Did you know?
If you die without making your Will the laws of Intestacy will then be applied to your estate. Those who die “intestate” usually make the assumption that their possessions/estate will go automatically to their next of kin. Unfortunately, this is not the case and many families suffer financial difficulties and unnecessary heartache as a result. You make a Will for the sake of your loved ones. The purpose of a Will and other Estate Planning documents is to assure that your property is distributed to your heirs (remaining family) in the manner you choose. If you have minor children, your Will should name the individual who you wish to be their guardian.
What will happen to my children if I die without a Will?
If you die without a Will (intestate), your estate will be divided in accordance with the laws of the State of New Jersey. This can create problems if you leave a spouse and children, whose share are determined by law, not by you. If you have children under the age of 18, it is essential that you appoint guardians for them in the event of your demise. Otherwise the Courts may have to decide and this may be a far cry from what you would have wished. Including this direction in your Will would also enable you to make appropriate provision for financial support to be given to the Guardians and perhaps the family home, which might otherwise have to be sold! Failure to prepare a Will, or to update your existing Will, can result in conflict among your heirs and possibly expensive, time-consuming court proceeding.
A Living Will, also known as an "advanced health care directive” provides guidance to others about your wishes in the event you are unable to make decisions about your medical care. Some of the most famous court cases about the right to die have involved those in their 20's. Some good reasons to write down your wishes about end-of-life medical care:
- You might be too sick to express yourself when the time comes. If medical treatment might prolong your death, you may specify that treatment be halted. Your family might disagree about what to do, leaving doctors in a tough spot and more likely to keep you on life support in the event of a long-term health crisis.
- You can help your family with the really difficult decision of whether or not to take you off life support.
- Living wills often include legal protection for doctors and hospitals, so they don't get sued for honoring your request.
A Living Will appoints a Designated Health Care Representative to make decisions for you, if needed. It also contains your instructions concerning whether you wish to be kept alive by artificial means. It will allow you to decline aggressive life support if you're close to death, without affecting your right to get pain medicine or other “comfort care.”
Everyone needs a living Will! Don't tear your family apart when they need each other the most.
Take charge of your own destiny and contact us today to prepare your Living Will!
If you're concerned about the how's and why's of your estate, and the future security of your loved ones, you owe it to yourself to consider an estate plan. Evaluate some of the benefits of estate planning, and realize that regardless of the size of your estate, there are many alternatives for accomplishing your planning goals.
What is an estate plan?
Why do I need an estate plan?
Learn more about estate planning by contacting us now for a FREE consultation!
Planning for Disabled Individuals
Estate Planning for a disabled family member often presents unique problems. While the relative wants to provide for that individual, an inheritance to an individual with disabilities can affect entitlement to government benefits, which are based on income. If the individual is in government sponsored housing, the government can assert a right to all of the inheritance.
The solution to this problem is often a Special Needs Trust, either as part of a Will or as a stand-alone document. We have a good deal of experience in law involving disabled individuals, and can assist in preparation of a Special Needs Trust and other estate documents.