Two Part Post on Real Estate and Your Estate: Part Two

In general, probate refers to the legal proceedings by which your assets are analyzed and then distributed by the court. Everything that you own, including your land is distributed according to the MS intestate statutes. It can take up to one year for a probate case to make its way through the court system and it can also be extremely expensive as a result of this delay and the costs of an estate attorney. Probate is also a very public process which is one of the primary reasons that if you intend to pass on real estate to your loved ones, you should do so by using a will, trust, or other estate planning tool. real estate probate

Consulting with a lawyer sooner rather than later will give you a broad overview of all the things you need to consider in the estate planning process for your real estate. If you have a vacation property or a primary home, the most important question to ask is whether or not it is designated as tenancy-in-common or joint tenancy. In a joint tenancy situation, two individuals own the property with equal shares. This means that if one person passes away, the ownership of the property is automatically transferred to the other owner without a will. This is classified as right of survivorship. All that is necessary in order to retain ownership is to get a copy of the death certificate recorded for the deceased joint tenant.

Common tenancy, on the other hand, means that two or more individuals own a property in varying portions. Joint tenancy means that equal shares are maintained by individuals at the same time but common tenancy can occur where owners are added or removed from the property’s co-ownership.

Tenants-in-common do not have survivorship rights unless the deceased’s will classifies that his or her interest in such a property is to be divided amongst surviving owners. Otherwise the share of the property goes to his or her real estate and a will can direct where that share will go. After an individual inherits a property, he or she is subject to whatever mortgage exists. That person needs to put together a will as quickly as possible in the event that he or she were to become incapacitated or pass away. The heir can then choose to sell or to keep the property.


Will You Still Need Estate Planning if the Estate Tax is Abolished?

President Trump’s campaign platform expected an abolishment of the estate tax. This could lead some individuals to think that they won’t need estate planning in the event that he is able to follow through on his promises. The current estate tax sits at 40% and Trump intends to repeal it. The estate tax laws that were in place for 2017 were actually established four years ago. These allow exemptions of up to $5.49 million for an individual and $10.98 million for a couple in 2017. 

When a spouse passes away and leaves everything to their spouse, there is also no tax collected. This means that repealing the estate tax would only have significant implications for those individuals with a net worth higher than $11 million. This is why whether or not there is a federal estate tax in place, you will always need the essentials when it comes to estate planning. remember that estate planning is about more than what happens when it becomes time to pass on your property to individuals you love after you pass away.

It is also about establishing important documents like powers of attorney and healthcare proxies so that individuals are equipped to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. With or without an estate tax in place, you will need to approach the estate planning process to consider your individual issues such as your personal property, management of your pets, assisting with special needs, planning for a child, handling your digital afterlife and many other issues associated with the estate planning process.


The Biggest Mistakes That Executors Make

Who you choose to serve as the executor of your personal estate is an important selection. It is one that needs to be made with careful planning and after a consultation with your estate planning lawyer. Unfortunately, executors can make mistakes in the management of your estate and this could add to additional frustration or anxiety for your loved ones after you’ve passed away.

This is why it is essential to identify someone who is not only comfortable with managing your estate but who will also have the interest to do so. Serving as an estate executor is an important responsibility. Some of the most common mistakes associated with executors include:

  • Not understanding the probate process and failing to hire an attorney.
  • Having no clear outcome in mind such as settling with heirs, maximizing the estate value, paying off the taxes or getting peace of mind.
  • Waiting too long to market your real estate.
  • Securing and maintaining real estate without understanding the responsibilities.
  • Choosing friends instead of experienced professionals to do the right job such as a probate administration attorney.
  • Not submitting paperwork or documents in an appropriate time period.

All of these can have significant ramifications for the beneficiaries of your estate. It is important that the person you select or choose as your executor has confidence in their own abilities to manage it and has the time and interest to do so.


