Articles Posted in Hoboken Estate Planning & Wills

When it comes to wills and living trusts, you may hear a lot of discussion about avoiding probate. The degree of importance of avoiding probate will vary from person to person and will depend on exactly what assets you possess. There are certain groups of people for whom avoiding probate is especially important. If you’re someone who owns property in multiple states, you very possibly are one of those people. That means that the right type of estate planning can potentially save your loved ones a great deal of time and money, so you should make sure to contact an experienced Hoboken estate planning attorney about your situation.

A while ago, the advice column relayed the story of a child whose father had died without a will. When you die with no will in New Jersey, that’s called “dying intestate” and it means your assets are distributed under the terms of New Jersey’s intestate distribution law.

When that distribution was finished, the child had received the father’s timeshare. The piece did not state where the timeshare was located but, given that only about 1% of all timeshares are located here in the Garden State, it is certainly possible that it was somewhere outside New Jersey, like Florida or South Carolina.

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According to the National Center for State Courts, the frequency of people proceeding in legal matters without an attorney is increasing. Handling a legal matter without an attorney — any legal matter — is filled with potential risks and pitfalls. Some people may think that, because creating a will or a trust often involves many straight-forward factual matters and relatively few murky, complex concepts of the law, that representation by a skilled attorney isn’t really needed. That kind of thinking is often a serious mistake. Going forward without an experienced Hoboken estate planning attorney may seem frugal but, when problems arise later, you’ll be glad you had representation provided by a knowledgeable legal professional.

Take, as an example, the estate of V.O. V.O. was a Middlesex County woman who died in March 2019 at age 83. Three years earlier, V.O. made the wise decision to retain an attorney and execute a will. The will said that, after the payment of certain specific gifts, her two sons, D.Y. and M.Y., should receive the rest of her assets on a 50-50 basis. One of those specific gifts went a third son, J.Y., to whom the mother left exactly $1,000.

D.Y., whom the mother named as the executor of her will, submitted the will to be probated. J.Y. filed something called a “caveat,” which is the legal document you must file to contest a will. J.Y.’s argument was that his mother was under the “undue influence” of D.Y. when she signed the 2016 will.

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There are lots of benefits you can receive from a well-crafted estate plan. Your will, trust or trusts can give you the peace of mind of knowing that your wishes and preferences are in “black and white” in valid legal document. Such legal documents can help you to provide for friends or relatives who are outside your immediate family… or perhaps benefit a cherished charity. You can also, in some situations, help to avoid certain taxes. To do that, though, you should make sure you’re working with the right legal team. Your skilled Hoboken estate planning attorney can help you get this kind of plan set up cor

rectly, and setting it up right is critical because, if your plan is set up incorrectly, it can have devastating tax consequences.

That was the case for the estate of M.V.R. New Jersey is one of just a few states that have an inheritance tax. As with many forms of what’s often called “death taxes,” there are ways of potentially reducing your tax liability exposure through estate planning techniques. One common method to address the inheritance tax in New Jersey is for married couples to establish two trusts during their lifetime. When the first spouse dies, his/her trust takes ownership of his/her half of the marital home, and the trust pays a tax based on the home’s value at that time. The same thing happens upon the second spouse’s death, with the second spouse’s trust taking ownership of that half of the home and paying the associated taxes.

M.V.R. and her husband, W.V.R., had an estate plan that did something a bit different. Their plan established a single irrevocable trust and the couple transferred ownership of their home into that trust during their lifetime.

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