Monroe Township NJ Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney Blog | Neel Shah - Part 2
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Stan Lee’s Elder Abuse Conflict Holds Lessons for Estate Planning

July 12, 2018

Filed under: Elder Abuse — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

 

 Everyone can benefit from estate planning and every so often, there is a celebrity controversy or story that shows the challenges of financial predators and elder abuse. The 95-year-old creator of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee, has a fortune apparently under attack from financial predators. estate planning Stan Lee

The creator of X-Men, Black Panther, Spiderman and the Fantastic Four has an estate that is valued at more than $50 million. However, his current memory, vision, and hearing impairments are being used to claim that he is unable to resist undue influence from caregivers, family members and business associates. Experts believe that increasing numbers of people who are closely connected to Lee will try manipulating him to get control of his assets.

Financial advisors and estate planning professionals have shared that this type of circumstance might become more prominent in coming years as people benefit from increased longevity and living into their nineties or hundreds, but might not have the mental faculties in order to manage their affairs effectively during this time period.

Estate planning accomplishes the overall picture about distributing someone’s wealth after their death, but all too often, skips out on later life planning and other issues connected with aging. Consolidation of financial accounts can help to ensure that the simpler balance sheet is easier to oversee, and appointing someone else to take over financial affairs, as well as using revocable trusts, are powerful tools for accomplishing the clients’ goals without putting them at risk of elder abuse.

Schedule a consultation today with an experienced estate planning attorney to learn more about what you can do to protect your best interests.

 

A New Generation of Those Set to Receive Assets Should Be Prepared with Estate Planning

July 11, 2018

Filed under: Asset Protection — Neel Shah @ 1:24 pm

More than $30 trillion will be transferred from baby boomers to future generations in the coming years, but most of this younger generation is not appropriately equipped to handle such a sudden influx of assets. Because of this, this is an excellent opportunity for people who wish to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Those baby boomers who are intent on passing on assets to future generations should also consider a consultation with an estate planning lawyer to ensure that their own documents to protect themselves over the course of their life and after death, is important. According to a recent study of financial advisors, this asset transfer that is pending in the future poses significant risks, if planning opportunities are not taken. 

Only one-third of advisors shared in a study completed by Investing Channel Inc. Insight, that some sort of asset transfers plan is in place for these baby boomers. That study included more than 700 financial professionals indicating that while estate planning is a crucial component for many people who are looking forward into the future, failing to follow through and develop the right tools can put clients at significant risk.

Anyone who is set to receive a massive inheritance in coming years should have the opportunity to develop their own team of professionals, including an estate planning lawyer and a financial advisor to protect their best interests and to articulate a long-term plan for their own needs and what they intend to accomplish with their estate planning in the future.

Far too many people put off the process of estate planning because they assume that it doesn’t affect them. But younger generations who might not even have any estate plan or a will at all, could receive significant inheritances from their grandparents, thus putting them in a difficult situation of having no estate plan and significant estate assets.

 

Be Prepared to Tell Your Representatives What Is involved in Settling an Estate

July 10, 2018

Filed under: Estate Administration — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Are you thinking about appointing someone to handle your estate after you pass away? This is a wise decision and one that should be discussed directly with your estate planning attorney, but it is equally important to sit down with the person you intend to appoint and to figure out whether or not they are clear about the many different tasks involved in settling an estate. Settling an estate means concluding the legal, financial and personal affairs of the person who passed away. NJ-estate-lawyer

Typically, a trustee of a trust or the executor of a will is the person in charge of the relevant tasks when someone passes away. Some of the more immediate needs that must be handled by this person include locating paperwork including trusts, burial and funeral arrangements, wills and any veterans’ information that could be connected to benefits. Furthermore, the social security administration and post office must be notified in addition to friends and family members.

Distribution of the decedent’s assets happens by inventorying and then titling the assets. If the decedent also had a trust, the trustee is responsible for distributing assets amongst the beneficiaries, according to the directions listed in the trust.

