Estate Planning is a difficult topic for many families to discuss. No one wants to think about their own death or what will happen to their family and loved ones when they are gone. While it is an unpleasant topic, it is vital that you have a plan for what happens when you die. If not, the State will come in an distribute your property as they see fit and even assign guardians to your children. You must have an estate plan in place in order to have a say in what happens once you are gone.
Documents for Estate Planning
- Special Needs Trust
- Power of Attorney
- Living Will/Healthcare Directive
- Letter of Instruction
What is a will?
A will is what most people think of when they think of estate planning. This is a document that is created which lists what would happen to your assets once you are gone. It also can state who you would like as guardian of your children and who would handle the money for them if they are minors.
Additionally, it can determine at what age your children would receive their share of the inheritance. A will also states who the executor would be. The executor is in charge of making sure your assets and wishes are carried out.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a document that is created to allow someone to handle your matters, usually financial, if you were to become incapacitated at some point. This incapacitation could be temporary or permeant. By designating someone as your power of attorney, you are allowing them to make decisions and handle matters when you are unable to do so. For example, they could access your bank account to make mortgage payments or go to MVC to deal with a title issue with the car. This person can be the same as the executor in your will or it can be someone different.
What is a Living Will/Healthcare Directive?
A Living Will allows you to state what your wishes are if you were to become incapacitated and you most likely were not going to recover. This is where you would state if you want a do not resuscitate order or if you want to be an organ donor. It allows you to state your wishes for the medical treatment you would receive. This document also allows you to designate someone that would make your end of life decisions for you. They would be the one the doctors consult with to determine what treatment you would receive. It is imperative that you not only choose someone you trust but that you also have the difficult discussion with them so they know what you would want at the end of your life.
What is a memo and letter of instruction?
In New Jersey, instead of listing items in your will that you want to go to specific people, you can create a memo. A memo does not need to be created by an attorney and it does not need to be signed off on by an attorney and can be updated as needed. For example, if you have a ring that you want to go to your niece, you would list that in the memo. However, if you sell that ring in the future, you can remove it from the memo by yourself and not have an attorney involved. This is a great way to make sure everything is up to date and does not generate a cost of having to change your will and involve an attorney
A letter of instruction would included your personal wishes for when you are deceased. The letter could list where you want to be buried, what music you want played at your funeral, and who you want your pallbearers to be. It also can list your bank account numbers, passwords for email accounts, and location of safe deposit boxes. You would include anything in this letter that would make it easy for your executor or family members to have access to different information. This letter is again something you create on your own with an attorney involved.
What makes a will valid in Flemington, New Jersey?
In New Jersey, the best way to have a valid will is to have one that is self-proving. This means that two witnesses sign as well as an attorney or a notary public. If a notary does not sign off on the document, the once you pass, the two witnesses would have to go to court to verify that they were the one that signed the document as well as you. While it seems time consuming to have two witnesses and an attorney sign the documents, it is the best way to ensure that when it is time to probate the will, it will happen quacking and effectively.
How does COVID affect Estate Planning in Flemington, New Jersey?
Jenna Casper Bloom has facilitated many signings during COVID. Some signings have occurred outside where the client signs at a table and two witnesses and Jenna are in a car observing. Once the client is done signing, the witnesses and Jenna Casper Bloom signs as well. Jenna then takes the documents back to her office, scans them, and send the originals back to the client. Additionally, there is a law in New Jersey that during the state of emergency we are in, will signings can happen remotely. This is a signing that occurs via zoom or skype where everyone is connected virtually. The client signs the documents and then sends them to Jenna who has her witnesses and herself sign the documents and mail them back to the client. The recording of this is stored for ten years per the statute. Jenna has conducted a countless number of these since March.
Why hire Flemington attorney Jenna Casper Bloom?
Jenna Casper Bloom has over fourteen years experience as an attorney. She has the compassion and understanding that is needed when it comes to discussing your estate planning. She also can ask the hard questions and help guide you for what is best for your individual needs. Contact Jenna today to begin the discussion of estate planning.