Estate Planning From Inventory to Structure

Once you know that you need a solid estate plan to help you accomplish your goals, the next step is to conduct an inventory. You have to know what you have and what might be included in your estate before you attend a meeting with your estate planning lawyer. Many people find themselves overwhelmed by the prospect of putting together an estate plan, but the good news is that it does not have to be difficult. estate planning lawyer NJ09

Make sure you consider the following in putting together an inventory:

  • Recent statements from your brokerage, retirement, and bank accounts
  • All liabilities, including your mortgage
  • All physical assets like cars and jewelry inside your home
  • All your insurance policies, including info on death benefits and cash values
  • Reference all the locations of your safety deposit boxes

After meeting with your estate planning, you’ll have a better sense of what you need to do in order to make the most of your estate plan. It’s critical that you follow through since your estate plan is only as valuable as the structure and the follow-up you implement. This means that if you have set up a trust, you need to fund it properly. You need to make sure that any property you have mentioned in your estate plan has the right titles, too. These might seem like small steps, but they actually matter a lot if something were to happen to you. Taking the right action now makes it easier to stay on top of the necessary changes in your plan overall, too.

Ready to talk about how to make the most of estate planning? Schedule a consultation with a New Jersey estate planning lawyer now to learn more about what you need to know.

Estate Planning for Younger Families

Many younger families put off the process of engaging in estate planning or consulting with an attorney because they think they are too healthy, too young or simply cannot afford it. Others may have trouble thinking about what might happen to their family members if something were to happen to them. This is particularly true of parents of new children. NJ estate planning

While no individual is expecting to pass away while their family is still relatively young, planning for the possibility is responsible and can give you a great deal of peace of mind about what would happen to your family if something happened to you. Some of the most important steps involved in estate planning for a young family include:

  • Naming a guardian for your minor children
  • Naming a trustee or executor for your estate
  • Naming someone to manage your children’s inheritance
  • Outlining instructions for the distributions of your assets
  • Planning for disability
  • Reviewing your insurance needs
  • Having a plan in place that can be adjusted based on your individual concerns and needs

Consulting with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney will give you a place to turn when you have questions and ensure that you have an estate plan that is evolving with relevant state and federal laws as well as your unique family needs. Major family events such as the birth of a new child, a divorce or a remarriage can all trigger unique estate planning consequences and having an attorney who is already familiar with you and your family can help you adjust quickly so that your family is always protected. Planning ahead for disability as well as other health insurance concerns are some additional benefits of estate planning that go beyond thinking about what might happen when you pass away.

Financial Advisor Stole Nearly $900,000

Finding the right people to help you with your estate and your financial affairs is more than just good advice- it can help protect everything you have worked so hard to build. Make sure you investigate the background of any professional you intend to work with so that you have peace of mind about your future.

It is always important to carefully vet and obtain references and testimonials for individuals that you wish to include in any aspect of your future such as your retirement planning, your financial planner, and your estate planning attorney. A new story has emerged indicating that an individual in New Jersey stole approximately $900,000 that a client had given that person to invest in mutual funds.

Money was given to a financial advisor in March 2011 to be invested in mutual funds overseen by an investment firm. Instead the individual spent the money on business and personal expenses including funds spent in a car dealership, a country club, lending institutions and a private school.

The client requested updates and statements on his investments and fictitious financial statements were provided. It is always important to ensure that you are working with someone who is reputable and committed to carrying out your best interests. But when it comes to your finances you will need to do this for both you as well as any aging parents who may have similar concerns.           

Five Steps You Need to Take in Order to Manage Your Estate Planning Appropriately

Planning ahead for your own future can be difficult because many people do not want to come to terms with their own mortality. It can be even easier to skip out on the estate planning process if you believe that you do not have the wealth necessary to warrant these documents. However, to ensure that your estate is not decimated by taxes, drive through the court system or the prompt that causes all of your family members to argue with one another, it’s important to take these five steps.

Consulting with the lawyer can help you navigate this process and ensure that all of your wishes are carried out. Far too many people fail to plan ahead for incapacitation or their own death and this can leave family members being left to interpret things with the assistance of the court.

Thankfully, these five tips can make things easier for everyone.

