NJ.com:  Today Your Legal Corner will address “Basic Estate Planning.”

 What will you do with this New Year given? Perhaps you want to lose 10 pounds, make plans for a spring garden, change jobs, travel to Europe or dedicate time to a coveted project. Just think of the possibilities this New Year brings.

 One goal to definitely include is to review or create an estate plan. A basic estate plan consists of completing an inventory of present assets, defining goals, relationships, and realities; and then developing a plan of action.

 Inventory Assets

 Generally, most estate planning begins with an inventory of the assets. If you would like to receive an Inventory Packet, simply request one by email, phone or letter and it will be provided, free of charge.

 The Inventory Packet is a guide used to list assets, state where assets are held, and define preferences and relationships. Once completed, the Inventory Packet will aid in deciding what type of estate plan is needed. The Inventory packet should be kept with the will.

 Goals, Relationships and Realities

 Quite often, the difficult questions have not been answered. While it is difficult to predict the future, estate plans must still be created with goals, relationships and realities in mind. For example, what are your long term goals? Where would you choose to reside as you age? What does retirement look like for you? Will you travel? Will you continue to work? Do you have long-term care insurance?

 Each estate plan should address the possibility of nursing home living. At the very least, have a plan in place as to with whom or where you would reside in the event you are no longer able to live on your own.

 Know the level of services available in the community where you plan to reside to ensure the programs offered will meet your aging needs. For example, not all towns offer senior busing.

Develop an Action Plan

After the packet has been completed, goals, relationships, and realities have been addressed; it is time to develop an action plan.

A basic action plan should contain the completed Inventory Packet as stated above, a Will, a Power of Attorney, and a Living Will. Most importantly, the plan must be firmly grounded in the present day law.

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