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Estate Law FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

What is estate law?

A:

It is the law related to what happens to someone's property after they die.

Q:

What does a will do?

A:

A will says where you want your property to go and to whom after you die.

Q:

What happens if you die without a will?

A:

Then the law says where and to whom your property goes.

Q:

How should I set up an estate plan?

A:

You should come to an attorney who does estate law and sit down and discuss with them where and to whom you want your property to go and consider what tax issues there may be and come up with a plan to accomplish those goals.

Q:

What are things to consider in my estate plan?

A:

To whom you want the property to go what are the tax consequences? How old are the beneficiaries? Are there any minors? How old do you want the beneficiaries to be when they receive the money? What happens if a beneficiary dies before you?

Q:

What is durable power of attorney?

A:

It is a document that gives the authority to another person to transact YOUR BUSINESS FOR YOU. Durable means they can do your business as long as the power of attorney is active and you are alive.

Q:

What is a living will?

A:

It is a document that speaks for you on medical issue if you are unable to speak for yourself.

Q:

What information and documents should I gather before I contact an attorney to prepare a will?

A:

When property you have and who you want it to go to. Also who you want to handle your estate after you die to make sure it gets to where you want it to go.

Q:

What's the difference between an attorney prepared and DIY estate plan?

A:

An attorney is trained to do estate planning and may think of things you will not. Also, he will make sure the documents are properly prepared and comply with the law. You may not think of things and not know what laws apply or how to properly draft the documents.

Q:

How will my property be taxed at the time of my death?

A:

In New Jersey, the transfer inheritance tax depends on who the property goes to and what their relationship is to you. If it goes to children or grandchildren there will be no NJ transfer inheritance tax but brother and sister pay 11% after the first $25,000. Everyone else pays 15%. If your estate is over seven million dollars you need to consider the federal estate tax.