Need to Make a Will or Settle an Estate?
Our Estate Planning Department Offers a Range of Services
The vast majority of individuals between the ages of 25 and 55 do not currently possess a Last Will & Testament, a Power of Attorney, or any kind of estate plan. Many people may think that estate planning is necessary only for the elderly or the very wealthy. However, the truth is that taking the time to consider what will become of your property and assets, is important for everyone. How your affairs should be handled, and who will handle them on your behalf, is just as important. Additionally, there is more to estate planning than simply drafting a will or trust leaving all of your earthly possessions to your spouse and children. Careful planning strategies are necessary to ensure that the finances you have worked your entire life to save are protected and distributed in accordance with your wishes. Further, decisions in the appointment of representatives and guardians are an important concern. In terms of estate planning, it is never too late (or too early) to ensure that your estate plan is in order.
At Keefe Law Firm, our estate attorneys encourage you to get started on planning your estate as soon as possible. Our goal is simply to help our clients achieve their personal wishes while considering any negative financial impact. Led by Keefe Law Firm Estate Planning Lawyer Michael J. Convery, our team of attorneys not only offers estate preparation services, we are also involved in the administration of our clients’ estates. This specialized area of legal practice includes the drafting of wills, powers of attorney and advanced healthcare directives, the probate of wills, preparing the settlement of executor and trustee accounts, trust and estate litigation, when necessary, and any other matters in order to develop your personal estate plan. Our lawyers will guide you through the process and ensure that all of your needs are addressed.
What Estate Issues Should I Consider When Writing a Will?
Estate planning allows you to control what happens to your assets, but can also give you control over your healthcare and final arrangements. A Keefe Law Firm estate Planning Lawyer can assist you in drafting a living will according to applicable New Jersey state laws. An attorney can also advise you on matters that you may not have considered, but which may be important to your estate plan. Such issues may include:
- Arrangements for minor children. If you have minor children, then your will should include provisions for their care, in the event of your death. You should name a guardian and you may also include details for managing property your children have or will inherit.
- Division of property. A will allows you to determine who will receive what property from you. Otherwise, your assets are divided based on New Jersey intestate laws, which may not be what you want.
- Establishment of a living trust. Depending on your circumstances, it may make sense to establish a trust for the transfer of assets to your heirs and beneficiaries. Our lawyers will review these considerations with you and make recommendations to fit your needs.
- Probate concerns. You may be able to make arrangements that allow your beneficiaries to avoid the probate process. Transfer-on-death accounts, trusts and/or joint property can make things easier for your heirs.
- Estate and inheritance taxes. If you have a sizable estate, then state and federal estate and/or inheritance taxes may be a concern.
- Healthcare arrangements and power of attorney. You should generally specify a party who has power of attorney for your healthcare and/or estate in general. You can also include specific arrangements for your future healthcare.
- Funeral arrangements. You may wish to include instructions for your final arrangements. Otherwise, you can appoint someone to make these decisions for you.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Settle a Loved One’s Estate?
After a loved one’s death, a probate lawyer is usually necessary to help probate the will and fulfill other requirements of the estate plan. If you need assistance with a loved one’s will, then a probate lawyer at Keefe Law Firm can:
- Prepare and file all necessary documents. The probate process can be complex, but a lawyer can handle the legal aspects and ensure all documents are in order.
- Locate assets. A lawyer can find and collect all estate assets, including non-probate assets like trusts. This is essential for complex or disputed cases.
- Oversee sale and/or valuation of property. If the will stipulates the sale of certain property, then an attorney can oversee this process. Additionally, your lawyer can find the value of property if you wish to keep certain assets.
- Administer bank accounts, life insurance and/or retirement accounts. A lawyer can gather all assets, such as life insurance payments, for later distribution. If your attorney is also the executor of the estate, then he or she may also be in charge of the estate bank account.
- Advise you on payment of remaining bills and debts. If your loved one left any bills or outstanding debts, your probate lawyer can offer you advice on settling these accounts.
- Advise you on estate and/or inheritance taxes. A lawyer can tell you whether you will owe taxes on your inheritance, and may advise you on how to pay them.
- Distribute assets. At the end of the probate process, an attorney can assist the executor in distributing the assets and property.
- Handle estate litigation. In circumstances involving disputes or a contested or defective will, then litigation may be necessary to settle the estate. A lawyer can represent you in court so that you receive the assets you deserve.
Need Help Writing or Interpreting a Will? Call Our New Jersey Estate Planning Lawyer
The experienced estate planning and probate attorneys at Keefe Law Firm work with clients to develop a plan that fits each client’s unique needs. This careful planning may involve initiating gifts to family members, succession plans for passing down the family business, strategies involving charitable contributions or establishing private foundations. Other strategies may involve drafting documents to create family limited partnerships and trusts. We can also assist family members in executing a will or estate plan after a loved one’s death.
To schedule an initial meeting with our New Jersey estate attorneys, call (866) 575-5000 or contact us online today.