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Certified Elder Law Attorneys Serving New Jersey Residents since 1978.
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Generational shifts trickle down to estate planning

NAELA National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. MEMBER

When New Jersey residents take the important step to create an estate plan, they usually have simple goals in mind: to provide for and leave a legacy for their loved ones. Of course, these are good intentions, but making arrangements that aren't carefully considered can create more problems than anything else.

The importance of forming a well-though-out estate plan is evident in an emerging trend among younger generations. As more and more baby boomers (and their children) inherit belongings from relatives, the importance of the family heirlooms is on the decline. Boomers tend to have enough of their own things and people in their 20s tend to have different preferences than older generations. As such, many of the physical belongings being included in wills by members of the Depression generation are simply sold off.

Being aware of this trend may be a signal that it's important for people making an estate plan to consider exactly who will be receiving assets and tailor the terms of a will to match those preferences. For example, younger generations may prefer financial assets over physical belongings, so it may be most effective to create a trust. Unfortunately, trusts are complicated legal arrangements and can be adversely affected by tax rules if they are improperly established, which is why it's often helpful to turn to a trusted attorney in this kind of situation.

More than anything else, the aforementioned trends show that a boilerplate will probably won't suit the unique needs of every family. However, if a will and associated trusts consider beneficiaries' wishes and account for the uncertainties of life, then testators can have greater peace of mind that their loved ones will truly benefit from an estate plan.

Source: Star Tribune, "No longer saved for generations, family heirlooms are being shed," Kim Palmer, April 22, 2013

  • Our firm has helped East Hanover, New Jersey, residents sort through the complex details of wills and trusts. To find out more, please see our trust planning page.

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