This is done without the interference of a court proceeding. An administration proceeding administrator, will executor, or trustee has to figure out all of the assets linked to the decedent to protect and manage those estate assets, to pay out any debts and taxes, and to distribute any remaining assets to beneficiaries regarding any specific wishes that were shared about personal or household items. It is very important that the person who steps into this role is prepared to do so and is detail oriented.

 

What to Know About Telling Your Kids After You Have Done Your Estate Planning

July 9, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Tags: — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Estate planning is a very personal process but because of that, many people choose to put it off until it is too late. Thereby, leaving their family members to try to pick up the pieces after a financial disaster caused by someone’s mental or physical incapacitation or sudden death. For these reasons, it’s important to at least have a conversation about the benefits of estate planning and how you’ll break the news about what you decided to your kids. 

Many people are confused about just how much information they should give to their children about estate planning and whether or not these documents should have copies made and given to the kids. There is no one-size-fits-all answer about how much information should be shared with children since every person’s circumstances are different. Many people share a lot of information with their clients.

Most people who meet with a probate lawyer after a person has passed away within their family already know what’s in the estate plan but might not have copies of the critical documents. Usual recommendations from estate planning attorneys are to keep the estate planning documents in a secure, accessible and safe place.

These documents are extremely important and they may be needed someday and in the heat of the moment, you want to ensure that everyone has access to them.

Giving copies of these estate planning documents to an experienced estate planning attorney and advising key family members who may be stepping in in the event of an incapacitation or sudden death, about how to find this information, can be instrumental in minimizing the challenges typically associated with estate planning.

If you have a plan developed well in advance and things are organized in a clear and easy to locate manner, you are that much more likely to be effective with communicating these goals to family members and enabling them to find this critical information when the time comes about. Bear in mind that your decision about how much to share with your family members regarding your estate plan is ultimately up to you and that many people choose customized decisions based on how comfortable they feel with the relevant family members.

You can ask questions of your estate planning attorney to help figure out what may be in your best interests.

 

Don’t Skip Out on Business Succession Planning Issues

July 5, 2018

Filed under: Business Succession Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Even if you have an individual estate plan, it is not enough if you also own a company. Many different challenges can befall your family members or employees if you don’t have a business succession plan in place. In fact, up to 90% of businesses in the United States are owned by families but less than 10% of them will make it to the third year in the family and less than 33% will survive even into the second generationbusiness-succession-lawyer

Owners sit down in the business succession planning meeting to determine a plan to move forward in the event that an owner needs to leave the company due to illness, retirement or death. Estate planning strategies are customized in the business succession planning process and multiple options are evaluated with the help of a professional to ensure that there is a smooth transition in place.

Common issues addressed in the business succession planning process include disagreements, estate taxes, management capabilities, liquidity and percentages of ownership. In addition to developing a comprehensive business succession plan, those key stakeholders involved are responsible for communicating this to the relevant stakeholders. Training of key team members needs to occur well in advance and should never be left until the last minute.

Failing to have a plan can set the business up for a catastrophic problem and many business owners want to avoid this as much as possible. This business succession plan process is also an opportunity to figure out whether the family members that you anticipate taking over the company ae truly interested in doing so. If you discover that a child or other family members do not intend to take over the company, you can begin to make alternative arrangements. Schedule a consultation today with an experienced business succession planning attorney to learn more.

 

Make Sure You Include a Living Trust as Part of Your Retirement Planning

July 4, 2018

Filed under: Asset Protection — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Have you ever heard about how a living trust can help you to accomplish your estate planning goals? Many people know that trusts are one type of tool that could be incorporated into your overall estate planning but with so many different types of trusts out there, and especially in what seems to be a regularly shifting environment surrounding the estate planning taxes, it might be hard to figure out which of these tools, if any, is most appropriate for you. living-trust-lawyer

Of course, a sit-down consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer is one of the most effective ways for someone who is thinking about incorporating a trust to ensure that any existing documents they have are updated to reflect their individual concerns, while also developing new tools and strategies as necessary. A living trust can be part of your retirement and estate planning.

