Tag Archives: estate planning

What Does Codicil Mean?

Wills, in and of themselves, are complicated but important documents. When you make a written revision to your will, it’s called a codicil. Your will can incorporate such a revision, but the codicil must meet specific requirements. For instance, just as your Will was signed and witnessed – so must your codicil be. Further, your codicil should refer to your will by date and should be attached to the original document. Because your will is critical to your legacy and your family’s future, it’s highly recommended that you retain an experienced estate planning attorney to draft both your will and any codicils that might be necessary.

Modern Conveniences

Back in the day, wills were drafted on typewriters, which made codicils a more efficient means of amending the original documents. Today, wills are written on computers, so it’s nearly always more effective and efficient to simply draft a new will if revisions or amendments need to be made. Your estate planning lawyer will discuss your options with you and will guide you toward the choices that best suit your needs.

Get Started Now

When it comes to your will, it’s imperative that you think ahead. After all, the future simply isn’t known to any of us, and your family’s future is your top priority. Having a will drafted by an experienced attorney will not only guarantee that your legacy is executed in the manner that you see fit but will also provide you with invaluable peace of mind. Your will matters, but it’s important to remember that codicils were created for a reason – to allow you to revise your will as your estate and your family’s needs evolve. What you commit to your will now very well may change with time, but because the future is unpredictable, you’ll have protections in place throughout life’s journey.

If You’re Ready to Create a Will, Call 201-498-9768 Today for More Information

Estate planning can be extremely complicated, but you shouldn’t let that scare you off. Your estate is your legacy, and it’s critical to your family’s future. Don’t leave your estate to chance; consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer. At John L. Schettino law, I’ll work with you to draft a will that reflects your current needs and that can be readily revised to address your future needs. I’m here to help, so please contact or call me at 201-498-9768 for a free consultation regarding the drafting of your will today.

The Top 3 Reasons People Are Waiting to Make an Estate Plan

Most of us understand that estate planning is important to our families’ futures, but way too many of us put it off. After all, it’s not always a comfortable topic. Getting down to the business of planning your estate, however, can bring you much needed and priceless peace of mind. Why wait?

The Top Three

People give a lot of reasons for why they put off planning their estates, and you may have considered many of them yourself. There are, however, three top reasons that people consistently turn to when putting off estate planning:

1. I’m not exactly a Rockefeller.

Many people believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy – who has an estate anyway? On the contrary, estate planning is important for people at all points on the financial spectrum, and your estate simply refers to your possessions, including your home. Further, probate expenses take an even larger bite (percentage wise) out of smaller estates. By avoiding the topic, you could leave your family less than you hope to.

2. I don’t know where to start.

While New Jersey estate planning is complicated, you don’t have to tackle it on your own. Indecision and uncertainty can cause you to keep putting this important task off, but an experienced estate planning attorney will ease the pressure by working with you to help create an estate plan that addresses your needs, concerns, and wishes; that will provide for your family’s future; and that avoids unnecessary probate costs and delays.

3. Geez, I’m not old yet.

Many people put estate planning off until they’re eyeing retirement, but this is a shortsighted approach. No one knows what the future holds, and putting your plans carefully in place can help assuage some of the anxiety that accompanies this element of the unknown.

Everyone has his or her own good reason for not tackling his or her estate planning head on, but you’ll probably find that crossing this task off your To Do list will allow you to focus on some of life’s more pleasant pastimes.

If You’re Ready to Plan Your Estate, Call 201-498-9768 Today for More Information

Estate planning isn’t something most people look forward to, but it’s not something you should dread. In fact, once you’ve accomplished this important task, you may experience a welcome sense of calm and accomplishment. Don’t leave your family’s financial future to chance; consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. At John L. Schettino law, we’ll work with you closely to ensure that your wishes are well represented. Contact or call me at 201-498-9768 for a free consultation.

Who Needs Estate Planning?

