An Estate Planning Lawyer in Wayne, NJ Might Help Families Prepare for the Future

by | May 12, 2016 | Attorneys

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Planning for what will happen to assets after death may seem morbid, but it is actually the only way a person can have some control over what happens to the things they worked hard for while they were alive. Although some people would rather simply allow their family to decide who gets the good set of China or the classic car, handling things this way can often lead to disagreements and even disconnections among close family members. A better option is to work with an estate planning lawyer in Wayne, NJ to learn about all the available options.

The good news is, estate planning isn’t something a person needs to think about constantly. Once the plan is in place, it merely needs to be reviewed once every year or so. In addition to annual reviews, people should also consider revising their estate plan if they get married or divorced, have children or welcome grandchildren into the family. These major life events could make a difference in the allocation of assets. Few people want to leave all of their assets to an ex-spouse when they have children who might be slighted by doing so.

There are a few different documents that could be relevant to an estate plan. The first is a will. This one or two page document gives basic instructions about how a person wants their assets handled after they die. It can also appoint a guardian for minor or disabled children. A will can be made public and won’t be sufficient for those who want to disburse funds incrementally to their heirs. People who want this type of privacy and control should consider a trust.

An estate planning lawyer in Wayne, NJ might suggest one of a few different types of trusts. The simplest is the living trust. Assets can be moved in and out of this type of trust and it can be easily changed if needed. A living trust won’t decrease the tax burden on an estate though. Anyone who wants that kind of protection will have to give up the ability to transfer assets in and out of the trust at will. Once the assets are inside an irrevocable trust, they are owned by the trust and must remain there.