Having an effective estate plan is vital to protecting the future of your family and providing yourself with peace of mind. However many people experience substantial confusion when considering how to create an estate. The simple truth is that creating an estate can be as simple as drafting a valid will. Similarly, some people may wish to author a trust, arrange a business succession plan, or use other testamentary documents to instruct the executor of an estate about their wishes.
Working with a lawyer can provide essential guidance concerning the estate planning process in Moorestown. A dedicated estate planning attorney can help you identify your goals, explain the legal procedures behind those goals, and draft the documents necessary to make those goals a reality.
What is an Estate, and How Does It Come into Being?
In clear terms, an estate is the collection of a person’s assets and debts that survives their death. When many people think about an estate, they consider their personal property, real estate, and other assets. In reality, an estate also includes a person’s debts. The purpose of creating an estate plan is to ensure the payment of one’s debts and the subsequent distribution of assets.
The easiest way to create an estate plan is to draft a will. In many ways, drafting a will is a simple process. New Jersey Revised Statute § 3B:3-2 says that an authentic will must be in writing, contain the testator’s signature, and include the signatures of two witnesses who observed the testator sign the document.
After someone passes away, a family member, an attorney, or the personal representative of the estate can present a will to their local courthouse. Here, a judge will formally begin the probate process. The purpose of the probate is to ensure the proper administration of an estate. Effectively navigating probate makes the rest of the estate planning process more simple, as a seasoned lawyer in Moorestown could explain during a consultation.
Important Steps to Take During the Estate Planning process
There are a few key questions that people need to ask themselves when forming an estate plan. At the simplest level, they need to consider what will happen to their assets after they die. The first step, therefore, is to take stock of one’s assets and liabilities. Properly categorizing assets is crucial because it makes it much easier to plan for the transfer of property or finances through a will or similar testamentary document.
The next step in the estate process is to identify beneficiaries. These are the people or organizations who will receive named assets in a will or trust. Finally, individuals need to consider which form of testamentary document will best fulfill their wishes. Popular options include wills, trusts, and documents that leave instructions for future medical care.
An attorney in Moorestown could help people understand the steps that go into the process of forming an estate and create final versions of testamentary documents that leave no doubt as to one’s intent.
Discuss the Estate Planning Process in Moorestown with an Attorney
It is never pleasant to think about one’s own death. However, the unfortunate truth is that a sudden illness or accident can occur at any time. In these situations, people who have an effective and comprehensive estate plan will rest easier knowing that their family and heirs will inherit property the right way.
A lawyer can provide more information about the estate planning process in Moorestown. This includes explaining the purpose of an estate plan, working to create an effective framework, and detailing what effect one’s decisions will have on the probate process. Contact our office today to learn more.