Living Will and Testament
Do you need a will or estate plan? If you are over the age of 18, have assets or children you should have a will and an estate plan. Small business owners also need to consider creating succession plans that will protect partners, employees and family members. If a surviving spouse or children might struggle financially after your death, consider a life insurance policy that would temporarily replace some of the lost family income.
Anthony J. Vignier, Esq. can provide you with guidance in matters of wills, estate planning and probate:
- Last Will & Testament
- Estate Planning
- Asset Protection & Planning
- Living Will / Healthcare Directive
- Power of Attorney
- Real Estate, 401(k), IRAs and Annuity Planning
- Business Continuation & Succession
- Probate Administration, Will Contests and Disputes
Anthony J. Vignier, Esq. will guide and help you prepare a comprehensive will and estate plan which will be coordinated with all your assets like 401(k)s, IRAs, Annuities and life insurance.
BASIC ESTATE DOCUMENTS
A will is a document that tells the world how you want your assets distributed. If you have minor children, a will can settle custody or guardianship matters. Through a will you can appoint an executor who will be legally responsible for paying debts and distributing assets according to your wishes and a guardian for children. This is very important in the event your spouse dies before you or at the same time. Making a will is a very important step in your overall financial plan. A will can save your family time, money and aggravation and provides for an orderly transfer of your property upon your death. If you die without a will your estate will be distributed according to New Jersey intestacy laws so in essence you are giving away control over your estate.
Also, if you have a will you should review it on annual basis to keep it up to date. Keeping a will current is just as important as making one in the first place. Major life changes such as marriage, birth of a child, death, changes of witnesses, purchases or sale of property, a change in your financial status, or a change in the estate tax law makes it crucial that a will should be reviewed and updated.
POWER OF ATTORNEY
Granting someone power of attorney authorizes that person to handle your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. You can limit the powers to handling routine finances or you can allow assets to be bought or sold.
Living Will / Healthcare Directives reflect your wishes when it comes to medical care. You can create a medical power of attorney that allows someone to make health-care decisions for you if you cannot. In New Jersey, you can create two types of advance directives: An instructive directive, which spells out what type of care you want and under what circumstances and a proxy directive, which appoints someone to make such decisions for you.
A life insurance policy is a contract between the policyholder and the company. The life insurance proceeds are paid according to the terms of each contract and specifically to the designated beneficiary. The insurance payout from life insurance passes outside of the will. Therefore, the life insurance contract will determine who receives the proceeds instead of the terms of the will at your death. An alternate beneficiary or beneficiaries as well as a primary beneficiary should be named in each life insurance policy. An alternate beneficiary is important in case of simultaneous death of both the policyholder and the beneficiary, or if the beneficiary dies first. If there is no alternate beneficiary named, then the life insurance money passes to the estate where it is subject to New Jersey inheritance tax and possibly the executor’s or administrator’s commission.