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Estate Attorney Cherry Hill, NJ

Do You Need an Estate Planning Lawyer?

Estate Attorney Cherry Hill, NJ

When you are ready to develop an estate plan, it will be a good idea to work with an experienced, dedicated estate attorney Cherry Hill, New Jersey families trust who can intricately guide you through the process. Klenk Law consists of a skillful team of esteemed lawyers and paralegals who focus on estate planning, wills, trusts, and more. Together we assist families in the creation of a plan that will help to maintain control of their financial and physical assets.

Recognized throughout the community as being one of the top law firms for estate planning, we are ready to educate you on your legal options, so you get to make the best decision about your future and the future of your generations to come. If you would like to talk with a Cherry Hill estate attorney from our firm about your estate needs, please call our office today.

What Is Estate Planning

Estate planning involves a process of creating documentation that identifies your instructions for the distribution of all your assets and provides for your care upon your incapacitation or death. This process is different from other ones in that it can provoke an array of emotions and thoughts. Even so, it is prudent that there are no mistakes. Even one wrong word could cause a string of problems for your loved ones which is why you should retain the services of an estate lawyer. By doing so, you can ensure your legacy will be passed along in a precise manner.

Proper Estate Planning with an Estate Attorney Cherry Hill, NJ Residents Recommend Can:

  • Minimize taxes, court, and legal fees
  • Provide instructions for your care should you become incapacitated
  • Create clear instructions for the distribution of your assets
  • Provide instructions for a health care power of attorney
  • Include life, disability, and long-term care insurance
  • Name a guardian for children under 18 or who have special needs
  • Provide for a transfer of your business
  • Better preserve your estate
  • Prevent disputes amongst those named

Included in an estate plan might also be a will. A will identifies the people who inherit your property after you pass away. Without a will, the state could decide who gets your property. To learn more about wills, read my article, Last Will And Testament, All You Need to Know. You can also designate a guardian for any children in your will. You may also want to consider a living trust. By having a living trust, your assets will not go through probate, and you control who gets your assets after your death.  Read more to see if a Revocable Trust is Right for You.

Each estate attorney Cherry Hill, NJ client depends on our firm to assist people and families through:

  • Creating an estate plan that is practical, legal, and works
  • Prevent excessive taxes and court uprisings
  • Avoid family disputes
  • Preserve the legacy and assets of our clients

Disabilities, tragedies, deaths, and unforeseeable circumstances do happen. For this reason, everyone should have a plan in place that ensures loved ones remain in control of all assets. If you need help with any of the following services, please reach out to an estate attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ from Klenk Law:

Feel the Difference with an Estate Attorney Cherry Hill, NJ Locals Rely On

We want to give our clients peace of mind.  Know that your assets and future of your loved ones are secure. To learn more, we encourage you to call an estate attorney Cherry Hill, NJ.  Contact us to talk to an experienced estate planning lawyer from Klenk Law today.

Am I Liable for My Loved One’s Debt?     

When a loved one passes away, an estate attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ understands that those left behind are conscious of the physical possessions and the money that will need to be distributed. While all of this is something that needs to be done, one large looming issue is any debt that is left behind. Where does the debt go? Who is responsible? The probate process begins and many loved ones are not only left with the loss of a loved one, but also with creditors demanding payment.   

As a Cherry Hill, NH estate attorney can explain, when someone passes away, their property, possessions, and their finances are distributed. This may be done by an administrator that is named by the will of the deceased. If there is not a will or an administrator is not appointed, then the courts will take over the estate. This is a process known as probate. During this process, which can take anywhere between nine months and a year and a half in the state of New Jersey, the following occurs:

  •            Validity of a will is confirmed
  •            Property is transferred
  •            Financial responsibilities are named

Your Credit Rating Doesn’t Matter Any More If You Die. But Creditors Still Exist.

Once an individual has passed away, they are no longer able to pay creditors. However, that does not mean that the creditors will not continue to collect. If you are a joint owner on any accounts and the person who co-signed has passed away, you are still fully responsible for this debt. This includes a credit account or a loan payment amount such as a car or a mortgage.  

The loan fully transfers to your name and will remain a part of your credit, good or bad. For this reason, among others, one must be careful who they co-sign for a loan or a line of credit with.