It is important to think beyond just a simple estate planning process but also about the impacts that you plan can have in the future. For those seniors who have a surviving spouse, a family to support after they pass on, and significant assets, a will in and of itself is often not enough of an ideal document. Building a living trust is a critical structure to help you accomplish these additional goals. Your living trust might also be referred to as a revocable trust because it can be changed or dissolved based on the wishes of the person who establishes it.

The great thing about a living trust is that it helps serve as a bridge across the challenging process known as probate. Whereas in the probate process, your entire estate will fall into the temporary court possession, your living trust is a container that smoothly transitions your asset possession from court to the successor trustee. Your experienced state planning attorney is a valuable asset to help navigate this transition by pulling together the key documents and tools that you need. Consult with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney today about how to use a living trust.

 

Will Your Long-Term Care Planning Default Keep You from Proper Protection?

July 3, 2018

Filed under: Long Term Care — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Most people assume that they do not need long term care planning in their overall estate planning. Since illness and death are both extremely difficult subjects to broach on your own, many people don’t even realize the serious possibility of facing the high statistics. In fact, a recent fidelity study found that the amount of money people will have to spend on typical medical and health care expenses in retirement is up 70% from 2002 numbers. LTC-lawyer-NJ

A person retiring this year at age 65 will have to come up with around $280,000 just for their health care, and the cost for long term care insurance is not helping the situation either. In fact, long term care insurance premiums have been rising dramatically in recent years and this means that people now have to pay more to get even less support from their long-term care policies. It is a huge mistake to assume you won’t be touched by long term care. There is a possibility that you have already encountered a family member who did not do appropriate planning and has had to suffer financially as a result of a sudden incapacitating event, such as a diagnosis of dementia or even a broken hip that leaves them in the nursing home for far too long.  A tsunami of baby boomers is expected to retire in the coming years and have a significant need for long term care.

Details from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that a person turning 65 this year will have a 70% chance of needing long term care. But fewer than 16 % of American adults today have long term care insurance to pay for that. Avoidance is the planning default because many people don’t realize the opportunities available to them or how to most appropriately fit it into their existing schedule. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer in New Jersey today to learn more about your options and to consider how Medicaid and other planning tools can help you while you are still alive.

 

Buzz Aldrin Case Had Highlights Importance of Having Estate Planning Documents

July 2, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

A recent lawsuit filed in Florida was brought forward by an astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, who claims that his children have inaccurately accused him of having dementia and have made it impossible for him to manage his own financial affairs. Two of his children and his former business manager are being sued after he claims that they misused his credit cards and transferred money outside of an account without his permission. 

The primary basis for the two children who brought their own legal case is that they allege he is suffering from delusions, paranoia, memory loss and confusion. They both requested that the court appoint them as legal guardians, claiming that the assets being spent by Aldrin were disappearing at an alarming rate and that he had been cohorting with new friends who are attempting to alienate him from his family members.

In this situation, the Florida courts put together an evaluation panel to determine the mental status of Aldrin. Although it remains to be seen how the Aldrin case will unfold, this is an important lesson for those people who are contemplating putting together their estate planning documents, since someone else may be allowed to request legal guardianship over your case by alleging that you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. Being classified as mentally incapacitated could enable people you don’t want making decisions on your behalf to have all of the power relating to your finances or medical care.

This is why it is so important to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney to verify that you have the legal documents empowering the right people in the role of power of attorney and for your health care directives. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself.

Don’t Leave Out Estate Planning When You Are Separated

June 28, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

 

A legal separation presents immediate problems if you put your estate planning documents on pause and don’t take the time to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Even if you’re still determining the future of the marriage, leaving the possibility open that your spouse can make decisions on your behalf can be quite problematic. 

