Across the world, nearly everyone should be making decisions over how they are planning for their future; one critical component to this process is to reach out to our NJ estate planning lawyer. Estate planning can be beneficial to many individuals and not just the rich. At Klenk Law, our team of experienced New Jersey legal professionals can assist with your estate planning needs. While the process of estate planning can feel daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Nearly 50% of all Americans put off estate planning, a staggering number that leaves those who fail to do estate planning at risk for having their voices silenced for the long term. Getting a head start on your estate plan allows you to be ready for the future. When you have an estate plan set up, it will give you and your loved ones peace of mind. By taking the time to prepare information prior to our meeting properly, our team can assist with developing your estate planning in a way that takes the pressure off while also providing peace of mind in knowing that your wishes are clearly outlined.
An estate plan consists of many legal documents and putting one together can be quite a long process. It can be overwhelming and emotionally difficult, since you are making decisions that will have a lasting impact on your loved ones. The documents contain information about healthcare decisions to be made in your later stages of life, as well as the security of your assets and who they will be handed down to after your death. Making an estate plan can be a challenge if you have high-value assets or multiple assets.
An estate plan will not look the same for everyone. You get to choose which documents to include according to your goals and preferences. Common documents included in an estate plan include a will, living will, trust, powers of attorney, and advanced directives. No matter what you decide to include in your estate plan, it should be clear and highly detailed so that it can be executed according to your exact wishes.
Entrusting a skilled estate planning lawyer who understands your concerns and will help you accomplish your estate planning goals can make the process more manageable. Estate planning can be highly complex, so having the help you need can take a lot off of your shoulders. They can assist you with any part of the estate plan, suggesting recommendations on how you should organize it. With the support of a lawyer, you can be reassured that your needs will be taken care of.
At Klenk Law, we are committed to helping you with every part of the estate planning process. Once you have scheduled an appointment with our firm, you should take the time to prepare for our first meeting. While navigating the estate planning process can feel overwhelming, with our assistance, we can develop a plan that clearly outlines your wishes for the future. If you have any questions about how estate planning works, or need an explanation of the legal terms, we are happy to help you. There is a lot to understand when it comes to estate planning, so we want to assist you and ensure that you have the guidance that you need to create the plan that’s right for you.
You have worked hard to build your life, and you deserve to see your assets distributed and your wishes carried out. If you do not make an estate plan, there is a risk that the state will not make decisions according to your wishes. Things may be left up to interpretation if you do not provide clear instructions regarding the distribution of your assets. Knowing essential estate planning tips can help you avoid pitfalls that can be difficult or costly to correct. By providing the following, our NJ estate planning lawyer can help make critical decisions for the future that help ensure your loved ones can carry out your legacy:
When at your first appointment, there will be much to discuss, and it can be easy to get off track or feel lost over what to happen next. Before your first appointment, take the time to put together a list of questions you may have regarding the process. By doing this ahead of time, you will make sure that you stay on task and feel as though your meeting with us is as productive as possible.
Chances are, you already have a good idea of who you want to manage your estate, take care of your children, and leave your assets. However, sometimes, people may still feel unsure. Start thinking about these critical decisions and list their important details such as name, address, date of birth, ages, etc. Our team can provide assistance through this process by ensuring that all beneficiaries are identified and that you have backup heirs, executors, and guardians should they be necessary.
Information regarding your assets, real estate property, and personal property is imperative when developing an estate plan. While taking an inventory may take some time, bringing this information can help our team review your situation and develop options for you. For example:
Most people dread the process of estate planning. However, when you put the initial effort into gathering information before your first meeting, you can ensure that you can move through this process efficiently.
A living trust is an estate planning tool that may help you avoid the probate process for some or all of your assets and minimize taxes on your estate. It is a living trust because you create it during your lifetime, and it can be either revocable or irrevocable. The primary differences between the two are whether you can take assets out of the trust if you choose to and how it is identified for tax filing purposes.
A revocable living trust can allow assets to be excluded from the probate process. The trust becomes active when you sign it, and it is set up using your Social Security number as the tax ID. The benefit of a revocable living trust is that you retain control of your assets throughout your life. You can move assets in and out of the trust, and if you want to, you can dissolve the trust completely. Once in the trust, assets become the trust’s property, but you as the grantor can act as the trustee and access them as you wish. While a revocable trust protects assets from the probate process, it does not protect them from creditors. The trust remains revocable until your death when it will automatically become irrevocable.
