Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning

An estate plan is one of the most important gifts you can leave your loved ones. Without a strong estate plan, your family will be left to the whims of the State of New Jersey and the IRS. That would be an additional burden in an already trying time.

In many situations, people are shocked to learn that a “simple” will can often leave a tax bill and administrative burden behind for their loved ones. Beyond a simple will or living trust, I can help you plan for the following issues and many others:

  • Reducing Death Taxes. If you think death taxes don’t apply to you, you’re probably wrong. New Jersey has its own separate estate tax, and it applies even to estates too small to pay federal estate tax. Without specialized planning ahead of time, the NJ Estate Tax can cause financial loss and paperwork headaches for the loved ones you leave behind. With careful planning ahead of time in a specialized will, you can reduce or completely eliminate both your state and federal tax burden.
  • Protecting Your Children from their own Potential Future Divorce.  The largest single threat to your loved ones’ inheritances often is their potential future divorces.  With proper planning in your will, we can create a financial safety net for your loved ones that won’t be lost even if they find themselves in a messy divorce or bankruptcy.
  • Planning for Minors.  If the worst were to happen and you were to leave your minor children behind, who would care for them?  Who would manage the funds you left behind to finance their future education and other needs? These questions should be answered in a solid estate plan.
  • Planning for Your Own Future Health Issues.  If you were unable to take care of yourself, who would you want to make decisions for you? You can avoid nasty family fights in the future by planning for this ahead of time. If you were to require nursing home care, would all of your assets be lost to the nursing home and Medicaid?  Pre-planning can help ensure that doesn’t happen.
  • Planning for the Unmarried and Childfree.  Estate planning can be even more important for the unmarried and/or those without children. The New Jersey Inheritance Tax is inherently unfair and taxes the unmarried and childfree more than married individuals with children.  This makes pre-planning for Inheritance Tax even more important.
  • Ongoing Maintenance of your Estate Plan.  If you don’t update your estate plan regularly, it becomes ineffective. Unfortunately, it’s tough to remember to dig up your documents regularly and schedule a review with your attorney. You may not even know how frequently you should do so. The solution to this problem is my optional Concierge Service, which takes all of the stress of remembering to review your affairs off of you. See the menu bar at the right of the page for further details.

With the tax, legal, and financial environment constantly in flux, it’s important than ever to select an attorney knowledgeable in this very specific area of the law. I’m proud to be a Board-Certified Estate Planning Law Specialist, a certification granted by the Estate Law Specialist Board (an organization accredited by the American Bar Association). This certification requires rigorous testing and continuing education standards to demonstrate excellence in wills, trusts, and estates.