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Certified Elder Law Attorneys Serving New Jersey Residents since 1978.
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Estate planning basics for New Jersey residents

NAELA National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. MEMBER

While wills and trusts are generally associated with the wealthy, these types of documents are essential for anyone interested in making sure their assets will be handled in the manner they would prefer after their death. Estate planning is a way for people to ensure that their money or property goes to specific individuals or charities after their passing. There are a variety of ways to accomplish someone's goals, and many can reduce or eliminate potential tax burdens.

One of the best ways to help mitigate taxes is to use trusts. With charitable trusts, both state and federal taxes may be avoided entirely, but they do require individuals to turn over control of those assets that are being contributed. People also have the option of using life insurance policies and credit-shelter trusts as a method of asset preservation without also leaving a sizable amount to the government.

While avoiding taxation is at the forefront of a number of people's minds, it is also important to remember that the goal of estate planning is to ensure that the proper people or organizations benefit from someone's assets. This may involve using a method that does open up the beneficiary to some taxation, but it may be the best way to meet financial goals. With the right preparation, individuals can minimize the possible tax burden while ensuring that their wishes are carried out.

Understanding both state and federal regulations are key to successful planning. This knowledge may be provided by an estate planning attorney and could be beneficial to people interested in creating trusts, wills and setting up related documents that ensure the maximum benefit for their heirs.

Source: Forbes, "What is estate planning?", Russ Alan Prince, November 04, 2013

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