Divided couple are separated by white wall but holding hands

Separation does not automatically mean that spousal rights are extinguished entirely. If you want to ensure that someone other than your currently estranged spouse is able to take legal action on your behalf or even plan your funeral, you need to have a health care directive and other documents in place. The tragic deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade both illustrate the challenges of estate planning from the perspective of being separated from a spouse.

If someone is not legally divorced from an estranged spouse, this can present problems along into the future and ones that can be easily guarded against by scheduling a consultation with an estate planning attorney. When you get separated, you need to update all of your legal information and have a consultation with a lawyer about what issues need to be clearly and fully addressed in your estate plan.

Your Legacy Is on The Line with Your Estate Planning

June 27, 2018

Filed under: Legacy Planning — Neel Shah @ 1:41 pm

Your estate might end up being bankrupt unless you protect against very particular threats. Whether you are a family with plenty of wealth, a middle-class person, or a successful business owner, if you haven’t completed the process of asset protection planning and shielded yourself against the possibility of lawsuits, your entire legacy and all of the assets you have worked so hard to build and save could be on the line. Comprehensive estate planning without asset protection leaves you exposed to the risk of just one lawsuit. legacy-planning

These lawsuits can be financially ruinous and can devastate your loved ones for generations. Conventional estate planning in conjunction with asset protection planning, must be done in order to ensure that you are sending along the maximum amount when you pass away.

Furthermore, you need to protect your current wealth from being devastated by lawsuits prior to passing away. Since traditional estate planning only encompasses half of the problem, you need to ensure that your lawyer is thoroughly experienced in the asset protection planning process.

What Happens If You Rely on Beneficiary Designations Alone to Transfer Your Assets?

June 26, 2018

Filed under: Beneficiaries — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Are you concerned about what will happen to your assets after you pass away? If so, you may be ahead of the curve of many people who have not even contemplated the benefits of estate planning. However, updating your beneficiary designations alone, doesn’t always mean that you are fully covered with regards to protecting how these get transferred. estate-planning-bene-forms

Assets that are transferred at death via appropriately completed beneficiary designations affect many different types of assets. All of your documents should be updated with your underlined goals in mind which means addressing not just the beneficiary designation forms but also all of your other legal documents, including your power of attorney, healthcare proxy and existing trusts.

There is no doubt that divorce represents a significant upheaval of everything you have come to know, however, an estate planning attorney can help you navigate these complexities and ensure that you have a plan to address all of the relevant issues linked to ending your marriage.

In addition to your beneficiary forms, keep on track with all of your goals for your estate planning in general, including updating your will and your trusts.

 

Give Plenty of Attention to Your Life Insurance Trust

June 25, 2018

Filed under: ILIT — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Are you contemplating using a tool such as an irrevocable life insurance trust? You need the support of an attorney who has helped many other people. Craft these trusts before to ensure that all of the provisions appropriately protect you and are legally valid. 

Simply put, estate plan attention must be given to your irrevocable life insurance trust. If someone has joint trustees listed on an ILIT, one common question brought forward by clients is whether or not the beneficiaries will be able to keep those funds out of the estates of beneficiaries. While this may seem like a cost-effective step to list two of your children on the ILIT before the second death, it is important that everyone understands the requirements of being a trustee and how to appropriately accomplish them. It might also be beneficial to contemplate transferring the trustee powers to a third party, assuming that the beneficiaries intend to access the funds for their own purposes.

If not, the IRS may determine that this is actually a trust fund inside the personal estate of the beneficiaries. A consultation with an estate planning attorney can go a long way towards addressing issues and questions you may have over the duration of the process.

Don’t Allow This Mistake to Swallow Thousands of Dollars Out of Your Estate

June 21, 2018

Filed under: Taxes — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

The estate tax exemption is currently set at multiple million per person. While conventional planning techniques, at a very basic level, can cover you from a tax perspective, they might not address the family conflicts, and in particular, one of the leading mistakes that people make when looking ahead to their future is in appointing the smartest or perceived brightest child to oversee your estate. estate-plan-NJ

This could end up being a mistake, however, if you are not careful. While conventional planning opportunities can help assist with tax problems, they might not go far enough to address family dynamics that will long outlast your savings and you.