  • First of all, begin by taking an inventory of all assets and liabilities to determine what’s included in your estate as well as your net worth.
  • Identify who needs to be listed on all of your relevant beneficiary forms and set an annual calendar reminder to update this, if necessary.
  • Determine whether your executor will be an attorney, a corporate trustee or a family member.
  • Determine the type of plan that makes the most sense for you, incorporating concerns about privacy and court oversight.

Identify an attorney who has experience in the field to assist you with your estate planning documents including your will. It is far better to consult with an individual rather than online resources because there is far too much room for error when attempting to accomplish estate planning on your own.

Using a Trust with Special Purpose Language in Order to Protect Your Beneficiaries from Themselves

There are many different situations in which you may want to put together a trust that helps to protect your beneficiaries from hurting themselves in the future. Some examples include children who are struggling with addiction, those who are spendthrifts and individuals suffering from mental illness.

As a parent, there’s no doubt that you have concerns about their care and the most appropriate way to leave behind assets to assist with that care. However, estate planning might differ in this situation when compared with other types of families. Using a trust with special purpose language is frequently the answer.

Traditional estate planning goals can be accomplished with a trust such as minimizing taxes, ensuring that the intended beneficiaries are named and avoiding probate However, it can also be tailored for more unique family situations involving addiction or illness.
Parents can now add language that allows the appointed trustee to deal with the bad as well as the good, thereby incentivizing a child to meet certain requirements in order to receive a distribution from the trust. For example, you might outline that staying on a certain medication that helps the child control their addiction is necessary. proper planning should also include conversations about a HIPAA release and healthcare power of attorney after the child reaches age 18. Consulting with a knowledgeable New Jersey estate planning lawyer is strongly recommended.  

Disconnect Between Parents and Children on Estate Planning: New Study

Most people recognize what estate planning covers in a basic sense, but plenty of research shows that people have trouble following through on developing their own estate planning documents. A new study also shows that there’s a lack of communication or understanding across generations as well. The study from Fidelity identified that many American families may be less prepared than they realize when it comes to leaving behind a legacy and an estate plan. NJ estate planning

Up to 90% of parents and their adult children understood the need for estate planning in general and the value of having clear conversations about it. However, parents reported that the vast majority of them had already had these discussions with children, but that was not echoed in the children’s own answers. Nearly 70% of parents said they had talked about incapacity and estate planning with their kids, but just over half of the adult child respondents affirmed that.

The study also found that nearly 70% of children and parents were not on the same page when it came to the timeline and circumstances appropriate to discuss estate planning. As it relates to legacy planning and important documents empowering someone else to step in on your behalf if something happens to you, sooner is always better. No one can anticipate an accident but plenty of families have had a bad experience trying to work through a loved one’s injury and sudden incapacitation without the right estate planning.

Waiting too long might only make things more difficult for your family members if they are forced into guessing your wishes or, worse yet, the courts have to step in. Planning ahead just in case is a good way to have peace of mind about what will happen if you are suddenly unable to make decisions for yourself. To learn more about the estate planning process, contact an experienced lawyer who can help you structure a plan in line with your needs.

Do You Have a Complete Estate Planning Strategy?

These days, the basic will simply won’t cut it for the vast majority of people approaching their estate plan. This is especially true for those individuals who have amassed wealth over the course of their lifetime.

A comprehensive estate planning strategy includes multiple components beyond planning for your assets to be passed on to another generation. For example, it would also include consideration of your philanthropic goals. In conjunction with your will, estate planning strategies and your philanthropic goals should all be included. 

The right estate planning lawyer can help you determine what should be incorporated into your estate plan. The good news is that your goals can be directly aligned with the documents and tools you use to plan ahead for your future. You can think carefully about your own retirement planning and your estate planning intentions so that things will be as easy as possible for your heirs.

Estate planning should always also look at your goals for while you’re living, too. Too many people focus just on what will happen to their assets after you pass away, but you can also construct documents with your plans for while you’re still alive, such as your healthcare materials to allow someone else to make decisions for you if you become unable to do so. Your power of attorney documents, for example, can give you peace of mind that someone can step in on your behalf if you become incapacitated.