Estate planning is a way of taking control of your life. It enables you to protect your assets, plan for retirement, protect your loved ones, and prepare for the future. No matter whether you are a young adult beginning a career, a middle-aged person wanting to secure your retirement, or a grandparent excited by the thought of helping your family move forward, now is the time to consult with a well-respected estate planning attorney. If you are in New Jersey, Bozanian McGregor LLC is the law practice to contact.

Why Bozanian McGregor Is a Wise Choice

Our attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of estate planning. We have the necessary knowledge of federal and state law to assist you by:

  • Explaining the ins and outs of estate planning from wills and trusts to guardianship and estate litigation
  • Guiding you through whether you are planning your estate or have been named the executor of another’s estate
  • Drafting, reviewing, and executing any necessary documents
  • Crafting trusts that will be helpful in your particular circumstances 

We will spend time getting to know you and understand your needs, goals, and priorities so we can customize an estate plan just for you.

Essential Elements of Estate Planning 

We will assist you in completing the basics of an estate plan, including:

  • Drafting and execution of a will to designate your executor (personal representative), name your beneficiaries and the assets they will receive, and appoint a guardian for your minor children.
  • Drafting and execution of a durable power of attorney (POA) to give a trusted individual you choose the authority to handle any legal or financial matters on your behalf if you become incapacitated or otherwise unavailable.
  • Having you fill out an advance directive for health care (Health Care Proxy) will enable the person you designate to see that your wishes in regard to your health care are followed if you become critically ill and cannot communicate.
  • Creating one or more trusts to protect your assets from creditors, lawsuits, and divorced spouses, and serve several other significant purposes, such as avoiding probate.

Estate Probate and Administration

Probate is the process through which a will is validated. For high-net-worth clients or those with multiple and/or out-of-state properties, probate can be a costly and time-consuming process. It is also a public process that can be undesirable for those who want to protect their privacy. Fortunately, our accomplished estate planning attorneys know how to avoid probate by creating a living (revocable) trust so that your assets can be automatically transferred to your beneficiaries at the time of your death without going through probate.

Probate administration, on the other hand, is the process through which a decedent’s assets are managed and distributed according to estate planning documents, such as a will or trusts. If you are designated a personal representative in New Jersey, you will be tasked with paying all estate debts and taxes and seeing to it that the estate’s assets are distributed to beneficiaries as the decedent directed.

Trusts That Can Be Trusted

Many people have the mistaken notion that trusts are only beneficial for the very wealthy. Trusts can be a godsend for those with several common issues. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable and are tailored to meet particular needs, for example:

  • Special needs trusts provide special needs children with access to financial resources while protecting their right to receive government benefits
  • Spendthrift trusts manage the funds of adult beneficiaries who are irresponsible with money to prevent them from squandering their inheritance

Other trusts are designed to:

  • Avoid probate
  • Diminish taxes
  • Facilitate charitable giving
  • Protect your assets from creditors, lawsuits, divorcing spouses, and scams
  • Help to protect you and your family if you become incapacitated.

Planning for Incapacity

Although no one likes to think about becoming incapacitated, it is even more worrisome to think of your family being unprotected if you unexpectedly suffer harm. The reality is that anyone at any age can be incapacitated as a result of an accident, a catastrophic medical event (e.g. heart attack or stroke), or the progression of a disabling illness.

You can depend on our attorneys to assist you in preparing the documents that will protect you and your family if the worst should happen. These documents include:

  • Durable Power of Attorney to give a person you trust the authority to make legal and financial decisions if you are unable to do so
  • Health Care Proxy to name the party you want to make decisions about your medical treatments if you are out of commission
  • HIPAA Authorization to permit named individuals to have access to your doctors and private medical records if you are unable to speak
  • Living Will (including possible organ donation) that states which end-of-life procedures you want and which you wish to refuse (e.g. intubation, feeding tube)

When Guardianship Is Necessary

Bozanian McGregor LLC has a great deal of experience handling guardianship cases. We pride ourselves on being sensitive and empathic to all parties involved. Guardianships are created to protect a vulnerable minor child or incapacitated adult (“ward”) by providing them with a “guardian,” a close relative or friend who will take care of them and make thoughtful decisions on their behalf.

When minors require a guardian, it may be because they have been orphaned, or their parents are addicted to substances, incapacitated, incarcerated, or have been abusive. On the other hand, when an adult requires a guardian, it is because the adult is deemed by the court to be unable to care for themself. Guardianships are arranged for adults who have been mentally challenged from birth or have become incapacitated due to a catastrophic injury, a medical event, an addiction, a psychiatric condition, or a degenerative illness.

Knowing that the emotional work you have to do as a potential guardian may be overwhelming, we will offer you legal and moral support. We will take care of all the logistical matters involved in establishing guardianship and will deal with any challenges the process brings.

Estate Litigation

At Bozanian McGregor, we are aware that no matter how carefully an estate plan is crafted, in the aftermath of a death, old resentments can resurface, and anger and strained relationships can complicate grief. At such times, family disputes may find their way into court. Fortunately, our estate litigation lawyers are well-prepared to deal with:

  • Contested will or trust
  • Unpaid bills, credit card debt, or hidden bank accounts
  • Accusations of fiduciary fraud on the part of the executor
  • Contested guardianship 

You can depend on us to defend your rights vigorously so we can bring your case to a positive conclusion.

Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Estate Planning Attorneys Today

We are here to guide you through the process of estate planning, always focusing on doing what is most effective for you and your family. Contact us now so we can begin helping you protect your assets, secure your future, and address the issues that matter most to you and your family.