Estate Planning | Shah & Associates, P.C. Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog
Website Home Contact Us Blog Archives Blog Home

Interesting Image

Would you like more information on:

Schedule a Phone Call
to discuss your planning needs!
Click to Schedule an Appointment

Website Home



Contact Information

Forsgate Commons
241 Forsgate Drive
Monroe, NJ 08831
PH: (732)521-WILL (9455)
FX: (732)521-1204

What 0.6% Interest Rates Mean for Your Estate Planning

June 24, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:27 pm

 When interest rates adjust, you need to have in the back of your mind that it might be time to sit down and look at your retirement accounts and also your estate plans. As circumstances in the market and broader world are updated and adapt, you need to ensure your plan is in line with being updated, too.

Interest rates have hit historic lows across June and July 2020, meaning that there is some opportunity to discuss with your financial and estate planning professionals how to address this. 

One of the most important things to keep in mind is a grantor retained annuity trust which is an excellent way to ensure that most or all of the income from a property that is quickly appreciating and has high yields can be transferred to a child or another person with minimal impacts from estate or gift tax. 

When the retention period on a GRAT ends, assets inside the trust go to the named beneficiary known as the remainder. Any income or appreciation on the assets in excess of that retained annuity will pass on to your remainder beneficiaries tax free. GRATs can be especially complicated to put together but can accomplish a great deal of your estate planning and overall financial planning goals. 

To sit down and discuss whether or not a GRAT is appropriate for your situation, schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney who can help you look at the inventory of all of your assets, your current estate planning strategies and tactics and how these can be updated or improved to reflect all of your needs.       

Our office is here to help you when changes in the market call for a change in your estate plan. Set up a time to speak with our estate planning lawyer today.

The Value of Estate Planning for Baby Boomers

May 14, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 2:39 pm

A total of 22% of today’s population includes the baby boomer generation. Many of them are quickly reaching retirement age raising important questions about the value of estate planning.

Estate planning is so much more than passing along possessions and assets to millennial children. It is also about protecting their lifestyles and taking a long-range view towards the need for possible Medicaid support or other long-term care planning. The youngest baby boomers are turning 56 in 2020 and many of them have wealth that is expected to grow in the coming decades. 

Plenty of these baby boomers might not consider themselves wealthy outright but having a home, a second property, a car or money set inside a savings account means that you can still benefit from the strategies provided by an estate planning attorney.

This is because estate planning is more expansive than determining what happens to your possessions when you’re no longer around. It takes into account your individual decisions and preferences around long term care and health care. Schedule a consultation today with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to discuss how this can fit into your plan as a baby boomer.     

Our law office is still open but helping our clients over the phone and virtually. Don’t hesitate to reach out to determine how we can help you connect your estate plan, your elder law plan, and your retirement plan. 

Charitable Gifting During the Pandemic, Tips to Use & Tricks to Avoid

Filed under: Estate Planning — Raymund Rasco @ 2:10 pm

No one could have foreseen or wished for this Pandemic, or the impact that it has had on our planet. Yet one of the silver linings of all the current events has been the compassion and willingness that humanity has exhibited in helping one another. The amount of kindness, charitable gifting & volunteer work has been tremendous, and it is quite different than it was prior to the Pandemic.

Specifically, under the CARES act passed earlier this year, there are several changes to the way gifting is done to charitable organizations.

To start, there is now a $300 deduction available for Charitable Gifts to qualified organizations, even if you’re not itemizing your tax deductions. That is a change from the current law. It’s not clear whether this will continue beyond 2020, but it has certainly made it easier to obtain a tax benefit as a result of the gift.

Also, there is a suspension for tax year 2020 of the rule that requires you to limit your charitable deduction to 60% of your adjusted gross income – no matter how much you’ve gifted. There seems to be no limit in 2020.

Gifting for Retirees has taken on a different angle as well.  Because of the suspension of the rule that requires retirees to take Required Minimum Distributions from their Qualified retirement accounts, retirees might be less incentivized to utilize the Qualified Charitable Deduction tool which allows them to gift directly to a charity from retirement accounts such as and IRA and 401k (thereby reducing potential tax liability.)  Although that rule is still an acceptable method of gifting, and should still be considered when gifting above the $300 amount.

Unfortunately situations like this also bring out the worst in some people. That also means that scammers and those with less altruistic intentions can take advantage of generosity. Two tools which can be used to investigate whether or not a charity is in fact a legitimate charity and determine whether or not is properly formed for tax purposes are (a) the IRS website and (b) the Charity Navigator website. Specifically under the IRS website you can do a search to see whether it is a tax exempt organization.

