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Wills Lawyer Bergen County NJ

Estate Planning Lawyer Bergen County, NJ

As a wills lawyer in Bergen County, NJ understands, a concern that many people have is that they will not be able to take care of their loved ones after they have passed away. This can be incredibly difficult for a person to come to terms with but it is possible to ensure your loved ones have what they need even if you are no longer here physically. One of the best ways you can do this is by creating a will. Despite what many people think, you do not have to be particularly wealthy to write a will. Instead, this can help direct where you want money and assets to go and can make sure your children have guardians if they are minors.

Can I leave this all up to the state? 

When you die intestate (without a will) this means that the state will be responsible for making sure your assets are distributed and the state will make the decisions regarding who has guardianship over your minor children. While some people may be okay with leaving this up to the state, you may be concerned about the details and you may want to ensure your loved ones are taken care of. Our Bergen County, New Jersey wills lawyer understands that this is not an easy conversation to have and that it can be difficult to face what will happen after you pass away. However, it can be encouraging to know that you can still make a huge difference in your loved ones’ lives.

What kinds of requirements are there for making a will in New Jersey? 

Many people believe that they need to take their will to a notary to have it notarized; however, this is not the case. Further, when you create a will in the state of New Jersey, you will want to make sure:

  • You sign your will in front of two witnesses
  • Your witnesses sign your will and they do so in a certain amount of time after seeing you sign it

What if I want to make changes to my will? 

Especially in circumstances where you may want to make changes to your will, it can be helpful to work with an attorney. Your lawyer can help you make the necessary changes by replacing the old will entirely or by adding on to it.

If you would like to begin the process of creating a will or if you would like to make changes to your old will, call Kaplan Law Practice, LLC. Our Bergen County, New Jersey wills lawyer can help you.

What to Consider When Naming a Guardian in Your Will

If you have children, it is important to appoint a legal guardian in your will. Then, if you should side suddenly, your children will be taken care of. Here are a few things to consider when naming a guardian.

  • Consider the guardian’s age. Many people name their parents as guardians of their children in their will. While this might initially sound like a good idea, it might not actually be. If your parents, for example, are getting older and can’t do the things they used, they might not be equipped to raise young children. It may be a safer bet to name a younger guardian.
  • Look at the person’s financial situation. By now, you realize how expensive it is to raise children. Even if you have financially prepared for your children ahead of time, it is still a good idea to appoint a guardian who is financially stable. He or she should be able to provide your children with everything they need, including housing, food, clothes and medical care.
  • Choose a guardian who shares your values. If you want your children to be raised a certain way, it is wise to select a guardian with similar values to yours. For example, if you are a religious person who attends church regularly, you may want to choose a guardian who is also religious.
  • Consider the guardian’s living situation. Your wills lawyer in Bergen County, NJ may also advise you to take a close look at a potential guardian’s living situation. If something should happen to you and your children have to go live with the guardian, you want everyone to be comfortable. For example, if the potential guardian lives in a small apartment, there likely won’t be enough room for your kids.
  • Talk to the guardian beforehand. If you know someone who you would absolutely trust with your children, have a conversation with him or her first. Even if you think this person would make a wonderful guardian, he or she might not be up for the task. The person might lead a busy life and might not have enough time to take care of children.
  • Select multiple guardians. It’s wise to appoint more than one guardian in your will. If something should happen to the first guardian you named, your second choice can step in.

4 Reasons That You May Need to Revise Your Will

Even if a will is validly executed, life changing events that impact your personal or business finances could necessitate altering certain provisions or incorporating new ones. Here are some examples of situations in which you may need to reevaluate some key components of an estate plan.

1. Forming a Business

When people start a new business, they may have to tie up a lot of their personal wealth to advance their operations. Entrepreneurs need to give special consideration to their wishes regarding assets that they have put into a business. They may have to examine the feasibility of continuing a business’ activities, and their obligations to other principals. A wills lawyer in Bergen County, NJ such as Kaplan Law Practice can help entrepreneurs with estate planning as they establish and grow their businesses.

2. Purchasing Property  

Using financial assets to buy real estate could change the logistics of dividing an estate among multiple beneficiaries. Also, making a bequest of real property involves some analysis of outstanding mortgage debt, real estate taxes, and other costs associated with ownership. A wills lawyer in Bergen County, NJ can help homeowners evaluate some of their estate planning options

3. Divorce

In some jurisdictions, a divorce may invalidate provisions in a will that name a decedent’s spouse as a beneficiary. However, laws which strike down a bequest to a person’s spouse do not have effect until a divorce is finalized. If a person wishes to make changes before finalizing a will to name new beneficiaries, it would be necessary to amend or replace a prior will. A wills lawyer in New Bergen NJ can help you evaluate how family law matters may bear on your estate plan.

4. Becoming Part of a Blended Family

A blended family may have some unique challenges in the administration of a will. In general, courts interpret provisions awarding assets to children to include only biological and adopted children while excluding stepchildren. This exclusion could result in the distribution of an estate’s assets that runs contrary to the intent of a testator who wishes to provide for all of the children in his or her family. Kaplan Law Practice can assist blended families with important matters such dividing wealth among beneficiaries and naming a guardian for minor children.

Ultimately, it is advisable to periodically review an estate plan. As life takes you in new directions, make sure that you are taking the right steps to keep your estate plan current.

Call Kaplan Law Practice, LLC today!

4 Reasons That You May Need to Revise Your Will Infographic

business infographic

When To Start Writing Your Will

No one wants to sit with the fact that they are going to die. If you are in this boat, then know you aren’t alone. However, it is also important to note that now is probably the best time to make a will, if you are physically and mentally well. Making a will shouldn’t be a reactive decision but a proactive choice. 

