Estate Planning

Estate planning is all about caring for your loved ones and determining the legacy you want to leave behind. The more thought and consideration you put into your estate plan, the easier it will be for your family to sort through your assets and debts. Without a properly executed estate plan for after you’re gone, the state will distribute your assets according to a default set of rules according to its intestate laws. These rules vary based on which state you live in and don’t take into account your actual wishes. 

But estate planning isn’t just relevant after you die – a strong estate plan can better manage your assets in the here and now too. Between a power of attorney, living will, and/or medical directive, legal clarity on how to handle your current affairs and estate can help prevent your loved ones from becoming embroiled in disputes over your assets or medical care.

Our experienced estate planning attorneys can help you identify, determine, and execute the most important estate issues for you and your family. With clear legal protections in place, you can rest assured your wishes will be respected and carried out.


Serving New Jersey and Pennsylvania

At Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, we’ve helped individuals throughout New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area successfully manage their estates since 1995. Every family is different, which is why our knowledgeable legal team takes a client-tailored approach to each case.

There’s no better time to get started on your estate plan than now. Contact our skilled team of estate planning attorneys today for a free consultation.

Estate Planning FAQ's

Estate planning covers wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare and medical directives/living wills. These are all legal tools to protect and manage your assets and personal wishes if you ever become unable to do so yourself.

Wills specify your wishes after your death. Medical directives/Living wills designate your advance directives for medical decisions if you become seriously ill, injured, comatose, or otherwise unable to make decisions for yourself near the end of your life. Powers of attorney give decision-making power over finances. Medical directives ensure that your medical wishes are respected.

In both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, if you die without a will, your estate will be divided up according to the state’s intestate laws. This is probably not what you or anyone else wants, which is why thoughtful estate planning is so critical in ensuring your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone.

Your will should reflect what is important to you, so every will is bound to be unique. Generally, your will should cover your property, assets, and important wishes. You should designate beneficiaries, an executor of your will, trusts for minors, and any guardianships if necessary.

When you work with our team, we make sure you cover all your bases and stay true to your personal wishes in all of your estate planning documents.

A power of attorney is a written and signed document that grants a specific person the legal right and power to make decisions on your behalf.

We generally cannot anticipate incapacitation or absence, and a power of attorney allows a trustworthy appointee to act as an agent on your behalf. Although the constant technology advances afford us easy access to bank accounts and other documents, oftentimes an in-person signature or appearance is mandated. A power of attorney allows legal or financial documents to be signed on your behalf, without the inconvenience of being personally present.

A living will or medical directive is an important tool for you to make certain life altering medical decisions and prevent your loved ones from this difficult task. The Terri Schiavo case from the 1990s is a prime example of the importance of advance healthcare planning and the impact these documents can have on family members.

Another advantage of a living will is the ability to choose a trusted family member or friend to make medical decisions in cases of incapacitation.

Regardless of your assets or financial position, the answer is yes. Your estate plan will save your family time and money, and protect them from disputes and heartbreaking decisions at already stressful times.

It’s critical to find an estate planning lawyer you trust to make sure your wishes are respected if you’re ever unable to advocate for yourself. At our firm, we can anticipate these scenarios, make sure you have proper estate documents to realize your vision, and ensure their proper execution.

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