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Category Archives: Estate Planning

I have heard that I can “disclaim” inherited assets or property. What does this mean?

A “disclaimer” is the refusal to accept a gift, bequest, or beneficiary designation on an account (e.g., an IRA or life insurance policy). The person making the disclaimer must disclaim this property within nine months and not have accepted any interest in the property. As an example, say Sue is the named beneficiary on her uncle’s […]

In Terrorem Clause/No Contest Clause

You may have heard of an “In Terrorem Clause,” also called “No-Contest Clause.” Joan Rivers had one in her Will.* This is a provision that can be included in a Will which states that if any beneficiary or legal heir of the Estate tries to contest the Will, they will be treated as though they predeceased he […]

Q and A: Non-Probate Property

Q: My relative just passed away. It says in their Will that their IRA goes to me, but I found out that it is passing to someone else instead. What’s going on? A: An IRA account is a type of asset called “non-probate property.” This means that regardless of what is written in a person’s […]

Unclaimed Property (Part 2)

Earlier, we began to discuss how to claim your own Unclaimed Property (See Part 1 on Unclaimed Property here). But what if the owner of the Unclaimed Property is deceased? The process is still very simple, and similar to the process described above, but with some extra documentation required. Be aware that only the Executor or the Administrator of the decedent’s Estate […]

Unclaimed Property (Part 1)

When property (like a bank account, annuity, or life insurance policy) goes untouched or unclaimed for a certain amount of time, it “escheats” to the State. The property still belongs to the original owner, but you now have to go through your state’s Unclaimed Property division in order to claim your property. To find out […]

Elective Share of Surviving Spouse

The New Jersey statute pertaining to a surviving spouse’s elective share, R. 3B:8-1, reads as follows: “If a married person or person in a domestic partnership dies domiciled in this State, on or after May 28, 1980, the surviving spouse or domestic partner has a right of election to take an elective share of one-third of […]

How Assets Are Owned Will Affect Distribution at Death

Anybody who knows me knows that I always recommend a person have a Will, Living Will, and Power of Attorney. This article will focus on a Will and the effects of how assets are owned. A Will distributes “probate assets.” “Probate assets” are assets owned by you without an automatic beneficiary. However, if you currently […]

“Domestic Partners” and Transfer Inheritance Taxes

Generally, when a person dies, New Jersey death taxes apply. We have two levels of taxes: NJ Estate Taxes. These are only owed if the decedent has more than $675,000 in total assets, including life insurance. NJ Transfer Inheritance Taxes. The rate depends on a person’s relationship to the decedent. Depending on the closeness of […]

Estate Planning: Talking With Your Family

Planning your estate can be a difficult and emotionally-charged process. How does one go about discussing an estate plan with those who it will affect the most—family? As unpleasant and painful as a conversation about your Estate plan might seem, it is an extremely important topic to discuss with your loved ones. You need to […]

Estate Planning and Retirement Accounts

When planning your Estate, it is important to recognize that certain assets will be distributed to a designated beneficiary at death, rather than according to your Will. A common example of this is a joint bank account. Say a mother and her daughter have a bank account held jointly, with right of survivorship. If the […]

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