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Many fail to protect their estates with an estate plan

A frequently forgotten document for even the most conscientious people in New Jersey is an estate plan. Most people will organize everything including insurance, health coverage and more, the estate plan is left in the background. Perhaps it is something they think can wait. It might be a pure lack of willingness to admit that the inevitable will occur and the inheritance for loved ones through an estate plan must be accounted for after death. Regardless, it is imperative to think about wills, trusts and other alternatives with an estate plan as soon as possible.

Statistics show that around 42 percent of people in the U.S. have an estate plan. That is a worryingly low number. For people who have children under 18, that reduces to 36 percent. Close to half say that they have failed to take care of this important issue because they simply have not "gotten around to it." The combination of not wanting to admit that they will die and thinking there is plenty of time to do it are factors in this decision.

There is a misconception that only those with large estates should take the necessary steps to have an estate plan. This is a mistake that can be costly for the family after the person dies. People who have a family should have an estate plan to protect their loved ones. This is especially true for those who have children under the age of 18. Not having an estate plan leaves those children in limbo with a legitimate question as to who will get custody. Dying without a will is referred to as "intestate." In such a circumstance, the state will determine how the assets are distributed, which may not be to one's liking.

It might seem to be a difficult issue to navigate, but once the person decides that it is important to have an estate plan, they will feel relief at protecting their loved ones, their finances and making sure their children are cared for. There are many different parts to creating estate plans. Having legal assistance from an attorney who is experienced in estates is the first step to having a comprehensive and organized estate plan.

Source: njherald.com, "Put your plans in writing," Lori Comstock, Sept. 8, 2017

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