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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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Shaping the future through estate planning

Estate planning often involves a significant amount of brainstorming about possibilities related to your family's particular situation. To craft a plan that matches your wishes for your family and your assets in every way, it is essential to have the appropriate array of estate planning tools, such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney and healthcare directives.

With that in mind, let's consider some scenarios in which comprehensive estate planning can be the key to preserving assets and fulfilling end-of-life wishes.

Of course, a will is a foundational estate planning document wherein you can clarify how you want your assets distributed after you die. But for many New Jersey residents, a will doesn't fully address the complexities of the estate.

For example, if your will specifies that your spouse should receive a large chunk of your fortune, then those assets will go to your spouse. But if your spouse remarries, there is the risk that after he or she dies, a portion of your savings will end up with your spouse's new husband or wife, and you probably don't want that.

This may be especially problematic if you intended for your children to receive those assets.

To prevent this sort of thing from happening, and to exercise more control over estate assets, many people establish a trust. Doing so can ensure that money goes to the beneficiaries you name. A trust can also be specified so that funds are distributed to beneficiaries over time.

Healthcare directives are also useful because they allow you to name individuals -- trusted friends or family members -- to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated. Ensuring that your end-of-life wishes are legally documented can save family members from having to make difficult decisions about your health.

In any case, the purpose of comprehensive estate planning is to avoid uncertainty and prevent needless conflicts. Individuals and families who plan in this way can create the future for themselves, rather than stand fully at the mercy of unforeseen circumstances. 

Source: Market Watch, "5 estate-plan strategies for boomers," Andrea Coombes, Nov. 29, 2013

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