The New Jersey Civil Union Act: Tax Benefits?

On February 19, 2007, following the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Lewis v. Harris, New Jersey effectuated the Civil Union Act (hereinafter, “the Act”). The Act grants couples in same sex civil unions equal protection and equal rights to

Deferral is the Name of the Game: Funding a Trust With Retirement Assets

Many people today have a large concentration of their wealth in their IRA accounts and/or retirement plans, such as Pension, Profit Sharing and 401(K) plans. As a result, for married couples, it may be necessary to utilize these assets to

Businesses Owners Need To Plan for Their Exit: Companies should be prepared for the boss’s departure

By Scott Goldstein 6/2/2008 NJBIZ magazine Owners of closely held companies—especially family businesses—have a lot on their minds, and it often doesn’t involve what happens if an owner or partner dies or leaves the company unexpectedly.“To fail to plan is

Leave Your IRA to a Special Needs Trust

In a private letter ruling recently, the IRS addressed the issue of transferring an inherited IRA into a Special Needs Trust. The law around taxation of inherited IRAs and the interaction with trusts has been unpredictable and fast-moving for several

Contesting a Will: Protect Your Parents From Undue Influence

Contesting a Will: Protect Your Parents From Undue Influence Ways to Avoid Will Contests and Estate Litigation In our estate litigation practice, inquiries from persons seeking to contest a decedent’s last will and testament are on the rise. Often the

Administrator of a Probate Estate: Duties and Responsibilities

The procedures in an estate administration may take from six months to several years, and a client’s patience may be sorely tried during this time. However, it has been our experience that clients who are forewarned have a much higher

Deficient Nursing Homes Listed

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the complete list of U.S. nursing homes that have failed to meet safety and quality standards for care.The list, which identifies 131 “Special Focus Facilities” that require additional oversight,

Living Wills in New Jersey

Living Wills in New Jersey Anyone who cares about the feelings of their family members, or their own final health care treatment, should consider executing a Living Will. It has become an essential element in the practice of Estate Planning

Recent Case Allows Special Needs Trust After Death

A New York trial court recently approved a trustee’s petition to reform his deceased father’s trust in order to protect his disabled sister’s Medicaid benefits. In Matter of Newman (2008 NY Slip Op 50127, Jan. 22, 2008). When he died

New guidance on fixing a botched IRA stretch after it’s “too late”

To preserve the ability to stretch IRA distributions for a beneficiary, that individual must start taking withdrawals based on his/her life expectancy in the year after death. If those required withdrawals don’t start on time, can you still rectify the

Living Trusts Are Revocable And Not An Asset Protection Tool

This great post comes from Jennifer N. Sawday of The California Estate Planning Blog. Her post is titled: Living Trusts Are Revocable And Not An Asset Protection Tool and describes a fundamental (and often misunderstood) aspect of asset protection planning

Mediating Probate Disputes

A lawyer involved in a probate dispute must be able to advise his or her client both about the client’s legal rights and remedies and about the client’s options for resolving the dispute. If the lawyer advises the client only

Introduction to Special Needs Estate Planning

Special Needs Estate Planning focuses on the need to provide for the special needs of our loved ones with disabilities when we are no longer there to organize and advocate on their behalf. It is essential that we start planning


You can plan to have your heirs inherit your IRA assets.   Can an IRA keep growing for a century or more? In theory, it can. Some people are planning to “stretch” their Individual Retirement Accounts over generations, so that

A Change in Domicile to Florida Can Help Minimize Taxes

The below article applies to New Jersey, as well as New York Retirees who have homes in both New York and Florida may be able to reduce or eliminate New York income and estate taxes, and also reduce the real

“Leave a Legacy” – Beneficiary Designation on your Retirement Plan

Published in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation newsletter. By Parag Patel Esq. Your largest asset may be your retirement plan. But did you know that your retirement plan can be taxed TWICE at your death? When you plan your estate,

Supplemental Needs Trusts

Supplemental Needs Trusts, also called a special needs trust, is a trust in the United States that is designed to provide benefits to, and protect the assets of, physically disabled or mentally disabled persons and still allow such persons to

Problems with Joint Tenancy Property

Could joint tenancy, one of the most common forms of holding title to assets, lead to an estate planning disaster for your heirs? Joint tenancy, often called “joint tenants with right of survivorship,” is a form of holding equal interests

The Expensive NJ Inheritance and Estate Tax

Inheritance and Estate Tax New Jersey imposes a transfer Inheritance Tax, at graduated rates, on property having a total value of $500 or more which passes from a decedent to a beneficiary. If a decedent’s death occurs on or after

New Jersey Inheritance Tax

The State of New Jersey imposes a transfer inheritance tax on property with a total value of $500 or more that passes from a decedent to a beneficiary. This is a tax that applies on the beneficiaries of an estate.

2008 New Year’s Resolutions: Keep your estate planning on the right track

Here are 10 things you can do in 2008 to keep your estate planning on the right track. 1) Last Will and Testament Make sure you have an up-to-date, professionally-prepared Will and/or Living Trust. Keep the original in a safe

2007 Year-End Tax Planning Tips

Year-End Tax Planning Tips Due to uncertainty over the pending “extender” legislation, this year may prove to be more challenging than usual.We expect Congress to provide another one-year patch to assure that moderate incomes are not entrapped by the Alternative

Sale of Real Property from an Estate

There are some special issues to consider when the seller of real estate is the estate of a decedent. Real estate held by a decedent’s estate is subject to liens for the payment of any New Jersey Transfer Inheritance Tax,

Anna Nicole Smith: A Model for Bad Estate Planning

Anna Nicole Smith rose to fame as amodel for Guess Jeans and Playboymagazine. Now, her death has givenher newfound fame as a great model forterrible estate planning.Forget the fact that you can’t visit asupermarket without seeing gossip abouther life and

10 Most Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Stretch IRAs

What is a stretch IRA? Stretching an IRA is simply the ability to have an IRA live longer than the account owner. A stretch IRA is an IRA that uses beneficiary designations to enable assets to continue to grow tax

Estate Planning for Families with Special Needs Children

Families with special needs children must exercise extra care in making their estate plans. This is true whether their special needs child is still a minor or now an adult, and particularly so when the child is – or in

Selection of the Trustee of a Special Needs Trust

There are obviously many important considerations to ponder when designing an estate plan for a beneficiary who has special needs. But the most important issue in the planning process is picking the person or persons who will be in charge

Asset Protection – Don’t Do It Yourself

Jonathan Alper in the Florida Asset Protection Blog has a great post on how standard off the shelf LLC and estate planning forms by non-experts will generally not protect your assets from lawsuits. A well-conceived asset protection plan can fail

Watch Out: The NJ Inheritance Tax

New Jersey imposes a transfer Inheritance Tax, at graduated rates, on property having a total value of $500 or more which passes from a decedent to a beneficiary. If a decedent’s death occurs on or after January 1, 1985, property

Asset Protection Mistakes – 13 Tips

These days, just about everyone should take care to protect their assets from possible lawsuits or other problems. Here are 13 things to watch out for: 1. Don’t keep money in a joint account, even with a spouse. 2. Don’t