Dying without a will or trust in place has gotten a lot of attention in recent months and years as several prominent people have died without a will or a trust. Estate planning is vital to ensuring that one’s final wishes regarding health care directives, burial plans and so forth are carried out according to one’s instructions. It is also important that the people entrusted with carrying out those wishes are aware of the existence and location of the documents in New Jersey.

In the absence of severe illness, few people anticipate an early or sudden death. As unpleasant as it may be to consider, it is a possibility people face every day. As families gather for the holidays, it’s a good time to take a few moments to ensure that loved ones are familiar with the existence of such information and its location.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, (JAMA), medical directives and living wills are not available 74 percent of the time that they could be used to help make decisions regarding patient care. These are instances where the information may exist but the patient’s wishes are not being followed due to a lack of access to the information. Having access to it could prevent a lot of heartache.

Death or becoming incapacitated are not subjects one might ordinarily associate with the holidays in New Jersey. However, thinking of loved ones faced with a sudden tragedy and having to make life or death decisions needlessly on one’s behalf are also painful to contemplate. A brief family meeting and an estate planning review with an attorney can put those concerns to rest.