An irrevocable living trust becomes the owner of your assets and has its own tax ID number. Once the property is in this type of trust, it is usually there to stay until your death. Like the revocable trust, an irrevocable living trust can also keep the assets it contains out of the probate process. Once in the irrevocable trust, your assets belong to your beneficiaries under the management of the trustee you select. While you typically cannot move assets out of an irrevocable trust, they are safe from your creditors as well as the tax liability on the income the assets generate. Since trust assets are held separately from your estate, you may be protected from estate taxes by reducing the total amount of the estate, possibly below the taxable threshold.
There are other types of trust designed to meet specific estate planning goals. Whether you want to avoid probate, minimize estate taxes or simplify the execution of your final wishes, a living trust may be the right tool for you. Note that state trust laws vary, so call our living trust lawyer to determine the laws in your state and schedule a consultation.
You will most likely have a will as part of your estate plan. One of the items you will have to address in your will is who you want to oversee the distribution of your assets as specified in your will. This person is referred to as the executor. The executor is in charge of administering the decedent’s estate. This not only includes distributing assets and property per the instructions left in the will but also overseeing any other financial matters that the decedent had.
When a person dies, their estate is required to go through the probate process. Typically, either the executor or the NJ estate planning lawyer overseeing the estate will file the will with the probate court that has jurisdiction over the location where the decedent lived. This process typically takes about one year before the estate can be settled.
The first step the probate court will take is to approve the person who has been named the executor in the will. If there is no will, no executor named in the will, the person named declines to be executor, or if the will is invalid, the court will also appoint someone as executor. The executor must be 18 years of age or older.
If a person knows they will be an executor, it can be very helpful to address certain issues long before the decedent passes away. This will make the executor’s job easier, as well as make the probate process smoother. The testator – this is the person whose will it is – can make a list of all of their assets and debts for the executor. This can include all of bank and investment accounts, such as stocks, retirement accounts, etc. All debts should also be listed so the executor is aware of what will need to be paid before funds can be distributed to heirs.
The testator should also provide the contact information for their NJ estate planning lawyer and any other financial professionals that could be involved in their finances. They can also provide the executor with any funeral arrangements they have made ahead of time.
During the probate process, it is up to the executor to validate and pay all debts against the estate. No funds from an estate can be distributed until all of these debts are paid in full. The executor may also not take their fee until these debts are paid.
The executor must also determine all assets of the estate, including stocks and bonds, real estate, vehicles, jewelry, collections, and any other items of value that may or may not have been addressed in the will.
The executor is also responsible for reporting all of this information as part of the probate process. An estate planning lawyer in NJ can be of valuable legal assistance for anyone who has been appointed as an executor.
While developing an estate plan may seem relatively straightforward, the process can be complicated without guidance from a professional. To ensure that you receive an estate plan that leaves nothing to the imagination. With our help, you will receive:
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Guidance from a skilled and experienced estate planning can help you better organize your estate plan so that you are able to implement the goals you want to achieve. For many people, creating a will may not come into mind until their later years in life. However, getting an early start can save you a lot of time and give you peace of mind.
Talk to a skilled estate planning lawyer to learn about how you can receive guidance to accomplish your estate planning goals today.
While estate planning can feel like a huge undertaking, it doesn’t have to be. To learn more about the services offered at Klenk Law, schedule an appointment with our NJ estate planning lawyer as soon as possible.
Peter Klenk made a complex subject understandable and allowed us to move forward with our estate planning. He was patient with our questions and creative in the solutions he proposed.
Excellent, knowledgeable team handled a complicated issue with superb results.
Peter Klenk ESQ is a thoughtful and capable attorney who we work with on estate planning issues. His firm recently provided us with new Wills, Power of Attorneys and our instructions regarding major health issues. These documents are important for estate and life planning. Peter and his team are masters in the complexities of Estate Law. We highly recommend Peter and his Associates to provide thoughtful advice and outstanding work on these complex issues of the law. Make sure your estate planning documents are up to date, and Peter can be relied on to do an excellent job. Well done Peter!
Mr. Klenk has been easy to work with. I am confident he has given me good advice whenever I have called upon him. He has shown good work ethic and depth of knowledge in preparation of estate, wills, and trusts that I have worked with him on.
Professional, cheerful, thorough and fast. Peter responded to my request for a consultation right away, and within just a few days my last will and living will were done. Rates are standard.