There are many cases in which there was no cosigner, the deceased was the only person on the debt.  Generally speaking, the debt dies with them. Yet, that does not stop creditors from attempting to get payment. Typically, the estate is sold to pay for what remains of the debt.  If the amount made from the sales does not cover the debt, the remaining balance is written off.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the agency responsible for consumer protection, family members are not generally responsible for the remaining debt. They do not need to sell their assets in order to pay for the debts. Most certainly, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) makes it illegal to use abusive, unfair or deceptive techniques in order to collect a debt.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors have the right to obtain information from third parties in an attempt to get a debt paid for. They are legally allowed to call the deceased’s spouse, parent/guardian, executor or administrator. The calls are to acquire the name, address, and telephone number of someone who has the authority to pay for a debt.  They are only allowed to call once.  Unless they have a reason to believe that the initial information given was false.

Collectors cannot say anything about the debt to a third party, they can only make an attempt to retain contact information. However, even if you are legally authorized to pay a debt, you still have the right to stop creditors from calling you. Simply write a letter to the creditor letting them know that they are not allowed to call you anymore. A telephone call is not enough, the request must be in writing to maintain a paper trail. Keep a copy for yourself and pay for a “return receipt.”  This way you can document precisely when the creditor received the letter. After the receipt, the creditor may only make one phone call to you.  That is simply to verify that you will receive no more calls from them.      

3 Reasons Why You Should Not Plan to Die Without a Will

Planning your estate is one of those morbid affairs that most people do not want to think about let alone act on. No one wants to think about their own mortality, and taking action to safeguard your assets while you are alive certainly brings that topic into focus.

However, perhaps it’s time to consider consulting an estate attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ about planning a will. Read on to learn why you should not avoid making a will, and how a law firm like Klenek Law can help you put your affairs in order.

1. Probate Is an Expensive Process

Even if you do have a will when you pass away, your loved ones may have to go through the probate process. However, if you work with a estate attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ ahead of time, you can designate your property to your chosen loved ones, and you can even ensure that your property does not go into probate. You can safeguard your property with a living trust, for instance.

Having a clear legal will or a trust significantly speeds up the probate process, and it may decrease your family’s probate costs.

2. Your Family Might Fight Over Your Estate

If you don’t leave a clear and legal directive about who will inherit your belongings, your loved ones may not get what they expected to inherit. Without a will, your property will
 be distributed to your next of kin according to New Jersey’s intestacy laws.
even if you leave a will behind, family members can choose to contest your will in order to take possession of something they wanted to inherit from you.

However, if you create a will with the help of an estate attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ, it is less likely to be disputed in probate court.

3. Your Loved Ones Well-Being May Be In Jeopardy

If you have any children or pets, it is imperative that you contact Klenek Law to draw up your will as soon as possible. A key part of your will is your directive over guardianship of your children, pets, and other dependants.
If you should die tomorrow without a legal will in place, the lives and well-being of your dependants will be uncertain. Not only will they have to cope with your loss, but they may have to go into foster care or live with relatives they don’t know well until the courts decide on their permanent placement. 

4 Common Misconceptions About Estate Planning

Many people think they either don’t need to worry about estate planning at all or that they have plenty of time before they should start. These are common misconceptions that can create havoc in a family already grieving the loss of a loved one.

This added stress can be avoided with a little forethought and some help from an estate attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ. Let’s dispel some of the myths surrounding wills and estate planning.

1. Estate Planning is Only for The Wealthy

You do not need to have millions of dollars in assets or own properties across the world to benefit from an estate plan. Any belongings can cause division and arguments among surviving family members, especially ones that hold sentimental value. Items like family heirlooms, photos, and books may not hold substantial monetary value, but the memories and nostalgia associated with them are priceless.

2. I Have Plenty of Time

This is a very common mistake people make when considering the timeline of their wills and estate planning. It can be difficult to think about the end of your life and even harder to prepare for it, but this is a necessary process. Illness and injury can happen to anyone, regardless of age. Don’t wait until it’s too late; contact an estate attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ today.

3. I Don’t Need to Update My Estate Plan

It is recommended that you update your estate plan or will every three to five years. You should also make amendments any time there is a big life change, including weddings, births, adoptions, divorces, and changes in your assets. Adjustments to tax law can also warrant a review. Attorneys at Klenek Law can help you determine if any revisions need to be made to your existing will or estate plan.

