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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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Who should have a voice in your estate plan?

Many people get married with love in their hearts and eyes on the future, but too few people think of their marriage in terms of estate planning. Really, though, the two go hand in hand, and people in New Jersey would be wise to begin the ongoing process of estate planning long before they reach old age. Then, along the way, you're likely to have to update the plan as life changes.

One thing that happens as people get older is that their families grow. Maybe 15 years ago your granddaughter's fiancé was nowhere near the family picture, but now he's right there about to be in it for the long haul. Or maybe your adult child was married for about a decade, but a divorce happened after your grandchildren were born, and now your adult child is married again and has stepchildren. These issues raise the question: exactly who is family in your estate plan?

As we recently discussed, communication is often the key to preventing future disputes and getting everyone on the same page about what to expect after you're gone. But maybe not every family member should be in on the detailed discussions regarding a family business. Instead, maybe your adult child's spouse or children could weigh in other matters, such as what charities would be good for a donation from the estate.

All of these decisions are ultimately up to the estate owner, but it is usually a good idea to be inclusive and not make major and potentially shocking decisions behind closed doors.

To preserve estate assets for as long as possible, it is best to start planning early. And it is also very important to update your plan whenever circumstances in your or your loved ones' lives change. For more on that, check out our recent post about when to update your estate plan.

Source: Reuters, "YOUR PRACTICE-Who is family when it comes to estate planning?" Beth Pinsker, Oct. 29, 2013

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