This is why it is important to have an estate planning attorney who is knowledgeable about possible issues of family conflict and one who can help you avoid these challenges and to successfully navigate a plan that looks into the best interests of you as well as your individual family members. The support of a lawyer is instrumental in outlining what is in your best interests and how to minimize the potential for conflicts and legal issues down the line.

Retirement Gender Gaps

June 20, 2018

Filed under: Retirement Planning — Neel Shah @ 2:13 pm

A new Merrill Lynch study has found that women have to work harder than men. This is especially problematic given that longevity numbers for women indicate that they are likely to live longer. A woman may outlive her spouse by 10 years or more, putting additional pressure on her if there are not sufficient financial assets to support her. Women have to start planning and saving for retirement earlier on and must also work longer in order to enjoy pension and Social Security benefits. plan for estate NJ

Women often have to play catch up and worry about the fact that they live longer. Both can present serious problems.

Pay and debt disparities are some of the common reasons women enter into the workplace with less opportunities than men to begin with. This means they must play catch up over the course of their life. Even combining finances with a spouse calls for additional planning opportunities as someone who may suddenly lose a spouse may be in the position of finding it difficult or impossible to move on with their life. This is particularly true if issues surrounding long term care emerge immediately.

If you want to talk about how to best save your assets and then plan for them in your retirement, set aside a time to talk to an experienced estate planning attorney today.

More Workers Are Concerned About Retirement Benefits Than Health Care Plans

June 19, 2018

Filed under: Retirement Planning — Tags: — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Anyone who is looking forward to their future will be cognitive of how their retirement plan connects in with their overall financial goals and their estate planning. Retirement plans are often a significant asset and one that can draw in employees. retirement-estate-planning-NJ

A new study finds that employees in the United States marketplace are more focused on retirement benefits than on healthcare benefits and there is good reason to be mindful of this. With the average person in the United States living longer than ever before, it is important for both men and women to be aware of how their retirement benefits accumulated over the course of a lifetime can influence their ability to be stable when they do retire.

A survey of 5,000 United States employees recently released this week found that two-thirds of respondents were willing to have more money taken out of their paychecks every month to support more generous retirement benefits, and only 38% of those same respondents were willing to pay more each month for better health care benefits.

Although employees may feel vulnerable about their longtime financial prospects, you can take you future into your own hands by gathering a team of experienced professionals such as an estate planner, a financial planner, and retirement planning specialist to help you accomplish your goals.

Financial Matters You Must Consider in a Second Marriage

June 18, 2018

Filed under: Blended Families — Neel Shah @ 11:59 am

Day to day financial management, liabilities and assets are all of unique concern to people in second marriages or blended families. Whether you are remarrying after the death of a spouse or after a divorce, it is important to enter into this with new and smart financial planning.blended-families-estate-planning

There are many different things to consider, including how you will address your future financial wishes and your current financial situation. It helps to begin with a comprehensive review of your liabilities as well as your assets. These liabilities can include student loan debt, credit card balances, mortgages, car loans and more. Your assets can include a house, stocks, bank accounts, cars, insurance contracts and more.

The day to day financial obligations should also be addressed with a new spouse. How will the monthly bills get paid? Some couples choose to put everything in a joint account, whereas others choose to have separate checking account and split their expenses in that manner. No matter what you select, it’s important to engage with an estate planning lawyer and a financial advisor to help.

Avoid These Financial Advisor Mistakes

June 14, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Selecting a financial advisor, much like choosing an estate planning attorney, is a very personalized process and one that must be done with extra special care. Identification that you have selected the wrong financial advisor could come with many problems. Poor communication, a generic approach that doesn’t take your unique concerns under consideration, and high fees are some of the most common complaints lodged against financial advisors. 

It’s much easier to avoid a mistake in the first place by selecting the right financial advisor, so there are three major things that you should never do when you are thinking about hiring someone to work with. The first is believing everything that an advisor says. Much like any other professional, it’s valuable to get insight from an advisor but you should not take everything they say as completely accurate.

