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Guard your family's fortune with proper estate planning

Studies show that many couples and individuals ignore proper estate planning and that about two-thirds of all Americans, including those living New Jersey, do not even have a properly written last will.

Without a proper estate plan, an individual or couple has very little assurance that their assets, which they have worked so hard to build over a lifetime, will be distributed in the way they envisioned after their death.

Despite the many excuses for delaying action that people often create, including being too busy at work or taking care of children, a good estate plan is as important as planning for retirement, making investments and maintaining the proper level of life insurance.

Part of the problem is that people feel uncomfortable discussing wills and trusts and avoid doing so until it's too late. Some are uneasy in recognizing and accepting the fact that they will die at some point. A number of individuals find that even though they may want to create an estate plan, their spouse feels otherwise and causes them to delay or to put the whole matter off altogether.

There may also be confusion and indecision about who should get what and about who should ultimately be assigned the task of executing the estate plan.

Before putting it off any longer, people should consider what their family members may have to endure because of long court delays and probate court officials who may not see things the same way family members do. A good lawyer can help ease concerns and create an estate plan that serves the best interest of all parties.

Source: Bank Investment Consultant, "Helping Your Clients Protect Their Family Fortunes," Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Aug. 9, 2011

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