Meet Nicole Israel, Esq! | Bergen North Moms

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?

I was born and raised in Secaucus, NJ. After undergrad I made my way to Hoboken for a few years and then headed to New York. I now have returned to my roots and have set up an office in New Jersey and love serving both communities.

(My paternal roots stem from Bergen County. My father grew up in Bergenfield and my grandfather was a pharmacist in Closter.)

Children and Ages?

1 child (but sometimes feels like five kids rolled into one!) Oliver – 20 months

Favorite thing to do with your kids?

Ollie is such a water baby! This summer has been all about the beach or the pool. This summer destinations have included Pt. Pleasant, Long Branch and Cape May. Looking forward to more trips before the summer ends.

Are you involved in a business venture? Please share!

I am a Trusts & Estates attorney serving both New Jersey and New York. My aim is to give moms, parents, caregivers the peace of mind they deserve through proper planning and education.

I draft trusts, powers of attorney, advance healthcare directives, wills and many other planning instruments, but I also give clients access to my free Kids Protection Program that includes long-term and short-term guardianship nominations, medical power of attorney for a minor, family legacy interview, fiduciary letters, a confidential exclusion of guardian form and caregiver/guardian instructions.

I think it’s important to recognize that your financial wealth is only a small part of your overall Family Wealth. Your “Family Wealth” is made up of your assets that are far more valuable than money – and most often lost upon incapacity or death – such as your intellectual, spiritual and human assets.

Most estate plans focus only on the transfer of your financial wealth to the next generation. Most people have such great intentions of passing on the intangible, but very few ever get around to it. That is why I design trusts and estate plans that capture and pass these most valuable assets to the people you love.

Why is it so important that moms care about this?

If there are minor children involved, moms must prioritize Guardianship Forms. Moms need to know that having a will or naming godparents is simply not enough to keep the court system from making decisions about your children’s care in the event of a parent’s incapacity or death.

A stand-alone guardian nomination document that names guardians for the long-term and for the immediate, short-term is vital. If you do not legally, in writing, name permanent guardians, the Court will decide who raises your child based on who looks best on paper and that may not be who you want. I tell many parents not to let a judge, who doesn’t know you or what matters to you, decide who raises your children or handles the money you’ll leave behind. Legally naming guardians is the first step to keep your family out of expensive and unnecessary conflict.

For me, it’s important to educate clients and potential clients about estate planning. Many people see this as a scary task, manifesting catastrophe or creating a “death plan,” when, in fact, it’s a Life Plan. Once moms and parents have some foundational planning in place it will help you live a better life and give you peace of mind that this has been taken care of.

What sets you apart?

What makes our firm different is that we were built with the needs of growing families in mind. We understand you are BUSY, you are growing, you are planning for a life of prosperity and you value ease, convenience and efficiency. 

Traditionally, estate planning has been thought of as something intimidating and only for the wealthy. The truth is, estate planning is not about how much money you have. It’s about making things as easy and inexpensive on your loved ones when you are gone or incapacitated. And the initial planning is only the beginning of our relationship. We’re focused on putting in place a plan we know will work for you and the people you love. 

First, we spend time getting to know your situation and the legacy that you want to leave. We spend time to educate you on what will happen in various situations and empower you to make informed decisions. Our goal is for you to leave with a plan that you understand and know will work for your family. Additionally, we will review your plan at least every three years for free to make sure that as your life changes your plan is updated. 

Second, nothing we do is billed on an hourly basis. Everything we do is billed as a flat fee, agreed to in advance, so there are no surprises. Third, we work virtually so you don’t have to travel to meetings and we offer appointments on weekends and evenings to help with scheduling. 

These are just a few of the things that make our firm different. We’re the best fit for people who don’t just want to leave their family a set of documents that may or may not work, but instead want to use the estate planning process to pass on a legacy of love and care and ease. 

If you could give one tip to fellow moms, what would it be?

I may be echoing previous “Meet a Mom” sentiments but practicing resilience would be my top tip. I have definitely have hit some bumps and blindsides along the way, but the ability to get up when you’ve fallen flat on your a@# and not losing faith has been vital to my happiness as a mother, wife, friend, lawyer and human being. Kindness ranks a strong second. Without kindness I’m not sure there can any true joy in the world.

One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
Before I went to law school, I was a broadcast journalist. I worked in production for CNN, ABC News and the Associated Press. I also did on-air work as a reporter and anchor for WMBC-TV based in West Caldwell, NJ.

How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?

There is no question that moms are in a league of their own. Moms are an instant support group and have the ability to quickly learn from each other. Who else can other women turn to for advice when your kid has a weird bug bite or the best ointment for a skin rash, or what to do when your child throws a monster temper tantrum or refuses to go to bed for four nights in a row. There’s no other group of people that can compare!! 

I am so appreciative for my strong and supportive husband, Colman. I am forever grateful to have found a partner who has inspired me to take on goals I never dreamed of. 

Thank you Bergen moms and moms everywhere!

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