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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
Phone: (201) 467-4180
Fax: (201) 997-9567
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Using an estate plan to effectively meet your family's needs

Creating an estate plan is one of the most important things a person can do to help ensure his or her loved ones are protected. A well-written will details exactly what you want to happen with your belongings after you pass away, and a trust can make it possible to leave your beneficiaries with a financial legacy.

Simply understanding the benefits of an estate plan is not enough. Knowing the laws and working with an experienced New Jersey lawyer can help guarantee your documents will be valid in a court of law. In addition to working with an attorney, there are other steps you can take to make sure you are getting the most protection from your estate plan. Forbes recently provided a helpful list of advice.

At the beginning of 2011, the laws regarding the estate tax changed. There is a new exemption percentage, and the financial value of exempt assets is also different. When you are reviewing the new law, it is important to also consider the laws in your state. Almost half the states have state-specific inheritance and estate tax law that go into place after a person dies.

Even once your estate planning documents are created, your work isn't done. As you age, your family dynamics will likely change as well. Marriage and divorce can both change how you want your assets distributed, and updating your will can dictate exactly what you want to happen with the wealth you've built over the years.

While it is important to update your estate plan, individuals should beware of financial exploitation. Ill-intended family members may try to persuade a parent or spouse to rewrite a will or change a trust. Individuals who do this are usually already known and trusted by the person creating the estate plan, and the victim may believe their family members are only motivated by good intentions.

Although the estate planning process can seem overwhelming, there are numerous ways to work through it smoothly. Working with your spouse or family members can help ensure everyone's best interests are met by the documents. In addition, celebrities provide examples of estate planning best practices and the things to avoid at all costs. Read the next blog post to learn from some of their successes and failures.

Source: Forbes.com, "Estate Tax Lessons From George Steinbrenner, Gary Coleman and More," Andrew and Danielle Mayoras, 4 February 2011

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