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Friday, January 24, 2014

Basic Estate Planning: Don't Make this Mistake . . .

By: Peter J. Lamont, Esq.
New Jersey Business and Personal Law Attorney
Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont

In general, people don't like to think about death, especially their own.  That is why so many people, including many lawyers, don't have wills, health care proxies or burial arrangements. Who wants to think about something as morbid as death when there is so much to live for?

Well, everyone should.  I am going to explain why using a very personal example.

My mother recently passed away at the age of 64.  It was unexpected and traumatic for my family.  Unfortunately, my mother and father had nothing in place - no cemetery plot, no power of attorney, no funeral plans etc.

In her last hours, we were forced to run around to secure a cemetery plot, have her sign a power of attorney, try to explain credit card and bank account information etc. While I was blessed to be able to be with her and hold her hand as she passed, a tremendous about of unnecessary stress was created by the lack of any estate planning.

I don't want you or your loved one to have to go through what my family did.  Instead of worrying about where my mother was going to be buried, where all her bank account information was and other related issues, we all would have rather had the extra time with her before she passed away.

Simple Estate Planning Needs
It is never too early to discuss basic estate planning needs with an attorney.  Simple estate planning is relatively inexpensive and can be done quickly.  Here are a few items to consider when discussing your needs with an attorney:

  • You need a will
  • You may want a living will and/or health care proxy
  • Discuss end of life care
  • Discuss religious issues and cemetery matters
  • You should discuss burial needs and desires
  • Make certain accounts payable on death in order to avoid probate
  • Identify and maintain a list of all bank accounts, loans, mortgages and credit cards and let your family know where the list is kept
  • Discuss parenting issues
  • You may want to set up simple trust accounts for children
No one wants to think about dying, but it is unfortunately part of life.  Please do not procrastinate with your estate planning needs.  It will only be harder for you and your loved ones to deal with when the time comes.  Go see an attorney soon - you will thank me later. 

If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at plamont@peterlamontesq.com We answer legal questions on a daily basis and would be happy to discuss any issues or questions that you have with you.  Offices in: New Jersey New York, Colorado & Puerto Rico.  Affiliated throughout the country.

© 2014, Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between the firm and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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