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New Jersey residents may include pets in estate plans this year

It's a new year, and a great time to review your estate plan. Many people might be thinking, did we include everyone we wanted last time we looked at our will? More people are now looking at their wills and thinking about their favorite family pets. What happens if you pass away suddenly? A pet could be sent to the local animal shelter if they aren't included in a will.

While some families might find this an insignificant part of their estate planning needs, others believe that their pets are just as much a part of the family as anyone else. While some people go through elaborate estate planning measures to make sure their pet has everything they could possibly need, a simple guardianship assignment might be all that is necessary.

Depending on your wishes for your pets and other family members, an experienced estate planning attorney can help you navigate the documents necessary to make sure any transition of assets goes according to plan. Setting up a trust can help a person or pet be taken care of in a certain manner. If a family member isn't able to handle their own finances, a trust can help them receive money at a more appropriate time.

Estate planning attorneys can help people think of creative ways to make sure their assets are handled in a manner that is thoughtful and responsible for their loved ones. In the case of animals, instructions in a will can left on how to care for an animal, or who might be granted custody if their owner dies or is incapacitated.

Source: NBC News, "Estate planning for your pet becoming more popular," Jan. 15, 2013

-Our law firm handles many estate planning issues in New Jersey. Please visit our website to learn more.

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