Cinnaminson Estate Planning Attorney

A common misconception about estate planning is that it’s only for the dying—making it easy to put off until later in life.

But in reality, estate planning is for the living. It’s for every person, at every stage in their life, to protect their assets, arrange medical care and ensure that their loved ones are adequately cared for once they can no longer do it themselves.

Another myth is that it’s for the rich—leading you to think that there’s no way you can afford an estate plan, let alone need it. Wrong again.

The fact is, you already have an estate: your bank accounts, house, insurance, and debts. But when you fail to put plans in place for these things while you’re still living, that burden passes on to the next person in line.

Don’t make that mistake—contact our Cinnaminson estate planning attorneys at The Simone Law Firm. Our lawyers knowledgeable in elder law can help you build an estate plan around your life and protect your loved ones.

What’s Included in an Estate Plan?

Proper planning ensures that in the event of your death, the things you own will go to the right people, in the right amounts, at the correct times, with the least cost and delay.

Our NJ estate planning lawyers will help you reach these goals by properly drafting:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Powers of attorney
  • Advance health care directives
  • Guardianships

After discussing your specific situation, our law practice will create a plan that suits your and your family’s needs. We recognize that our clients have different personal and financial backgrounds that must be evaluated to ensure their assets are well protected during their lifetime and beyond.

Here’s what may be included in your plan:

  • Wills—the document that declares who shall inherit an individual’s assets (the beneficiaries) and who shall be responsible for distributing them to such beneficiaries (the executor).
  • A power of attorney—the document that appoints an agent to protect one’s person and property in the event of disability. Individuals who become mentally disabled and do not have a power of attorney can only be protected by a procedure known as guardianship. Various powers of attorney depend on a client’s needs and preferences.
  • A living will (also known as an advanced health care directive)—the document that sets forth one’s intentions in a situation where there is no reasonable hope of recovery or regaining a meaningful quality of life. The document states the individual’s preference for medical treatments and procedures if one cannot express their wishes directly.

Probate and Estate Administration

Probate can be confusing if you are not already familiar with the term and its procedures. We assist families and loved ones throughout the estate probate process.

Probate is the act of settling your estate or dividing your assets as outlined in your estate plan. This process will be overseen by your estate administrator (who you’ll appoint) and a probate lawyer.

Not all estates must enter into probate; if you can, it’s best to avoid it altogether.

The following are assets that will not be probated:

  • Those in a revocable living trust
  • Real estate with a transfer-on-death deed
  • Life insurance proceeds
  • Those for which you designated a beneficiary outside of the will (401K, IRAs, etc.)
  • Those held jointly with a surviving person

With careful planning, an elder law attorney can avoid probate. However, if your assets enter probate, your loved ones need to know what to expect.

Here’s What to Expect:

  1. Appointment of an executor/administrator. There will be a formal appointment of an executor or administrator of the estate. The court would appoint someone if no one were named in the will. They will then receive Letters of Testamentary or Letters of Administration, proving their right to handle the estate.
  2. Handling of estate assets. All estate funds will be consolidated into a bank account. The executor or administrator will be responsible for handling and proposing distributions according to the estate plan. The court will review evidence of proper estate handling and the proposed distributions before providing approval.
  3. Handling of debts and taxes. The estate administrator or executor will be responsible for paying the estate’s taxes and debts.
  4. Distribution of assets and the closing of your estate. The executor or administrator can now distribute assets to beneficiaries. If there were no will in place, state law would determine distribution. Once taxes, debts, and all other estate expenses are paid, and assets are distributed, the estate will be closed.

At The Simone Law Firm, our goal is to help you better understand the complexities of the probate process with the Burlington County Surrogate Court and be better equipped to handle each step along the way.

Why Estate Planning DIY Tools Aren’t as Effective as You Think

The estate planning do-it-yourself process (DIY) goes a bit like this—you type in your personal and financial details and your wishes for your final affairs. You pay the fee, your papers are drafted, and you’ll have your estate plan in hand in a few weeks, signed, sealed, and delivered.

Seems simple enough, right?

Well, the critical test of a successful estate plan is what happens after you’re gone. Online DIY estate planning tools are known for being full of generic information—leaving your estate open for much interpretation.

Something as simple as wording or incorrect and outdated information can cause your plan to become null and void.

Your final wishes shouldn’t be left up to a computer-generated plan. When it’s your legacy on the line, you need a qualified Cinnaminson estate planning attorney to set you up for success.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney Today

No one can adequately prepare for death, but you can prepare for what happens next. Establish an air-tight estate plan, and protect your legacy. Contact a Cinnaminson estate planning attorney today to get your affairs in order.

Our Core Values

Service to Others

The core values of our team distinguish our firm from all others. We know there are many choices in legal representation and we appreciate you considering our firm for your legal needs. Our firm has maintained great relationships with our clients with some lasting over twenty (20) years. Our satisfied clients demonstrate the dependable, trustworthy, honest and efficient representation that we provide in order to vigilantly protect and serve our clients’ legal needs.

Practice Areas

From Estate Planning to Probate,
Elder Law to Business, Real Estate to Homeowner associations

We help New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents solve their legal problems with confidence.

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  • Scranton
  • Chester
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