Never enter an important relationship without a high level of trust. Another thing you should avoid doing is believing nothing that an advisor says. If you’ve already been disappointed by someone in the past, there’s no doubt that you’ll be hesitant about whether or not to believe what this current person is telling you. But disbelieving everything they say could be a mistake. Finally, don’t forget the difference between delegating to an advisor and doing some work of your own. Outside professional advice is extremely important in articulating a plan that addresses your individual needs, but it is equally important to ensure that you have done your homework on your end when your advisor gives you materials or suggestions.

Don’t Forget to Plan for Long Term Care

June 13, 2018

Filed under: Long Term Care — Tags: — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

It seems like every day you may hear about updates to Medicaid and Medicare, and many people who have scheduled meetings with estate planning attorneys come in very confused about the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. Although both programs were created by federal laws, they accomplish very different things. 

If Medicare does not pay for long term care, you could find yourself very stressed out how to proceed and protect yourself. Most people are already aware of the benefits of long term care insurance, but fewer insurance companies are offering these traditional policies and it can be very expensive. Other products that cover needed services like continental care, home care, a nursing facility, recovery or an indemnity plan have come into the marketplace. Furthermore, there are some life insurance policies you can purchase that may pay for long term care and similar services if they are outside of traditional LTC setting.

You’ll also want to set up a time to consult with an experienced Medicaid planning attorney to discuss how to qualify for this critical government program in the right way and ensure that you are not facing any penalties for the way that you approach planning. A consultation with a Medicaid planning attorney and an estate planning lawyer can ensure that you have the assets set aside for your retirement that you may need, while also getting the peace of mind that you have taken the necessary steps to protect yourself in terms of needed long-term care.

Given that so many people will have to rely on some form of long term care services in the future, it is in your best interests to identify an attorney who can help you articulate a plan that protects your best interests.  

What Happens When Your Estate and Your Business Planning Combines?

June 12, 2018

Filed under: Business Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

As you are discussing things with your estate planning attorney, you may have already started or are considering starting a new business venture. You will have individual estate planning as well as business planning concerns that may have separate sections for estate planning and may be interconnected in some ways. There is no better time to protect your business than at the start of launching a company, but you can still benefit from business succession planning and estate planning if you have already been in business for some time. One of the most important things to protect is your trade name when you launch a company. business and estate planning

The name of a business is one of the issues that is resolved first in launching a new venture, but often, clients don’t give much thought on how to protect that name because they don’t realize that there is much to protect or are too busy with other issues. There is no better time, however, to protect your business’s name at the start of its use, simply because starting a new business doesn’t mean that your firm is automatically protected.

Additional effort is required and may involve other professionals such as an intellectual property attorney in addition to the estate planning professional you are currently working with. Scheduling a consultation directly with an attorney who can advise you about how your individual estate planning and your business succession planning may intersect, is important.   

What You Should Know About Retirement Rollovers in a New Job

June 11, 2018

Filed under: Retirement Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Taking on a new position certainly means a big transition in your life, but it’s equally important to think about how this affects your retirement and your estate planning concerns. Financial advisors share that rolling over your existing 401(k) funds into a new employer’s plan is not always the most appropriate fit for all employees. Other options may include taking a lump sum payout, choosing an in-plan Roth conversion or opening a new IRA.retirement and estate planning NJ

Savers may choose to leave their money where it is, although some plan administrators say that your former position may impose restrictions. You will want talk to your financial adviser as well as your estate planning professional about how this influences your current life and your future. Rolling over into a new IRA preserves the most investing flexibility, according to financial advisors.

You will also need to make sure that all of your estate planning and beneficiary related materials are updated as well. When you move into a new plan, the materials inside your estate planning documents, such as your will, will be superseded by the beneficiary designation forms you have listed on your retirement accounts. This is what makes it so important to verify that these beneficiary designations are updated at least on an annual basis.

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