estates over $2 million. This means that careful tax planning should be done in order to minimize the amount of taxes due upon death. A good estate plan will help ensure that your wishes are carried out, while minimizing taxes and other costs associated with passing on your wealth.


A trust is a legal entity that allows someone to manage assets while they are alive and then distribute those assets according to the creator's wishes after death. Trusts can be used in various ways, such as avoiding probate or reducing estate taxes. There are different types of trusts to consider, such as a revocable trust, special needs trusts, charitable trusts, and more. Choosing the right type of trust is essential to ensure that your wishes will be carried out in the way you desire.

Advance health care directives

Advance directives (also known as health care directives) specify medical decisions to be made by another if the person can no longer make decisions for themselves. The elements used in compiling an estate plan will differ from individual to individual but, regardless, it is important for each person to have an appropriate plan in place.

How to create a comprehensive estate plan that works best for you and your family

Creating an estate plan can be a daunting task, but ensuring that your wishes are properly accounted for is an important step in providing peace of mind for you and your family. Start with a conversation – consider your assets, partners and any potential heirs, then determine how best to divide or manage those assets after you’re gone. Consider who will take care of things such as medical decisions, business continuity and other legal matters if you become incapacitated. Consult with a knowledgeable professional about the steps you need to take to create a legally sound estate plan that ensures your desires are honored including wills and trusts, power of attorney documents and more. Taking action now can provide much needed protection and security for your family later on.

Types of Assets to Include in an Estate Plan

When it comes to estate planning, it's important to consider all of the assets that you own and how they should be handled after your death. Real property and personal property are two of the most common types of assets that need to be included in an estate plan. Real property includes any real estate such as a home or land, while personal property includes items like jewelry, furniture, artwork, vehicles and other tangible items.

Retirement accounts and life insurance policies are also important elements of an estate plan. Retirement accounts can include 401(k)s, IRAs or other investments held for retirement purposes. Life insurance policies provide a lump sum payment upon death which can help cover funeral expenses or pay off debts. It is important to make sure these accounts have designated beneficiaries so they will pass directly to those individuals without going through probate court proceedings.

Business interests and digital assets should also be considered when creating an estate plan. Business interests may include ownership stakes in corporations or partnerships, as well as stock options from employers or private companies owned by the deceased individual. Digital assets refer to online accounts such as email addresses, social media profiles, online banking information and cryptocurrency wallets which must be accounted for during the estate planning process if desired by the owner prior to their passing away.

Including all relevant asset types into your final plans ensures that everything will go smoothly after you are gone according to your wishes, instead of being left up for interpretation by family members who may not understand what was intended with each item listed on your documents.

Why you should review your estate plan periodically

Estate planning is a key step when it comes to ensuring that your wishes are met upon death or other incapacitating events. Creating an estate plan requires careful consideration of assets, beneficiaries and guardians. However, life can change quickly and unexpectedly, which is why we suggest performing periodic reviews of your estate plan. This way, you are able to adjust the terms of your estate to reflect any newfound obligations or unforeseen circumstances that have come into existence since the initial plan was drafted. It is important to review restrictions on gifts and transfers as well as financial power of attorney designations, beneficiary designations and property distribution instructions too. Furthermore, it may be necessary to implement changes due to shifts in tax laws or changing family dynamics. To guarantee that your wishes will be respected, taking the time to conduct regular estate planning check-ins is essential.

How an experienced attorney can help you with estate planning

Working with an experienced New Jersey estate planning attorney can save you time, money and help to ensure that your estate is properly planned. DIY estate planning can come with substantial risks and can prove costly if mistakes are made. A New Jersey estate planning attorney will have the experience, knowledge and expertise to provide clients with up-to-date advice regarding New Jersey wills, trusts and tax laws. They will be able to craft custom-made plans for each individual circumstance, helping their clients achieve their goals effectively and efficiently, ensuring that their loved ones are provided for in the years ahead.

Contact information for our firm, in case you have any questions or would like to get started on creating your own estate plan

If you are seeking guidance on creating an estate plan in New Jersey that meets your individual needs, we are here to help. The Law Firm of Benjamin Eckman understands the importance of devising a plan that best suits the particular circumstances of each client, and we're available to answer any questions or discuss further options. To make it even easier, we offer a complimentary consultation. Click here to get started with a quick call.

Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning in New Jersey

How often should I review my estate plan?

We suggest reviewing your estate plan at least once every three years or if any substantial life changes occur.

What are the three main purposes of an estate plan?

The three main purposes of an estate plan are to provide for the transfer of wealth and assets, to minimize taxes and fees, and to appoint guardians for any minor children.

Do I need a lawyer to create an estate plan?

While it is possible to create your own estate plan without the help of a lawyer, it is highly recommended to consult an experienced estate planning lawyer. An attorney can help you navigate issues such as asset protection, tax considerations, and continuity and other legal matters if you become incapacitated.

How much does an estate plan cost?

Since there is no one size fits all estate plan, we'll need to evaluate your needs to determine the price.

How long does the estate planning process take?

The estate planning process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months depending on the complexity of your situation.

How does probate in New Jersey work?

When a person passes away, their estate must go through the probate process in order for their assets to be distributed according to their wishes. Probate is the court-supervised process of validating a will and settling an estate. The executor of the estate has certain responsibilities throughout this process such as filing documents with the court, notifying creditors, and paying taxes and debts. The executor must also file an inventory of the estate’s assets with the court. Once all these steps have been completed, the court can approve distribution of the estate to its beneficiaries. The NJ probate court process typically takes between 9-18 months from start to finish.

What is a trustee?

A trustee is a person appointed by the creator of a trust to manage the assets contained within that trust. The trustee has certain duties including investing and managing the trust’s assets, distributing income and principal as directed by the trust document, filing taxes on behalf of the trust, and providing periodic accountings to its beneficiaries.

Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm of Benjamin Eckman
Planning Today for Your Family's Tomorrow

1767 Morris Ave., Suite 314
Union, NJ 07083

By Appointment Only:

73 Mt. View Blvd.,
Wayne, NJ 07470

1 University Drive, Suite 609
Hackensack, NJ 07601

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1767 Morris Ave., Suite 314
Union, NJ 07083

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Wayne Office

By Appointment Only:

73 Mt. View Blvd.,
Wayne, NJ 07470

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Hackensack Office

1 University Drive, Suite 609
Hackensack, NJ 07601

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