Few people like to think about needing an estate plan. Most people don’t want to look ahead to what happens after they are gone. However, others believe they have plenty of time. It’s common for people to feel that if they contemplate death, they are tempting fate. In the end, it’s crucial that you consider what will happen with your assets upon your death, especially if want those you leave behind to uphold your wishes. For this reason, it’s imperative you speak with someone about estate planning. If you don’t consider what you want to happen after your death, your property will spend a lengthy and expensive probate period.

Is Estate Planning for You?

Yes, estate planning is for you. Whether you are rich or live by modest means, you have assets in which to establish ownership after your death. Instead, wouldn’t you like decide who gets your grandfather’s pocket watch instead of a probate judge? Even if the only items you have are sentimental and not valuable, it is essential to identify who the item is to go to and when it should go to them.

Without Estate Planning

Are you aware of what will happen to your belonging without an estate plan? Unfortunately, if you have not made a will prior to your death, you have no say over who receives the things you leave behind. For example, if you own a vehicle and it’s in your name only, there is no guarantee that it will go to your oldest son without an estate plan. In probate, a judge may decide to liquidate your assets. In this case, your vehicle is sold, and anything left is divided among the people you leave behind. If these are not your intentions, it’s crucial that you plan for them. Estate planning helps you prepare for those events that you cannot always anticipate.

Minor Children

No one wants to think of leaving behind small children, but sadly it is a possibility that you must consider. Your children are your greatest assets. For this reason, it is extremely important to determine who you want to care for your minor children if the unthinkable occurs. If there is no pre-established plan, it is left to a probate judge to determine who gets custody of your children. You want to know that they are safe and sound in the care of someone who will love them as you have. It is best to plan and not need the plan for years, than to not have a plan at all. Estate planning is about more than your material possessions, it’s about the security and comfort of those you leave behind.

Regardless of your financial status, an estate plan is still essential for the ones who will grieve and mourn for you. As you can see, everyone needs estate planning. What you leave behind will go to someone, and you want to make sure that it fits your desired plan. How will anyone what you wish if you don’t leave them with instructions? If you don’t plan for your death before it happens, rest assured, a probate judge will make the decisions for you. Sadly, the process takes months. Making everyone wait only prolongs closure and healing. If you need expert advice to guide you through the process of estate planning, contact us at the Law Offices of John L. Schettino. We are an experienced law firm. Contact us today.

I Never Wrote a Will, What Could Happen in Probate?

Many people believe that dying without a will is not a big deal, especially if they do not have a significant amount of wealth or property. You may believe that without a will, your family will simply divide up your belongings and take care of your affairs on their own. However, under New Jersey law, your family will have little control over what happens to your property in this type of situation.

Estates must pass through a legal process called “probate” and, without a will to submit for probate, the court will decide how your property will be distributed in line with New Jersey’s intestacy laws. These laws determine which family members will get your property in which order. You may expect that your entire estate will simply be transferred to your spouse, though that is not always the case. For example, if there are children from a different relationship, the law can get quite complicated as to how your estate will be distributed. If you have no family that can be identified, your property will be claimed by the state of New Jersey.

Not all property goes through probate, however. Property that may be distributed outside of the probate court includes:

  • Joint or payable on death accounts
  • Real estate owned as a joint tenancy
  • Retirement account or insurance policies with specified beneficiaries
  • Property held in trust

Even if you believe that all of your property and assets fall into one of the above categories, it is still always wise to create a will. With proper will preparation, a will can contain a provision that addresses any residual property that you may not have considered. Therefore, none of your property would be distributed by the court and instead would be distributed in line with your wishes.

Call for a Consultation with a New Jersey Estate Planning Attorney Today

Having a valid and enforceable last will and testament is essential to ensure your property is distributed in the manner you choose after you pass away. In addition, a will is only one part of a comprehensive estate plan and an experienced estate planning attorney can review many other options that may be appropriate in your situation, including trusts or power of attorney documents. At the The Law Office of John L. Schettino, we have helped many individuals develop thorough and beneficial estate plans, so please contact our office for a consultation today at 201-498-9768.