It’s important to set the expectation at the onset whether or not you are expecting to receive a tax benefit as a result of your charitable gift. It’s not always the case that the donor is seeking tax benefits.  However, if a tax benefit (deduction) is sought, best to confirm that it is a 501 (c) (3) organization & obtain proper documentation of the gift.

Checking on some smaller charities & grassroots organizations/movements is much more difficult – it’s important to know how you came across the charity – a personal connection? Social media? Or did they solicit you from out of the blue.  Don’t be afraid to ask probing questions of the organizers.  pages have had a tremendous impact on helping with causes, although they’re usually not for tax-exempt charities. You should know that there is minimal supervision & policing of what exactly is done with the money after it’s been collected. Again, here a personal connection to the cause and to the persons in charge of the cause is helpful to determine legitimacy.

Neel and Pink recently hosted a Webinar on Facebook and on Youtube with such grassroots organizations, you can find the replay here:

Taking Control (5/12/20): How We Are Taking Care of Each Other

Property Tax Relief is Coming for New Jersey Homeowners

May 12, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:13 am

An executive order from Governor Phil Murphy now means that municipalities can update their property tax payment deadline from May 1st to June 1st. According to research completed by The Tax Foundation, The Garden State is actually home to the highest mean effective property tax in the entire country at 2.21%.

This gives homeowners in New Jersey a little bit of breathing room in their taxes. Now is a really good time to evaluate your current tax obligations across the board. 

Do you have appropriate tax planning strategies in place to protect your estate as well as taking into consideration the possibility of needing long term care in the future? Schedule a consultation with an experienced New Jersey estate planning lawyer if you have more questions about the best way to protect your interests. 

Do you have planning in place for what will happen to your property if something happens to you? Do you own other real property either in New Jersey or in a different state? You need to plan for this as part of your asset transfer strategy. 

Tax strategy planning can go a long way in helping you to avoid problems and potential disputes down the line. When your estate enters the probate process, the work you’ve already done in terms of planning will help your family members during this difficult time and ensure a smooth transfer of your property using the tools you’ve already outlined. 

Schedule a consultation with a lawyer who is very familiar with state and federal taxes and how they fit into the bigger picture of your estate plan.       

Protect Your Company Longevity with Business Succession Planning

May 11, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:27 pm

An important part of owning a successful business isn’t just documenting what you do now that makes you effective but also outlining a plan for what happens when you decide it’s time to move on or are forced to move on for circumstances outside your control.

Do you already have a successor lined up who can make the difficult decisions that you have made in the past? The next in line person to take over your role and take the business into the future should be someone who has a big passion for the work, the expertise needed to leverage business longevity and the willingness and ability to work with other employees.

Far too many small and medium sized businesses fail due to a lack of succession planning. In fact, the exit planning institute reports that 78% of businesses have no transition team in place and nearly 83% have no written transition plan. The employees staying in the business and the entire company at risk.

The right succession plan will be created now before you have any intention of leaving. It helps to protect a thriving enterprise and covers the need to transfer control to a successor and the possibility of the owner’s sudden departure. Finding the right successor is a process that should begin now.

Talk to our business succession planning lawyer today to learn more about how to begin the process. Your succession plan is there to help your employees, your leadership team, and the company not just survive your departure, but to continue growing and building on the firm foundation of success you already set up.

What Is A Long-Term Care Plan?

May 6, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:06 pm

Research shows that two out of every three Americans will need some form of assistance with activities of daily living. These activities of daily living are defined as dressing, bathing, walking, and toileting.

These activities of daily living could be impeded for an extended period of time or for a short term. Long-term care is often associated with nursing homes, but this is not the only way where the individuals can get support with care. In fact, the truth is that many people who need additional assistance get that care from home.

A long-term care plan is your big picture understanding of what you intend to happen in your retirement years and beyond in the event that you need long term care assistance. It is a common misconception that Medicare, the federal program that administers health care benefits for senior citizens, will step in to pay for long term care services on your behalf.

Medicare does not cover the vast majority of long-term care expenses and for those who do not have a long-term care insurance policy to support them, it falls to them to self-fund for their care. This can be especially overwhelming and confusing for those families that are approaching the long-term care crisis for the very first time. An elder law attorney or estate planning attorney can assist you with crafting a long-term care plan with your individual needs in mind.       

