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Estate Planning

Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler > Estate Planning

I’m not wealthy — Why do I need an estate plan?

Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to have a fat bank account and a mansion house at the Shore to need a sound estate plan – the area of law that covers wills, trusts, and probate. How much money you have is only one factor out of many that you need to consider when planning for the future. If you already have an up-to-date will, that’s a good and necessary start. But in many cases, it will not cover all the bases that should be considered ahead of time to make things easier for your heirs if you die...

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Why DIY Estate Planning Is a Really Bad Idea

The do-it-yourself approach may work for some jobs, but providing for your family after you’re gone is too important to risk making mistakes -- mistakes that could put your loved ones in the legal weeds just when they need the most support and ease of mind. Here are some top reasons NOT to be an estate plan “do-it-yourselfer”: • While internet sites can provide you with boilerplate documents, they do not reflect specifics of your financial and personal life and may be questioned or disputed later. • The requirements for a validly written document(s) vary from state to state. • A valid estate plan...

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Over 18? Don’t Wait. Estate Planning Is for Everyone

You may think that estate planning is something you can put off until you’re older – maybe a lot older. But if you’re over 18, it’s never too soon to take this important step toward safeguarding the future for yourself and those you love. At Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler, we place great importance on estate planning for all our clients, and we’re ready to help you take this essential step. It’s easier than you think! Here are some estate planning facts you may not know: • It may be surprising to learn that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to greater awareness...

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Here Comes the IRS: Consider the Advantages of a Trust

With tax season upon us, we thought March would be a good time to share a brief overview of some tax benefits that come with the main types of trusts. In general, one of the main tax benefits of trusts is that the beneficiary is not subject to a large amount of inheritance or estate taxes. Family Trust (Revocable Living Trust) You don’t have to be among the super-wealthy to take advantage of a Family Trust, also known as a revocable living trust. Even if you have ordinary assets, such as owning your own home, this type of trust can be a...

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The Best Valentine Gift May Not be Flowers or Candy – Give Your Loved Ones Peace of Mind

This year, consider showing your love for your partner and family members by getting your estate in order. Why? Begin with the pain caused by the loss of you as a beloved partner, parent, and provider. Now add sorting through boxes, calling banks, looking for an attorney or accountant, and dealing with the courts. People who die intestate leave behind a mountain of bureaucratic navigation and hoops to jump through before the estate can be settled. A quality estate plan is an important legal document that saves your friends and family time, money, and anxiety about the future. It’s also a way of expressing...

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Don’t Drop the Ball on Establishing a Special Needs Trust

We all know how fast time goes by during the holidays – before we know it, the ball will drop on a brand new year! On the bright side, this is a great time to resolve to do the things we’ve been meaning to do but somehow never got around to. If you have a special needs child receiving government benefits and you plan to leave them money, or anyone else in your family may leave them money, it’s essential to have a Special Needs Trust in place so the money does not pass through their hands and they do...

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Clearing the Cobwebs about Estate Planning

October is the month for apples, pumpkins, crisp fall weather and Halloween spells – and National Estate Planning Awareness Week, October 18-24. For the attorneys at Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler, the time is always right to dispel some of the common misconceptions about Estate Planning. According to the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC), Estate Planning is an often-overlooked element of financial wellness. It is estimated that over half of Americans – 56% – do not have an up-to-date estate plan. If you fall into that category, it’s possible that one or more myths have been standing in your...

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Make 2021 the Year you Act to Protect your Family’s Future

By Mariann Crincoli, Esq. January is the start of a new year, bringing new hopes and possibilities. It’s also National Financial Wellness Month, a great time to make sure you have a comprehensive estate plan in place to protect your family and your special needs child into the future. Why is having an estate plan important, no matter the size of your estate? Through estate planning, you ensure that your assets will go to your intended beneficiaries. You also may save money on taxes, court costs, and attorney’s fees, and prevent disputes and financial confusion among heirs. In addition, you can protect...

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Special Needs Estate Planning: Which Documents Do I Need?

(This is the third article in our multi-part estate planning series.)   If you have a child with special needs, there are countless issues you must consider as you plan for their future care and well-being. You are their primary guardian today – but what happens if you are suddenly incapacitated or otherwise unable to continue in your caregiving role? Of course, you want your child to be cared for according to your wishes. Now, we understand this is very personal information. You may feel you want to “keep it in the family” and not involve an outsider in your personal business. However, you...

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Prior Proper Estate Planning Eases Stress of the Unknown

(This article is part two of a multi-part series: Estate Plan Development for Parents of Children with Special Needs)   The basic premise of this article holds true regardless of whether you have a child with special needs or the simplest of circumstances. Planning is the key to estate planning – it’s even in the name! There are so many parts of the puzzle when it comes to making sure that your wishes are carried out in the event of a life-altering crisis. It’s especially critical when the plans you make today will considerably impact the future of your child with special needs. As...

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