Are You a Trust Fund Baby?

Well if you are, I’m jealous!  Being a trust fund baby typically means you will not need to worry about making money of your own during your life. Your wealthy parents may have set up a trust fund of some type for you which was handed over to you when you reached a certain age, or a certain incident occurs (often the death of a parent or family member).

So what does a trust fund of this type consist of? Well, it can be anything from cash and stocks to property and various other financial products. Of course the fund isn’t just paid out to a trust fund baby. In most instances strict terms are attached so that a certain amount is paid out on a monthly or annual basis to the beneficiary to ensure financial security over the long term. Usually general living expenses, education and similar are paid from this fund.

How do trust funds of this type work?

A trust fund baby is very fortunate in that the person setting up the fund has planned and prepared well in advance for their financial security. Generally the fund is set in place and a trustee, who is responsible for managing the trust fund and ensuring it is being conducted according to the terms of the trust and also in the best interests of the beneficiary, is appointed. The trustee is usually a legal entity such as the family lawyer or someone close to the family.

The trustee of the fund has certain responsibilities:

  • Ensuring tax returns are filed.
  • Compiling and presenting financial reports to the grantor.
  • Approving the withdrawal and use of funds by the beneficiary.

As a trust fund baby you will need to be in touch with your grant trustee and the legal or financial entities involved in the management of the fund in order to benefit. You will usually be advised of your fund by the grantor, or you will be informed via someone’s will after the event of their death.

How an Attorney can help you create your own Trust Fund Babies!

If you are a wealthy individual with significant assets to pass on, establishing a trust fund for your dependents is an absolutely essential part of your inheritance and estate planning. And while the common meaning of trust fund babies is sometimes equated with less than complementary characteristics, you can set up your trust fund in an infinite variety of ways so your children don’t become too spoiled.

In all scenarios involving trust fund creation or gaining access to one, hiring a estate planning attorney who is familiar with trusts is essential. For more information on how to start a trust fund or gain access to one, take the time to chat with us at SCC Legal. Your initial consultation is always free.

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What is a living will?

A living will is slightly different from your last will and testament. This particular type of will is designed for those who are receiving medical treatment or will in the future, and want to be able to express their desires regarding treatment when they are no longer able to speak for themselves. This is often referred to as an “advanced directive” and usually dictates that an individual does not consent to artificial life support when dying/after an operation/when involved in an accident and so on.

The living will is usually signed in duplicate and at least two witnesses are required. It is important to ensure you let your doctors and family members know of this particular will and where to find it in the event of something happening to you. It is vitally important to have one of these wills in place if you want your loved ones and health care providers to be advised of your wishes when it comes to life prolonging medical treatment.

Setup a living will – New Jersey residents

In New Jersey, you can actually download a form called an “Instructive Directive” from the State of New Jersey Department of Health’s Website. You will see a variety of sections that need to be completed and it is strongly recommended you make use of a lawyer to assist you with completing each section correctly and with enough detail. Alternatively your lawyer can draw up all the paperwork involved for you.

Of course the requirements for a living will are different in each state, which is why it is vitally important to have a lawyer involved in the drawing up of the will. Most elder law legal practices will include a living will as part of their estate planning package, much the same as we do at SCC Legal.

Take the time to discuss your legal needs and requirements with us at SCC Legal and we will insure you are assisted every step of the way.

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Why Do I Need To Establish Legal Guardianship?

Have you given much thought to the welfare of your children should you pass away? Are you taking care of elderly or long term disabled individuals? What will happen to them? Who will look after them? Many people don’t give this enough thought and fail to plan, but you can turn that around. Legal guardianship arrangements are legally binding and by ensuring you have planned for your children’s or dependents lives after your death. This is especially important for children, by doing this properly you can safeguard them from becoming a part of the government adoption/foster care system, a place you really don’t want them to end up.

In the state of New Jersey, the court allows for a parent of a minor to designate or propose legal guardianship of minors in the event of their death (death of both parents) as long as the court approves.

