Your Legacy And Your Family’s Future
Wills and trusts are the two most significant tools in any estate plan. While the former is a basis of any estate plan, a trust provides additional options to those whose estate plan needs to be more structured. Regardless of which path a client chooses, estate plans allow them to maintain a certain amount of control over property and assets after their death, but also while they are still alive.
Florham Park-based estate planning attorney John M. Johnson will sit down with you to determine those goals and then formulate a plan that can effectively execute them. The ideal outcome is to have a lawyer draft a legally binding and comprehensive document that smoothly addresses all possible areas of the estate, as well as carefully tends the needs of family members and loved ones.
Every Estate Plan Needs A Firm Foundation
Testators typically use a will to determine what they want to pass down and when they want that to happen. A will can also serve other purposes, including:
Choosing a guardian: In the unlikely event that both parents perish, or are somehow incapacitated, a personal guardian is determined to look after children.
Choosing an executor: This is essential in appointing a personal representative to execute the personal wishes of the testator after they have died. This need not be a relative. It is also a good idea to add a second choice.
Powers of attorney: If the testator is incapacitated to the extent that he or she is unable to make these decisions, someone with power of attorney can execute specific instructions involving medical care or finances.
Plans For Those With More Complex Needs
Trusts are often used to protect a person or their heirs’ assets from future creditors. It can help a testator manage property during their lifetime and after their death. Once assets are put into a trust, they belong to the trust and not the trustee. There are many kinds of trusts here in New Jersey, including the following:
- Revocable trust: Often called a living trust, this is created during the lifetime of the trustmaker and can be altered or entirely revoked. These can be useful for avoiding probate.
- Irrevocable trust: These cannot be altered in any way or revoked.
- Special-needs trust: Sometimes parents are survived by a child who cannot care for himself or herself. As the parent of a special-needs child, John M. Johnson is deeply invested in these trusts.
- Charitable trust: This is where you set up a trust to benefit a specific charity.
- Constructive trust: Also known as an implied trust, the courts may decide that there was the intention to create a trust to serve a purpose or go to a specific person even if it was not formally declared.