Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning
To schedule a consultation call 856-825-0700.
Estate planning is not only for persons with high incomes or significant assets. A simple Will and Living Will significantly reduce the burden placed upon family members in an already stressful time and may help to avoid disagreements and doubts between family members. With a properly drafted instrument you will have power to appoint a responsible person and clearly set out your intentions and desires, giving you peace of mind.
What is a Will?
A Will is an instrument by which your wishes regarding your property (estate) are relayed to a responsible individual (executor) upon your death. If you die without a Will (die intestate), your estate will be distributed pursuant to New Jersey Statute (Intestacy Laws). In most cases, especially if your wishes would differ from the Intestacy Laws, a Will serves to simplify the process of distributing your estate for the executor, as well as the people whom you designate to receive your estate (devisees). Without a Will, the process is more complicated and burdensome to the Administrator, and may result in arguments between relatives and friends as to the distribution of your estate.
A Will may be a very simple instrument, designating an executor, devisees, and how you wish your estate to be distributed among them. More complicated Wills may establish trusts for minors, or set out responsibilities for certain individuals as related to the estate. If you are leaving your estate to minor children, it may be advisable to establish a trust and a trustee, to receive this portion of the estate until the minor reaches a designated responsible age.
Although anyone can write a valid Will if certain requirements are met, it is advisable to consult with an attorney. An attorney will advise you of the best way to set out certain responsibilities and distributions, and draft phrases appropriately to unambiguously set out your wishes.
The fee for the preparation of a simple Will, including a trust provision, is $175.00. Reciprocal Wills for a husband and wife or domestic partners may be prepared for a total price of $275.00, as long as both Wills have essentially the same terms. The price includes the witnessing of your Will in our office, and the notarization of your signature.
What is a Living Will?
We have all heard horror stories of hospitalized patients receiving treatment which they would not have wanted, or prolonging their death contrary to their wishes. A Living Will serves to definitively set out your wishes in case you are unable to do so, and appoints a representative to act on your behalf. The terms in a Living Will may simply direct the treating physician to refrain from resuscitation should your heart stop, or instruct the provider to take all efforts to resuscitate you. A Living Will may also instruct medical providers to withhold or provide hydration, nourishment, or pain medication. You may also set out specific instructions should doctors determine that there is no hope for you to regain consciousness or recover from a coma.
Often family members are unaware of your wishes in these matters, are unwilling to follow your wishes, or their instructions are ignored by medical providers. In order to ensure that your wishes are followed, for peace of mind, a Living Will is an inexpensive investment.
The cost for the preparation of a Living Will, including notary service is $85.00.
What is a Power of Attorney?
Should you become suddenly disabled from a traumatic injury or condition, it may be necessary for a representative to go to Court to be appointed as a custodian to maintain your financial affairs, such as pay bills or operate a business. In Estate
Planning, a Power of Attorney may take effect upon your disability, and may be drafted as broadly or narrowly as you wish. You may give a responsible person the power to handle all of your financial affairs should you become disabled, or simply have access to a single bank account to pay a mortgage and utilities.
When you schedule a consultation to prepare a Power of Attorney, you should be ready to designate a responsible person to take care of your affairs, and an alternate, as well as an idea of how much responsibility you wish to give them. You should also speak with this individual to ensure that they are willing to take on this responsibility, and that you trust them. Please keep in mind that, upon your disability, this person will be responsible for your affairs. Typically, spouses give each other Power of Attorney, and an alternate in case both become disabled simultaneously. If you are unsure, your attorney will discuss your options with you at the consultation.
The cost for the preparation of a Power of Attorney, including notary fee is $115.00.
What is a Trust?
A trust is created by a grantor who transfers property to the trust for the benefit of another, the beneficiary. The trust and the distributions can be either explicitly authorized in the terms of the trust or at the discretion of the Trustee who is appointed by the Grantor.
The main two types of trusts are revocable and irrevocable. A revocable trust may be terminated by the grantor at anytime.
An irrevocable trust is exactly that, irrevocable. The Grantor does not have the ability to unilaterally terminate the trust or retake any of the corpus absent a substitution provision.
There are numerous variations of trusts, our office has the technical expertise to draft a trust that fits your needs. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience drafting Third Party Special Needs Trusts and First Party Special Needs Trusts for disabled individuals.
It is very important to note, an improperly or carelessly drafted trust is fraught with significant potential complications that can frustrate its very purpose and can result in adverse tax consequences.
Trusts are a versatile legal tool that can provide maximum flexibility in planning for the future. Trusts can remove assets from the grantor's estate for transfer tax purposes while including it for income tax purposes. This is to enhance the value of the gift. Gifting property that will appreciate locks in the value at the time of transfer. Trusts may also be used to shield assets from beneficiaries potential creditors and can prevent beneficiaries who would otherwise spend recklessly from wasting a potential gift due to fiscal irresponsibility. As you can see there are a wide range of uses of Trusts based on your specific set of facts and circumstances.
Be Prepared To Meet With Your Attorney
Estate Planning begins with a consultation with an attorney, who will review your circumstances, discuss your options and intentions and recommend the most appropriate course of action. Often clients need time to think about what they want, and consult with family members, business partners, their doctor, or clergy. By the time of your consultation, you should have an idea of how you wish your estate to be administered, what type of medical treatment you wish to receive or avoid, as well as choosing a responsible party and alternate to act as your Executor or Representative. Prior to your appointment, speak with your proposed representative to ensure that this person wishes to take on this obligation. Naming an alternate representative is advisable, should your first choice be unable or unwilling to take on the responsibility. If you wish to establish a trust, think about whom you would choose to be responsible.
Consultation & Fees
The attorneys at Jacob Law Group are available to consult with clients in Estate Planning and prepare all necessary documents. Frederick A. Jacob, the senior partner and member of the firm, with over 30 years of experience in representing clients in estate matters is available for the preparation of Living Trusts, complex Wills, and complex Estate Planning. The cost of the preparation for more complex documents will be discussed at your consultation.
At Jacob Law Group, an exact reproduction of all of your estate documents is maintained in our office should the original instrument be lost or destroyed.
The fee for a consultation is $200.00.