What does legal guardianship mean?

If someone has legal guardianship of your children when you die, it means they will be responsible for their well-being and financial interests. Plainly put, they will become your child’s parents in many respects of the term and have the authority to make decisions which will affect the minor’s life (which will hopefully be in their best interests).

The best way to safeguard your children from becoming part of the government system is to ensure you establish legally binding guardianship for all dependents. Hand in hand with this is having estate planning and a will set in place as early in your life as is possible. This will ensure your property and children will be properly taken care of in the event of anything untoward happening to you.

By having a legal guardianship established, and a last will and testament in place, you can avoid having a court appointed executor or administrator tending to your estate (and your children) as they see fit.

How does an Elder Lawyer Help Setup a Legal Guardianship?

At a minimum, a good elder lawyer will help you draw up the legal documents that establish an ironclad plan for the care of your minor children or other dependents when you die. A really good elder lawyer will help you work through your personal concerns as a trusted adviser and expert so that you are sure all options for care have been considered when designating a legal guardian. This is probably even more important than the legal paperwork, and is something we pride ourselves on, no matter how long it takes to figure out.

Frank Campisano and the team at SCC Legal have established legal guardianships for concerned families and individuals in every possible situation. Don’t leave this all important situation to the winds of chance.  Call us today.

New Jersey Probate Court

The Probate Court of NJ and its processes can be a confusing and frustrating exercise for families already dealing with the loss of a loved one. Heirs can be forced to wait months, even years to get final disposition of the estate, even when a proper will exists. Your goal in your family’s estate planning is to arrange and legally document the distribution of all assets to insure that the absolute minimum time is spent in probate, and that all the heirs get their inheritances as soon as possible. Only in this way can families put this difficult period behind them and get on with their lives.

What is the NJ Probate Process?

Probate is a legal process whereby a deceased’s will and testament is proven to be a legal and official document. This has to be done before the estate can be handed over to the various beneficiaries or descendants. During this process, it is the duty of the court to ensure the following are observed:

  • The correct version of the will is received and presented to those concerned while adhering to the correct probate process.
  • Listen to objections regarding the will.
  • All creditors of the deceased have been compensated. Especially the taxes due the government…  Some say this is the primary reason for the length of the probate process (-:
  • All remaining property is distributed to the designated beneficiaries according to the terms and conditions of the will.

What happens if someone dies without having a will in place?

If your loved one has passed on without having a will in place, they are said to have died “intestate.”  When this happens, a court appoints an individual called an Administrator to handle and distribute the estate legally.

The NJ probate process ensures all probate cases (this is where the will needs to be ascertained as original and legal) need to go through the surrogate court which is located within the county where the individual has died. This court distributes the required legal documentation either for an Administrator or an Executor to deal with the proceedings (a descendant who can handle the affairs of the estate).

Do I need a NJ Probate Lawyer to represent me through this process?

It really depends on how complex the estate is, how clear the Will is, and how many individuals are designated heirs.  In a very simple situation with one hier and a proper will in place, an astute individual could probably navigate the process.  But mistakes in filing documents, providing various proofs, and dealing with the taxation issues can cost you thousands, not to mention the time and experience it requires to get it done quickly and correctly. Small mistakes made providing information can result in large delays, after all we’re dealing with the government here.  An experienced probate lawyer can save you time, money, and aggravation through this process, regardless of the size or legal condition of the decedent’s estate. For these reasons, the vast majority of people choose to hire a qualified elder law attorney or probate lawyer.

Frank Campisano of SCC Legal is dedicated to the practice of elder law including acting as a probate attorney.  He can assist with complete estate planning processes in New Jersey and will ensure you are professionally advised on the probate process and what is involved. Whether you would like to properly plan to pass your estate onto your children, or if you are trying to sort out the estate of a deceased loved one, Frank and his team are empathetic trusted advisors and that makes all the difference.


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