When New Jersey residents pass away, the items that they owned must be properly distributed to their loved ones, creditors and other relevant parties. The things and assets that they leave behind constitute their estate and depending upon the type of estate plan that they leave the distribution of those things and assets can look very different from decedent to decedent.
End-of-life estates can include tangible and intangible items. For example, the personal property that a person owns can be included in the estate. These items of property may include, but are not limited to, vehicles, pieces of art, jewelry and clothing, furniture, collections, books and heirlooms.
However, it is often the intangible items that individuals own that require the most consideration when creating estate plans. Estates are often built around financial assets such as investments and stocks, bank and checking accounts, securities, real estate and insurance policies. These intangible assets can have high values and can make up the bulk of individuals’ estates, even though they may not be apparently visible as items of owned property.
The items and assets that individuals choose to buy and invest in throughout their lives will dictate what they own when they die and, therefore, what will be included in their end-of-life estates. Most people want to have a say in where those assets go when they die and, as such, estate planning is an important process for everyone to be knowledgeable about so that their chosen beneficiaries receive what they deserve when the estate plan goes into effect.