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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
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Three critical estate planning documents for New Jersey residents

Planning with an eye for your future mortality can be a depressing experience for some. Yet you want to know that your loved ones will be taken care of in the event or your sudden passing, and several documents are crucial to estate planning. In states like New Jersey, where estate planning can be a complicated process, there are three documents of which you should be aware of: a healthcare proxy appointment, power of attorney and living will.

A health care proxy appoints a person, most often a trusted family member, who will make medical decisions in the event that you are incapacitated. If you suffer a stroke or other debilitating condition, a health care proxy determines who has the power to decide what care you will receive, where you will receive it and for how long. You should sign four copies - one for yourself, your proxy, your physician and a final one for a trusted advisor.

A living will is a document that outlines several directives, such as the distribution of your estate and medical treatment wishes. For example, you can use a living will to issue a "do not resuscitate" order or whether you would submit to certain surgeries. Once again, sign four copies.

Finally, the power of attorney outlines who will take control of your finances in the event of your death or incapacitation. While a living will helps you distribute your existing estate, it can be difficult to cover everything. You can indicate when the living will goes into effect, such as by authority of a medical professional, or only in the event that you are pronounced dead. The power of attorney grants full control of your finances to a designated agent.

Source: Forbes, "Sign A Healthcare Proxy, Living Will And Power Of Attorney," Deborah L. Jacobs, Sept. 26, 2011

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