4. My Family Already Know My Wishes

Strong emotions can make even the most loving and level-headed families react in negative ways. Having your wishes set out in your will lets your loved ones focus on the hard task of grieving and healing after your death, and it ensures that there is no confusion about how you want your estate handled. An estate attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ can ensure you have a clear plan for your family to follow.

Don’t let misinformation guide you in the wrong direction. Reach out to Klenek Law to get started on your estate planning.

6 Questions To Ask When Planning Your Estate

1. How Will My Property Be Transferred When I Die?

There are multiple ways that property can be transferred after death:

  • Valid will
  • Operation of law
  • Beneficiary designations
  • State law

An estate attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ can help you determine the best way to transfer your assets after you die.

2. Why Didn’t I Get Assets That Were Willed to Me?

The transfer of some property is controlled by operation of law, state law or beneficiary designation. Property that is transferred by operation of law or beneficiary designation is usually not affected by a will. For example, if your mother is designated as the sole beneficiary of your father’s life insurance policy, but he names you as a beneficiary in his will, the proceeds of the life insurance policy will probably still pass only to your mother. If there are conflicts between the will and other property transfer methods, an estate attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ may be able to assist you with resolving the issues.

3. Can I Write My Own Will?

You can write your will and you can even find will writing kits on websites or in stores. However, an improperly prepared will may be contested and your assets may not be distributed the way you wanted. An estate planning attorney at Klenk Law can help you create a will that will hold up in court and assist you with any other estate planning options you may need.

4. What Does a Trust Do?

A trust is a fiduciary agreement that designates a trustee to hold assets on behalf of one or more beneficiaries. Trusts may be used for a variety of reasons, such as reducing estate taxes. Trusts can also be used to avoid probate, maintain privacy, shield assets from creditors and provide for dependants with disabilities. An attorney at Klenk Law can explain how a trust may benefit you and how to establish one.

5. What Happens If I Die Without a Will?

If you die without a will, the probate laws of your state determine how any property that isn’t transferred by operation of law or beneficiary designation is distributed. Even if you do not have many assets, it may be beneficial to create a will.

6. What Must I Do If I Am the Executor of an Estate?

The executor of an estate has many responsibilities, including filing and paying taxes for the estate. If you are unsure what you need to do, you may want to consult with an estate attorney.

Call an Estate Attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ for Help

If you are being harassed by creditors for repayment of a debt under someone who is deceased, you are able to file a complaint with the state Attorney General’s office. You may also want assistance in deciding what you are responsible for and what is covered by the estate. An estate attorney Cherry Hill, NJ clients recommend will be able to help you through this process. It is stressful enough having a loved one passes away, but to be harassed by creditors maybe just too much to handle. We are here and ready to help you! Call Klenk Law for your initial consultation.

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What Our clients are saying

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Stars

Klenk Law is an exceptional practice. Their fine lawyers and staff team up to produce excellent results for their clients. They excel at explaining the often cryptic laws and policies that govern estate planning right down to the complexities of the various "trust" frameworks. Peter himself manages each client together with his great team, and he has a rare quality to be both a walking encyclopedia of planning minutia and also one of the most likable lawyers I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. He is truly generous in intellect and in his personal approach to getting the "big picture" for complex family structures. I trust him implicitly to help me make the right choices for the future. In short, Klenk Law is a gem of a firm.

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Kevin K.

I was referred to Peter after my divorce to put documents together to protect my assets. He suggested a number of documents that would help protect my children and their future. Also, he put together wills, power of attorney and living wills. I initially spoke with him on the phone, he took 30-40 minutes to understand my situation and explain the benefits of having such documents. After a week or two, I met with him in his office and signed the documents. Everything else was remote phone calls and emails. He re-explained these documents and what whom to share. I am in good hands.

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Michael Wolfgang

Peter and the whole team at Klenk Law are top notch. They are thorough, efficient and understanding of client needs. He was able to tailor our estate planning needs just how we envisioned.

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Brandon. L

Peter was excellent. He explained everything very clearly and is super friendly. My wife and I originally tried using a lawyer through group legal coverage, but unfortunately the old adage - "you get what you pay for" - applied to the other lawyer, and we decided to go with a real professional.

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Peter J. Gutekunst, CFP®

I've worked with and known Peter Klenk and his associates for years. They are highly professional, diligent and truly experts in their field. By focusing on just wills, trusts, and estates, Klenk law has experienced every angle of estate planning and applied that knowledge to help prepare our clients with thorough and comprehensive documents.

Let us put our expertise to work for you.

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