NJ Estate Planning Attorney

Martin Pankiewicz, Esq. will take the time to develop and draft the right plan to ensure that your wishes are honored and help your loved ones avoid undue inheritance taxes. As he personally handles your estate plan, Martin Pankiewicz, Esq. will take a comprehensive look at your financial situation and use a variety of tools to come up with a plan suited to your needs.

NJ last will attorney, Linden, NJ NJ last will attorney, Linden, NJ

Estate Planning

Estate Planning documents are designed to put your plans and intentions for the future in writing. The Last Will and Testament sets forth how you would like your property to be divided upon your death. The Living Will and the Power of Attorney help ensure that you are adequately represented in the event that you cannot express your own wishes for any reason, in either a medical or financial situation.

It is important to do estate planning so that you can insure that your wishes are followed as to division of your property and guardianship of your children. If you die without a will in the state of NJ, the state will determine what happens to your property through a process called intestate succession. If you have no apparent heirs and die without a will, it is even possible the state may claim your estate. Without a will, a court can even determine who will care for your young children and their property if the other parent is unavailable or unfit.

The basic estate plan is comprised of three documents: a Last Will and Testament, a Living Will/Medical Power of Attorney, and a Power of Attorney.

  1. Last Will & Testament
    The Last Will and Testament (or simply “Will”) is a document in which a person regulates the rights of others over his property after his death. The maker of a Will (known as the “Testator” or “Testatrix”) sets forth provisions regarding distribution of personal property, real property, and other assets.

    The Will frequently serves as a vehicle for creation of simple trusts to benefit minor children or those individuals who cannot handle their own affairs for any reason. If such a trust is set up, the Testator has the opportunity to name Trustees to administer the funds for the benefit of the minor children, and is generally designed to provide for the child’s health, education, and general welfare in their parents’ absence.

    The Will may also be used by parents to vest guardianship over their minor children in trusted individuals. This minimizes the possibility that a dispute may arise over custody of any minor children.

    Finally, the Will allows the Testator to name an Executor. The Executor is the person who works with the attorney and the probate court to ensure proper estate administration.
  2. Advance Directive/Living Will
    In light of the Terry Schiavo case, more media attention has been focused on the Advance Directive (more commonly known as the Living Will). This document allows you to put on paper your wishes with respect to important health care decisions in anticipation of the possibility that you may one day face a situation in which you are incapable of expressing your wishes with respect to your own medical care. The Living Will sets forth several common scenarios with which patients are faced as they near the end of their lives, and allows you to express your wishes in advance to avoid later issues.

    In New Jersey, this document accomplishes two purposes: it is a Living Will (as described above) and it also allows you to select a person(s) to serve as your Health Care Proxy. This allows the chosen individual to confer with medical personnel with reference to your condition, and to take part in discussions regarding the impact of your Living Will and its relevance to your condition.
  3. Durable Power of Attorney
    A Durable Power of Attorney gives one or more persons the power to act on your behalf. The power may be limited to a particular activity (e.g., closing the sale of your home) or general in its application, empowering one or more persons to act on your behalf in a variety of situations. It may take effect immediately or only upon the occurrence of a future event (e.g., a determination that you are unable to act for yourself). It may give temporary or permanent authority to act on your behalf. A Power of Attorney may be revoked in the event that you change your mind regarding the appointment.

    A Power of Attorney as a component of Estate Planning is intended to prepare for situations when you may not be able to act on your own behalf due to absence or incapacity. Such a disability may be temporary (e.g., due to travel, accident, or illness) or it may be permanent.

    If you do not have a Power of Attorney and become unable to manage your personal or business affairs, it may become necessary for a court to appoint one or more people to act for you. With A Power of Attorney, you can choose who will act and define their authority and its limits, if any.
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