Is Now the Right Time to Pull Cash from Your IRA? Beware the Tax Implications

May 5, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 10:34 am

It might feel as though everything is up in the air with your financial planning situation lately. Since this has impacts on your day to day life and your overall financial picture, it’s important to think about how any changes you make now in light of the pandemic could influence your estate planning picture.

Our estate planning law firm is here to help you evaluate your current strategies or define your next steps for adjusting your strategy. The IRS has been issuing guidance about issues ranging from the Paycheck Protection Program to the ability to pull money from your IRA, but it’s up to you to be informed about how you respond and what you do next.

As of May 2020, you can remove up to $100,000 from your IRA so long as you pay it back within three years and take no tax hit for that transaction. However, you might be looking at some tax issues in the interim. The IRS has chosen to call these transactions coronavirus-related distributions. But as with all aspects of the new programs available to individuals and business owners, proceed with caution.

Each withdrawal and then repayment back into the IRA is treated like a rollover transaction classified as “free.” The good news about this is that there are no limits on what you can use the money you withdraw for, however, you might need to file amended tax returns in order to get the federal-income-tax-free treatment.

If your IRA was also an important component of your retirement and estate plan, you’ll want to think carefully about what makes the most sense in terms of how you proceed and whether pulling money from your IRA is the right choice for you right now. If you need assistance in recalibrating your estate plan or strategies right now, set up a meeting with our office to discuss options- we’re still working and here to help virtually.

Long-Term Investors, Don’t Let a Recession Faze You

May 4, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Raymund Rasco @ 9:49 pm

With activity in many industries sharply curtailed in an effort to reduce the chances of spreading the coronavirus, some economists say a recession is inevitable, if one hasn’t already begun.1 From a markets perspective, we have already experienced a drop in stocks, as prices have likely incorporated the growing chance of recession. Investors may be tempted to abandon equities and go to cash because of perceptions of recessions and their impact. But across the two years that follow a recession’s onset, equities have a history of positive performance.

Data covering the past century’s 15 US recessions show that investors tended to be rewarded for sticking with stocks. Exhibit 1 shows that in 11 of the 15 instances, or 73% of the time, returns on stocks were positive two years after a recession began. The annualized market return for the two years following a recession’s start averaged 7.8%.

Recessions understandably trigger worries over how markets might perform. But history can be a comfort for investors wondering whether now may be the time to move out of stocks.

Fama/French Total US Market Research Index: The value-weighed US market index is constructed every month, using all issues listed on the NYSE, AMEX, or Nasdaq with available outstanding shares and valid prices for that month and the month before. Exclusions: American Depositary Receipts. Sources: CRSP for value-weighted US market return. Rebalancing: Monthly. Dividends: Reinvested in the paying company until the portfolio is rebalanced.


Nelson D. Schwartz, “Coronavirus Recession Looms, Its Course ‘Unrecognizable,’” New YorkTimes, March 21, 2020; Peter Coy, “The U.S. May Already Be in a Recession,” Bloomberg Businessweek, March 6, 2020.


Sources: Dimensional Fund Advisors LP is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Kinds of Powers to Give to an Attorney in Fact

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:44 pm

When you appoint another person to make decisions for you that are legally binding, you need to use a power of attorney to establish this authority. The person you empower is referred to as an attorney-in-fact. There are many different kinds of powers that can be given to this person, and the most common ways to use such a document include giving them authority for your medical decisions or your financial choices.

However, you can decide with your lawyer what makes the most sense in terms of giving powers to your attorney-in-fact. Tailoring the POA to work for you means thinking about whether or not you have other things you’d like to be able to pass on to this agent.

You can specifically name the kinds of things you’d like this agent to be able to do, such as:

  • Paying for a child’s medical expenses or college tuition
  • Hiring a repairman to fix something on your property
  • Handling government benefits or filing for taxes
  • Exchanging, purchasing, or selling certain goods
  • Giving to charities with your assets
  • Handling the management of your existing insurance policies
  • Accepting benefits and changing retirement plans

You can make your power of attorney document as specific or as broad as you choose. The important thing is that you have a lawyer review this document and walk you through the benefits or potential challenges of the way you’ve laid it out. This will give you clarity and the chance to update or adjust things as needed.

Not everyone can be an attorney-in-fact. This person must be classified in your state as an adult, should not be someone who is filing for or waiting approval for a bankruptcy discharge, and not the owner or employee of a nursing home where the principal (the person creating the document) is a current resident. It’s a good idea to select someone who is comfortable serving in this important role and someone who you trust with your affairs.

