Getting Your Estate Planning Affairs In Order

Most people know that everyone, young or old, rich or poor, needs a will. If you fail to execute a will before your death (or before you become incapacitated), state law will determine who inherits your property. It may not be the beneficiaries you would have chosen, and minors will receive their inheritances at the age of 18, even though most people agree that 18-year-old adults are not mature enough to manage large sums of money.

A judge might decide who will raise your children until they reach age 18. Without a will, you have no opportunity to avoid or minimize taxes, and your estate will incur more administration expenses than you saved by not having an attorney prepare a proper estate plan. This means there will be less money available to your heirs.

We live in a complicated world. Unfortunately, the first question some people ask is "How much does a simple will cost?" At Rudolph & Bloodgood, LLC, we usually answer the question with a question: "What do you mean by a simple will?"

Frequently, the inquirer has not considered factors such as the need for trusts for minor children or the fact that some assets, like joint accounts, life insurance, IRAs and 401(k) plans, and annuities will pass to someone regardless of what the will says, sometimes with unintended consequences. There are ways to prevent this from happening, but they involve more than just the preparation of a will. Likewise, someone who thinks of estate planning as just signing a will has failed to consider the importance of executing documents like powers of attorney and advance directives (living wills) as critical parts of an estate plan.

At the law offices of Rudolph & Bloodgood, LLC, we help clients build a customized estate plan that accommodates all their needs. Our attorneys hold more than 80 years of combined legal experience, and have prepared numerous comprehensive estate plans, ranging from simple to complex plans. We have extensive knowledge of what goes into a proper estate plan and can provide solutions built around your specific requirements.

Creating Your Estate Plan

Estate planning is an art, not a science. To do it right, you need to form a working partnership with your estate planning attorney. We typically ask our clients many questions so that the finished product — the estate plan — satisfies their unique concerns, needs and objectives. Estate planning is also a dynamic process that requires you to periodically review your circumstances and confirm that your plan continues to meet your needs. When you think of it, a plan you execute while in your 20s and perhaps thinking about starting a family will be outdated after your children have finished their education, if not before then. When you receive your first Social Security check and see your golden years approaching, you realize you need to do some elder planning. Our estate planning practice includes advice about the various documents you will need to make sure your estate passes in accordance with your wishes. We help you draft wills that can ensure protection of your assets and compliance with your wishes. We can also help you set up trusts and powers of attorney. Our probate services include estate administration, will contests and guardianships among others.

There are many factors to consider in the process of building an estate plan. Our firm's experience allows us to create a more complete plan that fully addresses your interests. You can count on us for professional, thorough and efficient service from start to finish. We will take the time to learn about your goals and expectations, and build you a comprehensive estate plan to match.

Discuss Your Estate Planning Questions With Us

Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation, either by completing our online form or calling us at 973-850-4121.

At the law offices of Rudolph & Bloodgood, LLC, our understanding of the issues individuals of all ages face, along with our experience in representing clients in divorce matters for many years, makes our firm well-qualified to guide families through difficult times. To schedule your initial consultation with one of our attorneys by contacting us online or calling 973-850-4121. We have offices in Riverdale and a satellite office in Kinnelon. Both offices are handicap-accessible and have adequate off-street parking. We are available during regular business hours in Riverdale and by appointment in Kinnelon. Both offices are convenient to New Jersey Route 23 and Route I-287.

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