Advance directives in New Jersey

What will become of you if you end up too ill or injured to communicate your wishes when it comes to prolonged life medical care if you don’t have advance directive measures in place? How will your family cope with having to make the difficult decisions on their own?

You can help by ensuring your family and health care providers are aware of your medical care wishes. Advance directive is the best way to ensure your decisions regarding your health care at potential end-of-life are made known to the medical professionals and your family.

What exactly is advance directive?

Advance directives are legal documents which detail and stipulate the type of care you are willing to receive, and the type of care or procedures you refuse. In these documents you will include how you feel about the use of breathing machines and dialysis. Also, it will cover whether you are willing to accept or refuse resuscitation if your heart or breathing stops. Tube feeding and organ donating are also areas that are covered.

What is the role of your attorney?

When it comes to drawing up legal and professional advance directives in New Jersey, Frank Campisano and his legal team is just the place to turn to. He will ensure your documents are drawn up and that the correct individuals are advised should anything happen to you and you are unable to communicate your own wishes. With his empathetic and compassionate approach you can expect for the otherwise stressful ordeal to be handled for your loved ones.

Part of the process is the appointment of a medical power of attorney, who is the individual responsible for making decisions in the event of you not being able to make them yourself. This particular person will need to see that the wishes of your advance directive are carried out to the letter. You can appoint a spouse, family member, child or even an attorney to be your medical power of attorney.

We encourage you to be in touch with us at SCC Legal – your first consultation is always free.

What is Legal Guardianship?

by Frank Campisano

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’s Probate Court Process

by Frank Campisano

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. It is not uncommon for a contested estate to sit in probate court for years. 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.

NJ Elder Law Attorney Frank CampisanoAuthor Frank Campisano is a certified member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney’s (NAELA) and is the Elder Law Attorney in Residence for SCC Legal of Wayne NJ. Frank has particular expertise in Trusts and Estate Planning as well as medicaid asset planning for long term care. Frank has a passion for helping families navigate the complexities of estate management and the general concerns of aging individuals, their heirs, and their families.


Estate planning is easier when you’re not dead

Dealing with the division of your estate and property can be emotionally draining for your loved ones when you pass away. If you haven’t carried out proper estate planning by this stage, your heirs can be faced with quite a daunting and unpleasant task. They may have to deal with unfair division of your property, excessive inheritance tax and a probate process which will have them tearing their hair out.

New Jersey estate planning attorneys are always advising clients to get their estate in order well in advance. Yes, you might have many happy and healthy years ahead of you, but wouldn’t you like to have the peace of mind that your descendants will receive their inheritance without a glitch and minimal estate taxes will be imposed?

With the help of a professional NJ estate planning attorney you can ensure all your loose ends are tied up and that all your assets and property can be properly divided. With an estate plan in place the following details will be resolved for your beneficiaries:

  • The state of your finances at the time of death.
  • Information on all property you own.
  • Appointment of guardians for children who are minors.
  • What tax amounts you can expect to pay when transferring property to beneficiaries.

Estate planning services offered by NJ estate planning attorneys:

  • Identification of beneficiaries you wish to include.
  • Management of all legal proceedings with regards to the transfer of property to your beneficiaries. We will ensure your estate is divided according to your strict instructions.
  • Keep estate taxes to an absolute minimum.
  • Ensure any life prolonging medical care instructions that you have given are presented to the relevant medical parties and family members.

These are just a few of the ways in which we can help you to get your affairs in order while you are still able to.

Estate planning at SCC Legal

While it is not a fun prospect to think about your death and how your possessions will be dealt with, you still need to face the reality of death in your future. If you want to ensure that your heirs and loved ones have a simple process to go through, then hiring a compassionate and dedicated NJ estate planning attorney is the best course of action. Frank Campisano of SCC Legal provides an empathetic and professional estate planning process. With the help of him and his team you can expect for your loved ones to be able to gain access to their inheritance with relative ease.

There is simply nothing that you can do after death and we strongly advise all clients to take the time to make these decisions before it’s too late. Be in touch with us at SCC Legal for more assistance with your New Jersey estate planning.

Revocable living trusts in New Jersey

The beneficiaries and heirs to your estate can suffer quite an overwhelming loss in the event of your death if you have not made arrangements for proper estate planning. A revocable living trust can help to ease some of the pain and burden during this particularly difficult time for your loved ones. Without such in place, your children can be faced with confusing and lengthy probate processes, hefty inheritance taxes, and even will contests.

