Why Are You Checking Email Today?

Business Succession Planning

Why are you checking email today? There could be many reasons. You could be addicted to your phone. You could be working. You might also own your own business, and when you own your own business you’re always on call. Which is why you’re checking your email today.

If you do own your own business, then you must wonder what will happen to that business if you pass away. Or you might be wondering what will happen to your business when you retire. I’ve been thinking a lot about these questions as I watch the show Rectify, on IFC.

Without going through the whole backstory (it’s a very complicated, powerful, amazing show), at some point we learn there is a family (tire) business that the owners go to great lengths to think about selling. The thing I loved about the show is that so many of the issues the owners had to face are exactly the same issue my clients deal with as they contemplate retirement (or an untimely passing).

For example, have you thought about:
– What happens when I retire?
– What will happen to the business if I pass?
– What happens if I get sick, or become disabled?
– If I have partners, what happens to my share of the business if something happens?
– What happens if my child divorces?
– What happens if I get a divorce?

We are about to witness the greatest wealth transfer in human history. There are about $30 trillion in assets that are about to be passed from one generation to the next, as the boomers retire and the next generation steps up. If you are in either category (thinking about retiring, or thinking about taking over a business), then you must assemble a great team of advisors and attorneys who can help you navigate the process. We can certainly help. If you have any questions about your business, contact Alec Borenstein, Esq., at alec@bmcestateplanning.com or call 908-236-6457 today.

One last thing – stay tuned for an email later this week about three more events we are hosting with Rountable Wealth Management about the new tax changes under the Trump Administration. The first event in Franklin Lakes was a tremendous success, and we look forward to having you come to one of the events in your area!

The Documents You Need for Your Estate Plan

The Documents You Need for Your Estate Plan

Whether you are thinking about creating an estate plan or already have one in place, it is important to ensure you have the proper documentation. Unless you have a law degree, understanding estate planning can be confusing.

In this DIY age, you may be inclined to try and create your estate plan on your own via the internet. Don’t. In fact, without an effective estate plan and proper documentation, your future heirs may suffer and your last wishes may not be upheld.

Following are the documents you need to ensure your legacy is preserved:

1. A will — For many people, this is the be all/end all of estate planning – the holiest of holy documents and the only one seen as worth having. A will is indeed vital to your estate plan as it provides instructions on how your property and assets should be disposed of and who your beneficiaries should be. In your will, you may describe how you wish to be buried, what charities you wish to donate to, who should care for your pets, and more. Additionally, your will allows you to name an executor to handle the administration of your estate after your death. Without this document, your estate is subject to New Jersey’s intestacy laws.

2. A health care proxy — A health care proxy is a document that names a trusted individual to make decisions about your health should you become unconscious or mentally disabled. No one wants to imagine what might happen to their loved ones if they should fall into a vegetative state or suffer from a terrible illness like dementia. Yet considering such possibilities and setting up a health care proxy is important to ensure your family knows your wishes should something happen to you.

3. Durable Power of attorney — Unfortunately, many estate planners stop at their will. While your will is extremely important to your estate plan, the buck doesn’t stop there. What if you should become incapacitated via accident, injury or illness? Who will handle decisions about your healthcare and finances? With a durable power of attorney, you name a trusted person who takes care of things like paying your bills, making medical decisions or handling your investments.

No two estate plans are the same. Your estate plan reflects your life, your estate, your assets and the legacy you wish to leave behind. Depending on your unique situation, your plan may be more or less complicated.

For more information about estate planning in Union or Hunterdon County, consult with Alec Borenstein, Esq., a partner with the firm at alec@bmcestateplanning.com or call 908-236-6457 today.

Resolve to Create Your Estate Plan in 2015

new year's resolution, estate planning, new jersey, wills, trusts

Add Estate Planning to Your New Year’s Resolutions List

Now that we are in the New Year, and back to work, let’s talk about our New Year’s resolutions.   Many people set out to tackle the same old resolutions once and for all—stop biting their nails, exercise more, quit smoking, help out around the house, lose 20 pounds. But what about your estate plan? When is a good time to update your will? Have you even created an estate plan?

Here come the excuses—the holidays are stressful, the relatives are in town, it’s too cold. Now that we are back to work, we say things like, there is no time, I need to catch up, my favorite TV shows are back, who has time to put a will together?

Let’s face it, though. The holidays are over, the relatives are home, and in New Jersey, this winter has been pretty mild in comparison to last year’s chilling polar vortex (I am not trying to jinx anything). So, whether you have an estate plan that needs updating, or have yet to create a plan, following are a few reasons to add estate planning to your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2015:

  • Help loved ones— The holidays were a great time to spend with friends and family. One of the best ways you can ensure your loved ones are taken care after you are gone is to have a sound estate plan in order. At some point before the New Year, you should take the time to sit down with your family and discuss your estate plan. Remember, if you die without a will or estate plan in place, your assets and belongings are divided up in accordance with NJ’s intestate succession laws. Life insurance proceeds, funds in an IRA, 401(k), payable on death bank accounts and property owned in joint tenancy will pass to any surviving co-owners or beneficiaries you named, regardless of whether you have a will.
  • Save money— Yet another reason to include estate planning in your New Year’s resolution is to avoid the probate process. After you pass away, the last thing you want is for your heirs to spend time and money validating your will. An attorney can help you set up a thorough estate plan that bypasses probate or allows for a simplified probate process.
  • Keep your affairs private— Without a proper estate plan in place, what you owned when you were alive and who your belongings will go to after you die becomes public record. You can ensure the privacy of your legacy is maintained by taking the time to create a sound estate plan.

When it comes to estate planning, procrastination is common. While planning your estate may seem like a sad task, it can actually bring you peace of mind. You probably have many questions about the estate planning process. Fortunately, with the help of a legal professional you can gain a better understanding of wills, trusts and other aspects of NJ estate planning. For more information, contact Alec Borenstein, Esq., at alec@bmcestateplanning.com or call 908­-236­-6457 at your convenience.

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