Most people acknowledge the need for estate planning; however, nearly half of all Americans have yet to create an estate plan. If you are one of them, there is no time like the present to get started. When you think of estate planning, you likely think about the distribution of your estate assets when you are gone. A well thought out estate plan, however, can help preserve those assets while you are alive as well as ensure that they provide for your loved ones after your death.
At Levine, Furman & Rubin, LLC we understand the highly personal, and often sensitive, nature of estate planning which is why we are dedicated to developing a lifelong relationship with you that will result in an estate plan that reflects your needs and wishes, both now and in the future. Contact us today by calling (732) 238-6000 or by filling out our online contact form so we can get started on your estate plan today.
Why Is Estate Planning Important?
Creating a comprehensive estate plan is important for several reasons. Without an estate plan in place, the estate you leave behind will be considered an “intestate” estate. When you die intestate, the state intestate succession laws dictate what happens to your estate assets, completely removing your ability to decide who receives gifts from your estate. Estate planning, however, is also important for other reasons. It allows you to plan for the possibility of your own incapacity, protect hard-earned assets, and even arrange for the support of a child with special needs, among many other things. The goals you can achieve with your estate plan are only limited by the amount of time and attention you devote to estate planning.
What Should Be Included in Your Estate Plan?
Estate planning is a highly individual endeavor. The components you decide to include in your comprehensive estate plan may not be the same as those found in someone else’s plan; however, some of the most common additions to a well thought out estate plan include:
- Incapacity planning – incapacity can strike anyone at any time. If a catastrophic accident caused your incapacity tomorrow, who would take over control of your assets? Who would make medical and personal decisions for you? Incapacity planning answers these questions.
- Probate avoidance – probate can be costly, both in terms of time and money. Assets held up in probate are not available for the intended beneficiaries until the conclusion of the probate process. Probate avoidance strategies can limit, if not erase, the need for probate.
- Retirement planning – your retirement plans will impact your estate plans and vice versa. To ensure that both plans work in harmony with one another, you need a retirement planning component within your overall estate plan.
- Asset protection – you have worked hard to acquire the assets that make up your estate. To avoid losing those assets to threats such as divorce, creditors, and spendthrift beneficiaries you need to include asset protection strategies in your estate plan.
- Medicaid planning — the longer you live, the greater the odds are that you (or a spouse) will need long-term care and the cost of that care will be significant. Medicaid will help cover your LTC costs; however, you must qualify for benefits first. Qualifying may be problematic if you did not include Medicaid planning in your estate plan far enough ahead of time.
The New Jersey Estate Planning attorneys at Levine, Furman & Rubin, LLC would be honored to help you create an individualized estate plan that reflects your estate planning goals and objectives, both now and in the future. Contact the team today by calling (732) 238-6000 or by filling out our online contact form.