There are various types of living trusts one can look into. There are two main types we see, revocable living trusts and irrevocable living trusts. As New Jersey estate planning attorney’s it is our duty to be familiar with all types. Federal laws that dictate the ins and outs of estate planning and taxation can be quite confusing and this is why it is essential you have a professional attorney on your side.

A revocable living trust is one that can be altered as time goes by. If you decide you want to change the beneficiaries or trustees, this can be quite easily and legally done. Irrevocable living trusts however cannot be changed once the document has been signed.

What are the benefits of a revocable living trust?

  • With such a trust you can avoid probate processes.
  • You can provide protection for property and assets handed over to certain beneficiaries. This is often the case if the beneficiaries are under age. The trust will ensure the inheritance is handled in a particular way.
  • Estate taxes can be reduced or eliminated due to living trusts being provided with certain deductions and credits that are allowed under tax laws.
  • Management of property upon incapacity. This means successor trustees can take over when you become incapacitated or resign.
  • A trust can avoid a will contest. This is possible as a will only takes effect after the death of the individual. A living trust is in action from the moment the documents are signed.

These are just a few of the reasons why we strongly feel you need to set in place a revocable living trust in New Jersey.

The role of an attorney in the estate planning process

Drawing up a living trust forms part of your estate planning and you should try to do this as early on as possible. Having a reputable and empathetic estate planning lawyer or elder law attorney on your side will mean that your heirs are assisted by a professional with their best interests at heart.

Frank Campisano of SCC Legal is more than just another attorney. He is dedicated to providing professional, compassionate and efficient elder law advice and estate planning assistance. He and his team are trusted and respected legal advisors in New Jersey, and for good reason. With Frank Campisano, your first consultation is always free and he welcomes you to take the time to discuss your particular situation with him at any time.

While it is unpleasant to think about the future in this light, it is better to be prepared than to leave your descendants in an uncomfortable situation.  We welcome you to chat to us at SCC Legal about your needs and requirements without delay.

New Jersey Inheritance Tax

The confusion and frustration of having to deal with inheritance tax can be quite overwhelming when dealing with the loss of a loved one. Heirs can suffer quite a lengthy process and experience quite a financial loss if you have not properly planned your estate. Many people do not think of the taxes imposed and find out too late, which unfortunately can result in the heirs of the estate suffering.

In New Jersey receiving an inheritance doesn’t come without strings attached. If you take a quick overview of New Jersey inheritance tax you will find that tax is imposed on an estate when it is left to a descendant.

The state of New Jersey has a very low estate tax exemption of around $675,000.00, which would be adequate if only probate assets were considered legally part of a deceased’s estate.  Unfortunately non-probate assets are also included in a deceased’s estate and this is where inheritance tax can catch you out. Of course there are ways in which individuals can legally avoid New Jersey inheritance tax, if they take the time to implement proper measures before it’s too late.

Avoid inheritance tax with a marital trust

If you have been wondering how inheritance tax can be avoided, then marital trusts are the answer and have been for many people over the years, in New Jersey.

The allowances of a marital trust are as follows:

  • The trust makes arrangements for a portion of the deceased’s spouse’s estate to support the surviving spouse.
  • Certain assets are included in the surviving spouse’s estate.
  • The surviving spouse’s estate can avoid extensive tax liability if this trust is carefully constructed and managed.

Do I need a lawyer to assist with avoiding inheritance tax?

If you are unsure of the process and want assistance with understanding how much tax will be attached to your property and other assets then yes, you definitely need the assistance of a lawyer. An experienced lawyer can save your heirs the time and hassle of having to figure out what taxes are involved, or more distressing – losing a large chunk of their inheritance to tax. You can save time, frustration and money if you choose to hire a qualified Elder Law Attorney.

At SCC Legal, Frank Campisano is dedicated to assisting clients with their estate planning needs. He is a compassionate Elder Law attorney and will professionally advise you on the best course of action at all times. He and his team are empathetic to your needs and situation and are trusted legal advisors in the New Jersey area.

At SCC Legal we are confident we can minimize the amount of New Jersey inheritance tax imposed upon an estate by providing a professional estate planning service and drafting a marital trust fund that will protect the deceased’s estate.

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