Patel Law Offices Blog

Letter to Your Spouse

By Parag Patel, Esq. In addition to your estate planning, it’s a good idea to have a non-binding letter to your spouse, children and other heirs outlining where the important documents are kept and who to contact for help in

$3.5 Million Federal Estate Tax Exemption for 2009 Could Mean Higher State Death Taxes

If the federal exemption is greater than the state exemption, the difference may become subject to state death taxes.

Obama to Keep 2009 Estate Tax Level

President Obama wants to freeze the current estate tax level to $3.5 million which is the estate tax exemption amount for 2009.

Ten Things to Do to Prepare a Will for Probate

If you are the executor of a will there are many things you must do to get that will ready for probate. Probate means the process by which the deceased’s assets are gathered; outstanding debts, taxes, and expenses of the

Estate Planning When a Spouse is Confronting Health Issues (Estate Planning for the Healthy Spouse)

When one spouse is a resident of a nursing facility or medical institution (the “institutionalized spouse”), but the other spouse continues to live in the community (the “community spouse”), the community spouse may take a number of steps to retain

A great time for GRATs

The rate is the lowest it has been since the inception of the 7520 rate in May 1989.

2009 Tax Update

A few things have changed with the coming of a new year—below are some tax items to be aware of. Estate and gift taxes: The basic federal estate-tax exemption increased to $3.5 million from $2 million in 2008. The increase


New Jersey law provides how your Estate will be distributed if you do die without a Will. The property referred to in this section deals with assets in the decedent’s name alone. A)If you die leaving a spouse or domestic

Estate Planning and Life Insurance Trusts

By Parag P. Patel, Esq. Few people realize that, even though they may have a modest estate, their families may owe the government hundreds of thousands of dollars because they own a life insurance policy with a substantial death benefit.

How to Stretch Your IRA Into a Family Fortune

  Your individual retirement account (IRA) can do much more than provide funds for your retirement — it can be stretched to provide millions of dollars in payouts to your children, grandchildren or others you choose to be beneficiaries. Example:

Stretch your IRA

How would you like to make your grandchildren millionaires? Would it put a smile on your face to insure that your great-grandchildren never have to think about money? Its easy … if you have the discipline and self control to

Laws May Cause Issues for Owners In Civil Unions

LGBT business owners in New Jersey should assemble a team comprised of a lawyer, an accountant and a financial adviser who are familiar with the laws surrounding same-sex couples.

Probate Basics

The legal process of transferring of property upon a person’s death is known as “probate.” Although probate customs and laws have changed over time, the purpose has remained much the same: people formalize their intentions as to the transfer of

President-elect Obama’s tax plan

Tax-Plan Highlights Here are some of the details of President-elect Obama’s tax plan. INCOME TAXMaintain current tax rates of 10% to 28% for most Americans. Reinstate top tax rates of 36% and 39.6% on joint income of more than $250,000

2008 Year End Estate and Trust Taxes and Planning: Before It’s Too Late!

Although year-end tax planning generally focuses on income taxes, a thorough year-end tax assessment should include reviewing your estate plan and estate tax situation as well. In 2008, the highest marginal estate tax rate is 45 percent. If your estate

10 Costly Mistakes to Avoid in Helping Families with Special Needs

This article examines the unique planning requirements of families with children, grandchildren or other family members (such as parents) with special needs. There are many misconceptions in this area that result in costly mistakes in planning for these special needs

The Secret Stretch IRA

It may seem like a contradiction, but there is a way to leave a lot of money to your heirs even if you’re not rich. Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) were established to let you save tax-deferred until age 70 1/2,


Probate is the process whereby a Will is proved to be valid by a Surrogate, who has the authority to determine the authenticity of such a document. It also involves appointing an individual for an Estate when someone dies without

McCain & Obama’s Estate Tax Plans

From Wall Street Journal: Stayin’ Alive: How to Cheat The Estate Tax, by Tom Herman: The Obama Plan. Sen. Obama proposes a $3.5 million exclusion in 2009 and thereafter, with a top rate at 45%. His plan will “fully repeal

Estate Planning: More Than A Will

By Parag P. Patel, During our lifetime, most of us strive to create and build upon our net worth. We generate savings, purchase a home, and eventually invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, IRAs and retirement plans. Unfortunately, most

Estate Planning Checklist

This initial estate planning questionnaire is presented in a narrative form. The detailed explanations and the space provided for answers are designed to garner more complete and helpful information than would be afforded by merely filling in blanks. ESTATE PLANNING

Guardianship of Children With Special Needs

Two good posts coming from Leanna Hamill in Massachusetts and Tredway, Lumsdaine & Doyle in California on planning for children with special needs. Among the excellent suggestions are the following:Special Needs Trust – allowing parents, grandparents and guardians to provide

Estate Planning in New Jersey

Estate Planning in New JerseyYou can save a lot of money and potential chaos and hard feelings among those closest to you by preplanning how you want your assets managed when you are incapacitated, and how your property will be

Naming Your Executor

You should name an executor in your will. In order to decide who is best to carry out this position, you need to know what responsibilities the position has. The executor’s job is to start the probate process with the

Family Limited Partnerships, or more commonly now, Family Limited Liability Companies, are great vehicles for management & protection of family assets

Family Limited Partnerships, or more commonly now, Family Limited Liability Companies, are great vehicles for management and protection of family businesses, real estate, and investments. They also can be used to facilitate gifting, since interests in the entity given to

What is a Stretch IRA?

Trusts in General – A trust is a legal relationship that exists when one person or an entity (the Trustee) holds title to money or property for the benefit of one or more people (the Beneficiaries). The terms of the


Today President Bush signed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The eagerly anticipated housing-rescue law is intended to calm the mortgage market, the real estate market, homeowners on the verge of bankruptcy and foreclosure, victims of bank failures

Family Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)

As a proponent of Family Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) for asset management, creditor protection, and ease of gifting, I was pleased to read about the U.S. Tax Court’s decision in Mirowski v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2008-74. March 26, 2008. Mrs.

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