By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Estate Planning & Probate Law Attorney

Many laws in New Jersey regarding how estates are handled are designed with a traditional family in mind – a husband, wife, and biological children. Today, however, fewer than half of all U.S. households meet this traditional definition. And that trend is likely to continue now that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide and divorce and remarriage remains common. New Jersey has updated its historical laws to reflect changing demographics and the reality of family dynamics.

It’s not simply about traditional versus nontraditional families. Changes occurring in reproductive technology are creating questions regarding inheritance rights and birth laws. How should children conceived with stored genetic material after the death of one or both of the genetic parents be treated regarding inheritance?

What I find really remarkable is the concept of family for some extending to their pets as well. New Jersey has enacted estate planning laws regarding dogs and other family pets. You may be surprised to learn that all 50 states and the District of Columbia have enacted or introduced laws that allow individuals to set up trust for the benefit of their pets, to ensure the long term care for their pets.

This is the new reality of estate planning, as changes are occurring more rapidly than ever before. It’s clear that the planning solutions of yesterday will not be applicable tomorrow for such unique and complex scenarios. And then there is the monumental re-evaluation of inheritance and death tax laws. Will or will not the estate death tax repealed in New Jersey be reinstated after January 2018.

Here are Hanlon Niemann & Wright we will continue to monitor all of the proposed changes being discussed and help you in the creation of your estate plan.

To discuss your NJ Estate Planning matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.