- Purchase and Sale of Business
- Venture Capital and Private Equity Investments
- Business Formation and Capital Development
- Contract Drafting and Negotiation
- Partnership Dispute Resolution
- Business Succession and Buy-Sell Agreements
- Corporate Counsel for Small to Mid-Sized Businesses
- Risk Management, Compliance, E-Discovery and Intellectual Property
- Commercial Real Estate: Buying, Selling and Financing
- Commercial Real Estate: Leasing
- Wills, Trusts and Powers of Attorney
- Probate Administration
- Litigation Practice
New Year Estate Planning Newsletter
When was the last time you reviewed your will and other estate planning documents? Since then, have your assets changed? Have you received an inheritance? Are you satisfied with how your assets are to be distributed upon your death? Does your current estate plan work under the current laws? Please contact us to schedule an appointment to review your current will and learn how we can help you achieve your estate planning goals.
A will is a legal document that contains your instructions regarding the distribution of your property when you die.
If your net worth exceeds certain thresholds, a will can include sophisticated provisions that may reduce or eliminate the amount of estate taxes that will be payable upon your death. (Currently, the combined federal and NJ/NY estate tax rates can be as high as 50%.)
However, even if your estate would not be subject to estate taxes, there are many important issues that you can address in a will. For example:
1. If you have minor children, who will take care of them?
Will that person also have control of any property inherited by your minor children? (If you die without a will, the court will appoint the guardian and may appoint someone you don’t know to be the trustee for your child’s money.)
2. Who will inherit your property?
The answer to this question can vary widely depending upon your family situation at the time of death. What state do you live in? Are you married? Is it your first marriage? Do you have children with your current spouse or from a prior marriage? Does your spouse have children from a prior marriage? Are your parents still alive? Do you have a domestic partner/civil union? These are just some of the questions that can affect how your estate could be distributed, either by you in your will or by law in the absence of a will. In addition, without a will, you cannot leave specific property, such as a wedding ring or other items of sentimental value, to a specific person.
3. If any of your property is inherited by a minor child:
Who will have control of the money until your child becomes an adult? At what age will the property be turned over to your child outright?
4. Who will be in charge of gathering your property and making sure that it is distributed to the right people?
If you do not have a will, the answers to questions such as these will be determined by courts based on state law. Besides the added complexity of appointing an administrator, the courts will require the administrator to post a bond, which can be expensive.
By making a will, you decide how these and other important questions will be answered. Furthermore, by making your intentions known in a properly prepared will, you can provide for a smooth transfer of your assets, which will save your loved ones time, stress and expense.
The attorneys at Steinbach & Associates regularly present estate planning seminars to members of our local communities as well as to other attorneys in the field.