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Useful ways that individuals can prepare to discuss their estates

Planning to speak to an attorney about one's personal estate can be depressing because it anticipates a rather upsetting topic: one's own death. However, making the decision to prepare an estate plan in advance of passing can save a New Jersey resident's loved ones considerable time and money. There are several steps that individuals working out the details of their estates can take to make planning even easier.

First, before an individual meets with his attorney to plan his estate he should pull together any existing testamentary documents he may have. Some individuals may have executed wills that they need to change due to marriage, divorce or the births and adoptions of kids. Replacing a testamentary will with a new version requires specific attention and should be handled with legal assistance.

Next, a person can make a comprehensive list of family members that outlines relationships made through marriage, birth and adoption. An inheritance can pass both up and down a family line. By drawing together all names in one place a person can avoid overlooking an individual he wants to include in his estate plan. The individual can also note who he would or would not want to serve as a guardian for his minor children if he passed before they reached adulthood.

Additionally, an individual should prepare a complete list of his assets, obligations and other financial issues so that he can go over it with his legal professional. When assets are improperly managed they can be subject to a heavy estate tax that can deplete the estate's overall value. He should also prepare a list of any questions that he has regarding his estate and wealth.

This post only touches on a few of the important issues people should consider before sitting down with attorneys to prepare their estates. Many other factors should be addressed in the estate planning process. However, New Jersey attorneys who practice estate planning can effectively guide their clients through the process of protecting their wealth and passing it down to those they love.

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