New Jersey Estate Planning Lawyer

Serving Families and Individuals in Princeton, NJ and the Surrounding Areas

There are many legal strategies involved in estate planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, and health care documents. New clients often say that they do not have an estate plan. Most people are surprised to learn that they actually do have a plan. In the absence of legal planning otherwise, their estate will be distributed after death according to New Jersey’s laws of intestacy. Of course, this may not be the plan they would have chosen. A properly drafted estate plan will replace the terms of the State’s estate plan with your own.

The Van Dyck Law Group Difference

We Treat You Like Family

We treat our clients and their family members the way we want our own families to be treated.

We're With You at Every Step

We are here to guide you every step of the way, from our first phone call, to follow up and support services.

Our Plans Will Help to Protect You and Your Loved Ones

At Van Dyck Law Group, we work with our clients to develop estate and long term care plans that provide protection for them and their families.

Probate is the court and process that looks after people who cannot make their own personal, health care and financial decisions. These people fall into three general categories: minor children (under age 18 in most states); incapacitated adults; and people who have died without legal arrangements to avoid probate. Probate proceedings can be expensive and time-consuming. Additionally, the court proceedings and associated documents are all a matter of public record. Many people choose to avoid probate in order to save money, spare their heirs a legal hassle, and keep their personal affairs private.

The document a person signs to provide for the orderly disposition of assets after death. Wills do not avoid probate. Wills have no legal authority until the willmaker dies and the original will is delivered to the Probate Court. Still, everyone with minor children needs a will. It is the only way for you to choose the guardian of your child in your absence. Special testamentary trust provisions in a will can provide for the management and distribution of assets for your heirs. Additionally, assets can be arranged and coordinated with provisions of the testamentary trusts to avoid death taxes.

This is an agreement with three parties: the Trust-makers, the Trustees (or Trust Managers), and the Trust Beneficiaries. For example, a husband and wife may name themselves all three parties to create their trust, manage all the assets transferred to the trust, and have full use and enjoyment of all the trust assets as beneficiaries. Further "back-up" managers can step in under the terms of the trust to manage the provisions in the trust also control the management and distribution of assets to heirs in the event of the trust maker's death. With proper planning, the couple also can avoid or eliminate death taxes on their estate. The Revocable Living Trust may allow them to accomplish all this outside of any court proceeding.

A power of attorney is a legal document giving another person (the attorney-in-fact) the legal right (powers) to do certain things for you. What those powers are depends on the terms of the document. A power of attorney may be very broad or very limited and specific. All powers of attorney terminate upon the death of the maker, and may terminate when the maker (principal) becomes incapacitated (unable to make or communicate decisions). When the intent is to designate a back-up decision-maker in the event of incapacity, then a durable power of attorney should be used. Durable Powers of Attorney should be frequently updated because banks and other financial institutions may hesitate to honor a power of attorney that is more than a year old.

Healthcare documents, including advance healthcare directives, allow you to name a person to speak on your behalf in a medical context when you cannot speak for yourself. This saves your family the worry and conflict that can come of having silence from you on your wishes by outlining both who you would like to be able to speak for you and what decisions you would like them to make.

Van Dyck Law Group Client Reviews

“ Fiona and her team made a complicated and potentially difficult process of planning for the inevitable an easy, pleasant and uncomplicated experience. Amazing!”

– Anonymous survey 2

“ The staff was very professional, courteous, and responsive. The process of updating and restating our trusts was less arduous than anticipated. Every question was clearly explained and clarified and aimed at our level of understanding. This was an A+ service.”

– David & Diane of New Providence, NJ

“ Fiona is professional and highly knowledgeable, but what sets her apart is her ability to explain complex legal details in an easy to understand manner. She is friendly and patiently answered our many questions thoroughly. Her staff is equally friendly and responsive. And they accomplished all of this under virtual conditions! Very pleased with our experience.”

– James and Sheri H.- Hopewell, NJ

Community Education Center

The Education Center at Van Dyck Law Group was developed in 2019. The vision for the education center includes a one-stop
resource where people could come for the resources and education on the services and supports that are related to the issues surrounding aging and the dementia diagnosis.

  • Information Materials
  • Client Community Resources
  • Dementia Education
  • Caregiver Support Groups
  • Training Space
  • Continuing Education
  • Professional Workshops
  • Lunch and Learn Education for the Community

The Van Dyck Law Group Education Center, located at 707 State Road, Suite 102 in Princeton is available to individuals, community groups, businesses, and organizations.

The information on display helps those who are aging or who are living with a dementia diagnosis to identify those services, supports, and providers who can help with the issues they are facing.

The programming offered at the education center seeks to raise awareness of issues affecting those who are aging or those who have dementia or a long-term illness.

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