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Category Archives: Estate Planning

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 […]

Estate Administration Part 3: Your responsibilities as the Administrator of the Estate

As mentioned in the previous post, here are the specific responsibilities that come with being the Administrator of an Estate: (a) Apply to become Administrator of the Estate – you must wait 5 days after the date of death. However, the Surrogate’s Office will often accept the papers in advance of this and hold same until […]

Estate Administration Part 2: So you’re the Administrator of an Estate—now what?

You have received Letters of Administration from the Court… You submitted all the required paperwork to the Surrogate’s Court and have been officially appointed Administrator of your loved one’s Estate. This is a great honor, but also carries a great deal of responsibility. To help you understand your responsibilities and to help you administer the […]

Estate Administration Part 1: How to Apply for Letters of Administration

Ordinarily, a person specifies in his or her Will who they would like to deal with the matters of their Estate when they pass away. This is often a spouse, relative, or close friend—someone who the person trusts to act in the best interests of their Estate and their family. The person named in a […]

Q and A: “My mother passed away and the bank won’t let me use her POA. What happened?”

Unfortunately, a Power of Attorney is no longer valid if the Principal dies. The purpose of your POA was to allow you to act on your Mother’s behalf during her lifetime. At her death, the POA automatically terminates. Now you must qualify as her Executor (if she has a Will) or Administrator (if she does […]

Power of Attorney Part 6: Does the POA expire?

Unless specified otherwise, a POA will not expire. On rare occasions a POA will contain an expiration date; however, we strongly advise against including this, as you can always just change your POA if the need arises. If you do not list an expiration date in your POA, it will never expire in New Jersey. […]


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