Have more questions about the process of creating and implementing a power of attorney? Speak with a lawyer today about your options.

Your Estate Plan Probably Needs a Trust

April 28, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:35 pm

Some people assume that unless your estate size is substantial, that you can skip out on enhanced protections provided by something, such as a trust.

You might even assume that it’s not necessary to hire an attorney to create a will for you. However, a knowledgeable lawyer will take the big picture look at all of the issues in your estate plan including those you have not considered and provide you with a step by step roadmap that minimizes the potential of exposure to will contests and other lawsuits.

Your attorney can also help connect the dots between your situation and the strategies available to you, such as the benefits of creating a trust. Creating a trust enables a grantor or the person developing this trust to have more control over what their heirs do with money and assets and the manner in which the heirs receive this information. This can be especially important if you have younger heirs and you are concerned about their ability to effectively receive and manage these assets.

A trust can include specific rules designed at your discretion so that the heirs don’t, for example, receive all of the inheritance at once or they receive it after completing their college education, for example.

Additionally, by creating a trust you can also transfer property without exposing your assets to public record or going through probate court. If you don’t yet have a trust as a component of your estate plan, schedule a consultation with a lawyer today.       

How Long Would It Take for My Estate to Be Settled?

April 27, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:14 pm

If you have done the necessary planning to ensure that your estate has been discussed with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer, this is the first phase in protecting your desires and giving your loved ones an opportunity to receive the benefits you intended when you pass away. A common question either as a beneficiary to an estate or as you plan your own estate, is how long it can take for an estate to be settled.

Get help from a NJ probate lawyer

One year is a good rule of thumb for an estate to be settled. It can take a long time to dig through all of the details, to clean out the house or apartment, to file a final tax return, to liquidate any investments, pay off bills and even sell real estate. When everything has been held in trust and there is nothing in probate, it can go a lot faster. The process can also take longer if there are other complications, such as a need to sell real estate.

There can also be issues associated with anyone who files a challenge on the existing status of the will. Set up a consultation with our estate planning attorneys today to discuss how to make your estate easier to handle for your loved ones so that you have the peace of mind that comes with putting all of your estate plans in order.       

While it might seem like this process is a long ways off, you don’t want your loved ones dealing with the consequences of your lack of planning. Set up time to speak with an attorney who can help you structure your estate plan the right way.

Do You Have a Plan for Social Security Benefits with Your Estate?

April 22, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:35 pm

Benefits provided by social security are often one component of an overall estate plan that can also easily slip through the cracks. It is essential to have a financial power of attorney to ensure that there is another person to step in and take care of your finances if you become unable to do so as a result of illness or injury.

A financial power of attorney is a crucial component of your estate plan and since part of managing your overall finances is to manage your social security benefits, it is important to realize that the social security administration doesn’t recognize power of attorneys. In fact, you may need to contact the social security administration in advance as part of your estate plan to name a designation of a representative payee.

This program was created under a 2018 law that allows a person to name one or more other individuals responsible for managing the applicant’s social security benefits. The SSA then must work with the named individuals or individual. You can rank up to three people as advanced designees and list them in order of priority.

A person who is already getting Social Security benefits at their age can also name an advanced designee at any time and someone who is just beginning to claim benefits from the Social Security Administration can also name the designee during the claiming process.

You can do this on the Social Security website or by contacting the social security administration over phone to get further support. Using the website is currently in your best interests as many different government agencies are being contacted by many people at once and there are long wait and hold times on the phone. Schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer today to discuss benefits including Social Security that might affect your future planning.

These Two Cornerstones are the First Step Towards Making Your Estate Plan

April 21, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:17 pm

Today, estate planning attorneys are being contacted at record numbers to get assistance in putting together power of attorney documents or wills in the midst of the pandemic. If you are in a situation in which you feel compelled to quickly pull together your estate plan, it’s important to partner with a knowledgeable professional in the form of an estate planning lawyer. Certain suggestions can help you accomplish your goals more effectively than others. 

One of the most important things you can do is to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer. An estate planning lawyer will have the necessary experience in understanding your state’s laws to be able to craft a legally valid document that takes into account the state and federal issues as well as your unique concerns when you approach your own estate plan.

There are many different questions that need to be answered and it is in your best interests to make sure that an attorney has helped you craft and review these documents to verify that they meet necessary rules and regulations.

Be wary of attempting to pull together a general estate plan or general estate plan documents, such as a will, on your own. While there are many online planning tools that can help give you the information to jumpstart this process, these should not be relied on as your only resource.