Most states have set the minimum age of 18 as the starting point for making a will. Now, most people at 18 don’t really need a will, but it is a good place to start thinking about what you want to do with your life. There is about 60 to 70 percent of American’s that die without a valid will each year. You really don’t want to be included in this statistic as it can leave a mess behind with your family. 

The vast majority of people will make a will after a major life event, like getting married or having a child. Economic and world events also prompt people to make wills, like a global pandemic or even a celebrity death. It really doesn’t matter what prompts you to make a will but just that you make one before you are on your death bed. 

The best time to start making a will is when you are level-headed and young. Don’t wait till you are 92 to make your will, make one while you are in your 30s. 

What State of Mind is Good When Making a Will?

Being in a state of distress is not an ideal time to engage in estate planning. That is actually going to hinder your will making progress. However, at times it can’t be avoided, but if you can make a will before you get there that is the best time to do so. 

You need to be in a clear state of mind when making a will. These are big life choices being made and you should be in your best state of mind when it happens. Being emotionally charged could lead to decisions that you wouldn’t make normally. You should also be in the right state of mind. It is no secret that as we grow older our memory gets fuzzier. You shouldn’t wait till you are elderly and have trouble remembering things to make your will. 

Remember, wills can be updated. What you have at first may not be right for you a few years down the road. It is important to keep them up to date with your desires. 

If you are starting to think about a will contact a wills lawyer in Bergen Country NJ for more information. 

Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Will

A will is a very important document. It dictates how your beneficiaries will receive your assets. Going to write a will can feel like a heavy process. You can also feel the mounting pressure to get it right. Kaplan Law Practice is offering some do’s and don’ts to get you started developing your will.

Don’t Delay

You may think you are too young to write a will. Hopefully, you will live a long, fulfilling, healthy life. However, know that misfortune can happen in the blink of an eye. If you pass away unexpectedly without a will, your final wishes may not be carried out.

You may assume that the state can take over distribution if you don’t have a will. They can do that. However, the way they conduct things may not be what you want. Eliminate this worry by writing a will early. 

Don’t Assume Other Documents Will Suffice

You may have seen it in the movies: the hero finds an envelope hidden in their bookshelf. It turns out this envelope is a letter from their parents, giving the hero everything. 

This can create extra drama in movies. However, in real life, simply writing a letter stating your wishes doesn’t carry any weight. You need to create and file a legally binding document. 

Do Appoint an Executor

An executor is a person who will oversee the distribution of your estate after your passing. You want to be this role goes to someone you trust as well as someone who is up for the job.

It can take a lot of time and energy to take on this role. Make sure that you also name some alternates in case the main executor can’t fulfill the required duties. Everyone should have a clear idea of what they could be getting into before taking a role like this one. A wills lawyer in Bergen County, NJ, can help explain the expectations if they have questions. 

Do Hire an Attorney to Help

The will-writing process can be a long one. You want to make sure all your assets are covered. You want to be sure you’re distributing everything fairly. You also have to decide on a trustworthy person to distribute your estate. 

The Kaplan Law Practice wants you to know you are not alone. Hiring a wills lawyer in Bergen County, NJ, can help. They are familiar with the process and can answer any questions you have along the way.

Common Misconceptions About Wills

While nobody likes to think about their mortality, it is necessary at some point. Establishing a will ensures that your final wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are taken care of. Here are some common misconceptions about wills that you shouldn’t believe.

  • If I tell my family my wishes, I don’t need a will. This is one of the biggest myths about wills. Even if you communicate your wishes to your family members, it’s still important to establish a valid will. They won’t be able to make decisions for you if you don’t leave a will. The court will be in charge of making the decisions and they might not be what you or your family truly wants.
  • If I don’t have many assets, a will isn’t necessary. Wills are no longer just for the super wealthy. People of modest means can also benefit from having a proper will in place. No matter how small you think your assets may be, you still don’t want them to get into the wrong hands after you’re gone. Additionally, having a will allows you to write your funeral wishes and appoint guardians for your minor children.
  • I’m too young for a will. Unfortunately, many young people believe it’s not necessary for them to have a will yet. The truth is that it’s never too early to establish a will. Younger people may also own property and have children and pets. Should they die suddenly, a will ensures their final wishes are carried out.
  • When I die, my debts will be wiped out. Debt doesn’t actually disappear when a person dies. If you still owe creditors at the time of your death, they will be paid with money from your estate. If you establish a will, you can decide which assets will be used to pay your debts after your death. Otherwise, the court will decide which assets will pay off your debts.
  • Once I establish a will, that’s it. Too many people create a will and never think about it again. It’s necessary for most people to update their will several times throughout their life. Whenever you experience a major life change, like a divorce or birth of a child, you should make an appointment to see a wills lawyer in Bergen County, NJ promptly. He or she can make the necessary changes to your will to ensure they reflect your current wishes.

Bergen County Wills Statistics

According to the 2023 Wills and Estate Planning Study by, two out of three Americans do not have any type of estate planning document. Less than 35 percent have some type of estate plan in place. Forty-two percent of Americans haven’t created a will due to procrastination and one out of three people without a will think they don’t have enough assets to need one.

Wills Lawyer Bergen County NJ

When you think it might be time to write a will you should contact a wills lawyer in Bergen County NJ to help you through the process. The biggest question that is asked is when should you write a will? It is pretty understandable that no one wants to think about their own death, let alone start planning for it. No matter how uncomfortable that may sound, you should be making one. AS that will allow you to dictate what happens to your belongs after you pass, what happens to your family, and just make sure the right people are there to help your family through everything. 

Writing a will takes effort and you have to put a lot of thought into it. Just when do you write a will? 

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