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Middlesex County Estate Planning and Bankruptcy Legal Blog

Should I leave the same amount to all of my kids in my will?

One of the more difficult dilemmas for parents when making out their wills is whether or not to leave the same amount of cash and assets to each child. In a perfect world, the answer would be unequivocally, yes.

But we live in reality, which is far from perfect. There can certainly be valid reasons to divide your assets equitably and not equally.

What happens if you die without leaving a will?

There's an old saying that the only two things you can be sure of are death and taxes.

Frankly, most of the time you can avoid the taxes -- at least when it comes to inheritances. However, that's only if you have addressed the other issue: dying.

Could you benefit from filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Almost everyone can understand what it's like to experience financial trouble from time to time, but you may find that your financial woes extend far beyond what you can ever manage on your own. Like other New Jersey consumers, you may not be able to manage your debt and catch up on your payments.

When facing this type of precarious financial situation, you would be prudent to consider the benefits of bankruptcy. While this step is rarely a person's first choice, this option could allow you the opportunity to secure a better financial future. Depending on the types of debts you owe and your objectives, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the right option for you.

Legal battle over baking magnate's estate continues

If you need a good reason to update your will or other estate planning documents, look no further than the battle currently embroiling a late businessman's wife and his children from our neighboring Maryland. The businessman may have left substantial assets when he passed away some months ago, but his widowed wife's portrayal of his estate does not seem to match the picture that his children presented of his finances after his death.

The widow claims that the children are withholding mountains of cash from the estate, while the children claim that she is grossly misrepresenting their father's estate plan in an attempt to retrieve more of his assets.

Don't forget this person when planning your estate

New Jersey residents create their estate plans primarily for their heirs and loved ones. However, there is a vital aspect of every estate plan that has nothing to do with your heirs, and everything to do with you. If you neglect this component, you could live to regret it.

Your estate plan is just as much about taking care of yourself and your needs while you're alive as it is about providing a distribution plan for your estate to transfer wealth to your heirs. The benefit your estate plan provides while you're alive provides direction for what happens if you become incapacitated as a result of an accident or illness.

Debt and probate

You may not think about your debt beyond making monthly installment payments. If you have considerable debt, you may have resigned yourself to the fact that you will never pay it off in your lifetime. Perhaps you believe that your death will bring an end to what you owe, and the balances will simply dissipate. You may also believe that, despite your debts, your children or other heirs will inherit your assets.

Unfortunately, these things may not be true. Depending on your circumstances and the kind of debt you leave behind, your loved ones may have to deal with it. This may be one of the first tasks that your estate executor must handle during the probate process.

Evaluate the options you have in probate litigation

Probate litigation is something that most people hope never to have to handle. When you are faced with the possibility of having to go through a contentious probate case, you might feel easily overwhelmed. We are here to help you each step of the way.

One of the issues that probate litigation often covers is a will challenge. While these aren't all that common, they can cause the probate process to drag on for a long time. This means that you will have to expend time litigating the merits of the petitioner's case, as well as having to deal with its financial impacts. This can all be hard to swallow, especially when you are still dealing with the loss of your loved one.

What does it mean to be executor of an estate?

Probate litigation in East Brunswick, like anywhere else, is something most families would rather avoid if possible. That's why an estate executor should be careful that he or she knows what his or her fiduciary duty is toward the estate's assets. Some mistakes can be costly both for the executor and the heirs. Probate litigation can go on for months or even years in some cases.

What exactly is the fiduciary duty of an estate executor? Simply put, it is to distribute the assets of the deceased in the manner he or she instructed and to ensure that all debts and creditors of the deceased are paid. Seems simple enough, but there are some common mistakes that executors often make that can end in probate litigation, or worse, render them personally responsible for the cost of the error.

Will challenges are difficult for everyone involved

Most people never have to worry about a will being challenged. Almost all families are able to work through any possible issues and allow the will to pass through the probate process without any problems.

There is a small portion of wills, around 1 percent, that are subject to a challenge. This is a very difficult process that can pit one family member against another.

Ways to overcome major credit card debt

Perhaps things have gotten a bit out of hand for you, financially speaking. You should know that you are definitely not the first person (nor will you be the last) in New Jersey to face such challenges. The economic condition of the state, and the nation, is constantly fluctuating. Some years, you may be on top of your game; others may find you pinching pennies a bit tighter than usual. The question is how to avoid serious financial disaster. Even if you know the answer, it's no guarantee you won't ever be in debt.

It's crucial to remember, also, that what works for one person may not be the most viable option for you. Everyone has unique needs and financial goals, and the trick is to find a process that helps you achieve the particular accomplishments you have in mind.

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