Estate Planning

Getting Your 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 children will receive their inheritances at the age of 18 years. A judge might decide who will raise your children. 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 taking care of your affairs. 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?" My response usually is to 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 office of Michael C. Rudolph, Esq., P.A., I help clients build a customized estate plan that accommodates all of their needs. I have been an attorney for more than 50 years and have prepared numerous comprehensive estate plans, from the simple to the complex. I have extensive knowledge of what goes into a proper estate plan and can provide solutions built around your specific requirements.

Create Estate Plans

Estate planning is an art, not a science. To do it right, you need to form a working partnership with your estate planning attorney. I typically ask many questions of my clients so that the finished product — the estate plan — satisfies their concerns, their needs and their objectives. Estate planning is also a dynamic process that requires you periodically to 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. My estate planning practice includes advice about the various documents you need to make sure your estate passes in accordance with your wishes. I help my clients draft wills that help to ensure protection of their assets and compliance with their wishes. I can also help you set up trusts and powers of attorney. My 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. My experience allows me to create a more complete plan that fully addresses your interests. You can count on me for professional, thorough and efficient service from start to finish. I 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 a Lawyer

Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation. I represent clients throughout Morris County and surrounding counties in northern and central New Jersey from a home office in Kinnelon. I also offer appointments at my Riverdale office for your convenience. I am available during regular business hours or by appointment. Both of my offices are handicap accessible.

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