Creating an estate plan gives you control of your legacy, even when you are no longer here to oversee it. No matter your age or the size of your estate, having a plan for what will happen to your assets after your death is key in ensuring your heirs receive the inheritance you leave for them. In addition, an estate plan addresses who can make financial decisions for you if you are unable to do so because of an incapacitating illness or injury.
The Bratton Scott legal team — which includes our estate planning attorneys, social workers, and a registered nurse — is here to help you create a plan for your assets when you cannot. We can help you understand all the benefits of creating an estate plan, and put the documents in place that give you full control of your estate’s future. Call our New Jersey office today at 856-857-6007 to learn more.
An Estate Plan Puts You in Control
If you do not have an estate plan, it is likely that someone you do not know will make decisions about your family’s financial future. Unless you have a will, New Jersey probate laws will determine how the state distributes your assets.
This includes determining how much your surviving spouse gets to live on, how much your children receive, and who takes care of any minor children if you are their only surviving parent. These are all decisions you would probably much rather make on your own. The only way to ensure the courts follow your wishes after your death is to create a comprehensive estate plan and will.
In some cases, you will suffer an illness or injury that prevents you from handling your own financial affairs. If you do not have a durable power of attorney in place, the court will appoint someone to manage your assets and investments for you. This person will make all your business decisions for you. The only way you can have a say in who is in control of your estate in this situation is to draft a power of attorney when you create your estate plan.
An Estate Plan Prevents Family Disputes
Your estate plan names an executor or administrator, and gives that person strict instructions on how to manage and distribute your assets after you pass away. This includes who will receive what, when, and how.
It also outlines who is in charge of making decisions for you if an illness or injury renders you unable to do so. With an understanding of how you wish to handle your affairs, your family members are much less likely to disagree on how to proceed, which will greatly reduce disputes and estate-related litigation.
We see our clients in estate disputes too often, and sometimes must fight against their siblings and other family members to ensure they get the inheritance they deserve after a loved one’s death. This is not the outcome anyone wants for their family, but it occurs most commonly when someone does not have a will or a comprehensive estate plan in place.
If you do not create an estate plan, it puts your family members in a vulnerable position. Each one will want to do what they believe you would want, which can pit your children or siblings against each other. This can lead to expensive litigation and a rift in your family. No one wants their death to cause a rift between their children, but it happens all too often when there is no clear plan for assets after a parent’s death.
An Estate Plan Offers Peace of Mind
An estate plan gives you security about your family’s future that you cannot get anywhere else. Putting this type of plan in place is the only way to ensure your loved ones get what you left for them. It is also the only way to ensure your children get the guidance and support they need from the guardians you chose.
With decisions as important as your family’s future, you do not want to leave things up to chance or the preferences of a stranger. Putting your wishes and instructions in writing and crafting a comprehensive estate plan ensures for you and your family members that things will be OK if you suddenly pass away.
In fact, giving your loved ones the peace of mind of knowing they will not have to fight for what they rightfully deserve after your death is one of the most loving things you can give them while you are still alive.
Talk to a New Jersey Estate Planning Attorney Today
At Bratton Scott, we can help you create an estate plan that takes your preferences and priorities into consideration. We get to know each client individually, and create a unique plan based on their needs. In this way, we can ensure your family gets the care and resources they need when you can no longer provide it. If you need to create or update your New Jersey estate plan, call us today at 856-857-6007.