The second thing you can do to pull together your estate plan quickly is to create a valid will. It’s important that this document is created under the state laws of the area in which you reside. Some people believe that this can be a challenge with stay at home restrictions but you can contact your estate planning attorney to learn more about what you need to know and how you can jumpstart the process so that you do not miss out on the important opportunity to get your estate plan in line.

Scheduling a phone or Zoom consultation with your estate planning lawyer today is the necessary first step to give you peace of mind and to ensure that you are on track to create these documents that could become critically important now or in the future.

What Is Long Term Care Insurance? Do You Really Need It for Your Estate Plan?

April 20, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 2:36 pm

Many older Americans have been thinking about the concept of long-term care insurance recently and with good reason. Chances are good that you’ll become injured or sick at some point during your retirement and require extra support to pay for your medical bills.

This is a service that can be especially valuable to long term care insurance policy holders. In the past, many of these policies were sold with one single premium, meaning a lump sum payment of up to $50,000 or $100,000 per individual. However, long term care insurance companies have evolved significantly to allow annual payments for this important protection. 

Since research shows that it’s approximately a 50% chance that a 65-year-old American will require some form of long-term care insurance in the future, you could be personally responsible for paying up to $140,000 if you don’t have this all-important long-term care insurance.

However, the vast majority of US seniors have put off purchasing long term care insurance because they think they don’t need it or that it’s too expensive. Only 7.2 million people in the United States currently have long term care insurance.

Those who choose to skip it are taking a big risk in doing so. Do you have a plan for what will happen to your money if you were to suddenly need LTC? Would it harm the savings plan you have in place with your spouse? Then you need Medicaid planning. 

It’s also important to remember that someone who faces challenges with long term care insurance might not only encounter these challenges in the concept of their retirement years. A person can sustain an injury that requires long term care rehabilitation at other ages in their life, such as a bicyclist who is struck in an accident and seriously hurt. Long term care insurance should form an important component of your personal estate planning responsibility.

Life Insurance: Is it Part of Your Estate Plan?

April 15, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:25 pm

As part of an estate plan, your knowledgeable attorney might recommend different tools to help you accomplish your individual goals and allow for the streamlined transfer of assets to your loved ones. This can mean using something such as life insurance to help support other asset transfers within your overall estate plan.

There are three primary types of life insurance you might consider in this process: group, whole and term. Group insurance is most frequently offered as part of an employee benefits package and therefore, this is extremely convenient.

The challenge, however, is that this kind of insurance will not follow you during a career change and you’ll also want to determine whether the amount of the set policy is really enough to support your family in the event that you pass away.

Whole life insurance is much more expensive because it covers an individual for their entire lifetime while also offering an added benefit in the form of cash value that increases over time. It’s a good idea to have an advisor or insurance agent help you with this process since purchasing whole life can be expensive and confusing. The final kind of insurance that is most popular for people who are thinking about it in the context in their estate plan is term life insurance.

Term life insurance is the most affordable option and it is seen as renting insurance since you get the policy for a period of 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. This enables you to protect your income during your primary working years, for example.       

What Belongs Inside My Personal Will?

April 12, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:00 am

When there is no will for your estate plan, this puts your family members in a very difficult situation, because it becomes the responsibility of the New Jersey courts to decide what happens to your property. This is referred to as dying intestate and the settlement process that follows might not generate the results that you had intended for your survivors.

Essential Facets of Your Personal Will

There are four primary aspects that should be incorporated in your will. These include naming guardians for any minor children, instructions for when and how beneficiaries are entitled to receive assets, the names of beneficiaries who will inherit assets, and the designation of the person who will carry out the provisions of the will.

For assets that do not allow beneficiary naming, such as real estate or certain bank accounts, the will is an ideal place to determine who will get these and name any special instructions. Some assets allow for beneficiary naming and a direct transfer of the asset outside of the will. These usually avoid the probate process and include investment accounts, IRAs, and life insurance policies.

This can help to maximize what you leave behind to beneficiaries since these can typically avoid certain taxes and fees. Set up a time to speak with your estate planning lawyer today to learn more if you need more information about how to evaluate all the assets you own that belong inside your will.

Do You Really Need A Planner for an Estate?

April 8, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:42 pm

Whether you are thinking about your investments and your retirement or how your estate plan answers many of your most common goals, you need assistance from an expert in the world of financial planning.

But finding the right person to assist you in addition to finding a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to help you think about how all these pieces connect can be complicated. You need to understand that there are new options available to you in terms of identifying financial professionals or estate planning professionals.

It’s a good idea at the outset of a relationship to understand how you might pay for this advice. Some planners even offer subscriptions with prices that are based on your income or your individual situation. This means that you can benefit from getting one on one access to the professional while not having to pay extensive fees. This gives you some form of regular access to the professional as well.

In addition to having an estate planning attorney to help guide you through many of the most common concerns that you might have as you near retirement age, it is a good idea to engage with other professionals who can assist you in developing a comprehensive plan.

For example, you might need the services of a CPA or a financial planner. Together these professionals can outline a plan that will protect you and your loved ones while keeping your personal goals top of mind.       

What Is a Healthcare Proxy?

April 6, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:57 am


A healthcare proxy is a term you might have heard of in relation to comprehensive estate planning. The term proxy refers to another person acting on your behalf. With regard to healthcare proxies, this person is equipped to express your individual wishes on your behalf if you are unable to do so. Depending on where you live and where you execute this document, this might also be referred to as a durable medical power of attorney or your appointment of a healthcare agent. 

Of course, you know your personal healthcare wishes best, but if you were injured in an accident or otherwise unable to speak up for yourself, you need someone else to express your concerns.

Some people think that a healthcare proxy is only used if the patient in question is terminally ill. This is not the case. Your proxy is actually able to make decisions on your behalf any time that you are incapacitated and unable to communicate due to a temporary or permanent injury or illness.

There could be a natural fear that someone else is making decisions for you when you might be in a compromised state, but not enough of a serious medical condition to be totally unable to speak for yourself. A doctor might need to certify that you meet the grounds to be classified as incapacitated before your proxy is able to make decisions for you.

Remember that whoever you name in the role of proxy could potentially have access to your medical records depending on the permissions you allow. Make sure that the person you appoint knows about your personal religious beliefs, healthcare provider opinions and preferred institutions, medical treatment preferences, and personal feelings regarding illness and healthcare treatment.

Before you find yourself in a difficult situation with a loved one, make sure they’ve named someone as a healthcare proxy to speak for them. Assigning your own healthcare proxy is important, too!

Can New Jersey Residents Still Benefit from Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts?

April 1, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 4:09 pm

Irrevocable life insurance trusts have long been a popular estate planning tool in a variety of different circumstances to help achieve client goals efficiently and effectively. These were often used to shield life insurance proceeds from the estate tax in New Jersey by making the ILIT the beneficiary and owner of a life insurance policy, which therefore removed the proceeds from the individual’s overall estate.

In 2018, however, New Jersey repealed the New Jersey estate tax and now that the federal estate tax exemption is over $11 million per person today, many estate and trust attorneys have decreased their need and use with ILITs.

However, there are several different benefits to consider with these estate planning tools. Scheduling a consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can be a first step towards recognizing how these can be helpful for your individual situation. An irrevocable life insurance trust gives you more control over your insurance policies and the money that is paid out from them. There are three primary components to an insurance trust.

The grantor is the person who creates the trust, the trustee is the person who manages it and the trust beneficiaries are the people who receive the assets after you pass away. An insurance trust means that the trust owns the policy and therefore, the trustee that you appoint in this role has to follow the instructions placed in your trust, giving you even more control over the proceeds. To learn more about how life insurance factors into the bigger conversation about your estate, schedule a consultation with an experienced New Jersey estate planning lawyer today.         

How to Minimize Mistakes During the Estate Planning Process

March 31, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 11:58 am

Since estate planning can be complex and should be aligned with your individual and family goals, mistakes can and do happen. All too often these common mistakes are ones that end up being revealed in the midst of a crisis or after the loss of a loved one.

The most common estate planning mistake is having no plan in place at all. Many people fall for the misconception that estate planning is only for those who are extremely wealthy, but estate planning can benefit people of all different estate sizes.

Estate planning, in fact, can be as simple as proper powers of attorney and asset titling and doesn’t need to include sophisticated trusts or other documents if that’s not relevant for you.

However, another common mistake with regard to estate planning is procrastinating when an agreement can’t be made between key parties. This is particularly relevant if a person has recently passed away and established a trust. If the terms of the trust were impacted by a mistake of facts, then the trust can be changed. If an understanding or mistake ever happens, it must be proven by clear and convincing evidence that must be held up in court.

To minimize the possibility of estate planning mistakes, it is in your best interest to schedule a consultation with a trusted estate planning lawyer who can help you craft these documents accurately from the outset or to review the existing documents and make recommendations.           

Older Posts »