How to Create a Will When the Kids Don’t Get Along

While the last thing we want to think about is our kids fighting over our assets when we die, the truth is this isn’t an uncommon experience. This is a time of highly charged emotions where infighting can happen over even the smallest matters – never mind who inherits what. Here are some guidelines on how to create a will which will stand up to any challenge:

  1. Get professional help: The legal system is built on laws as well as loopholes and it takes a lot of work and experience to develop a will that is airtight. For a document as important as this one, no amount of DIY will stand up to a considered legal challenge, so if you want your wishes to be heard, make sure you speak to an attorney with considerable estate planning knowledge and an eye for detail. They will ensure your wishes are executed as you have requested and that your will is able to stand up to any challenges.
  2. Stay up-to-date: Your finances and assets will change as your life changes – so don’t let anything slip by the wayside. You don’t have to revise your will every week, but you should certainly do it every three to five years. If your life undergoes a significant change however, from having a new child to winning the lottery, simply book an appointment as soon as you can.
  3. Appoint a strong executor: Your executor will be responsible for dealing with your estate’s paperwork, gathering assets, ensuring debts are paid and distributing the remainder. If there is likely to be any challenges to your will, you want to have an executor who is confident, strong and able to handle this infighting effectively. If you would like them to have additional help, your attorney can draft a third party – for example, a bank trust department – to assist them with administering your will.
  4. Tell your beneficiaries: Unlike in the movies, it’s best not to leave the announcement of who gets what until after your funeral. If you think your children or beneficiaries are going to fight, it’s best to let them know what your wishes are well in advance. This is best done in a calm, unemotional way where you can explain how you got to your decision. If there are certain things very important to family members that you were unaware of, this also gives you a chance to privately consider any changes. 

Find an Estate Planning Attorney You Can Trust

In situations where you need to make difficult decisions about the distribution of your assets and the drafting of an ironclad will, it’s important your attorney is more than a legal representative – they need to be a trusted advisor. Frank Campisano is a dedicated and experienced estate planning specialist, with extensive legal expertise, on hand to assist you. By taking a personal, considered approach to all his clients, Frank is able to deliver the highest quality service while putting clients at ease. For more information on creating and managing your Last Will and Testament, please contact us today.

The Benefits of Setting up a Marital Trust

A Marital Trust, also known as an “A” Trust, is essentially a means to postpone estate taxes in the event of a spouse passing until the other spouse has also passed. This is a very important part of estate planning for married couples, as it ensures – no matter how valuable your assets are – your spouse will not be held liable for any federal estate taxes.

Marital Trust vs. Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) Trust 

While a Martial Trust is fairly simple and leaves everything to the surviving spouse, usually to dispose of as he or she wishes, a QTIP Trust includes provisions which will dictate where the remaining trust assets go after both spouses have passed. This could be a charity, your children, stepchildren or anyone you prefer rather than the state’s designated beneficiaries.

How Does a Bypass Trust Fit In? 

This is the third trust option utilized by couples and it effectively ensures that, in order to reduce taxation on an estate, the trust goes to a designated individual rather than the surviving spouse. Although the trust doesn’t go to the surviving spouse, they can still benefit from it for their lifetime and, because they are not the owner of the assets, no taxation will be imposed upon their passing.

How Do I Set Up a Marital Trust? 

Although these concepts are fairly simple on the surface, they are in fact highly complex. There are considerable IRS restrictions on these trusts and factors such as the value of your estate, exemption amounts and more, all weigh in on the trust process. For these reasons, it’s advisable that you speak to an experienced estate planning specialist who can navigate these complex legal pathways and develop a sound, comprehensive plan to protect your assets and ensure your loved ones are properly cared for. Frank Campisano is an experienced New Jersey estate planning specialist and trusted advisor who takes a personal role in meeting all of his client’s needs. Contact us today for more information on setting up a marital trust.

Veterans Benefits for Assisted Living

Did you know VA benefits can be used to offset the cost of living in an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home in New Jersey, even if it’s not a VA facility? This little-known fact is one which can help many veterans cope with the recent dramatic rise in cost of living and medical care – and is one an experienced elder care attorney can assist you in achieving.

One such benefit is the “Aid and Attendance” pension benefit. Here, veterans and their spouses receive financial assistance in order to pay for support which assists in daily activities – from taking medication to dressing, eating and more. There are also increased benefits available to veterans who are blind, bedridden or are physically or mentally incapacitated.

Qualifications and Applying for Assisted Living Benefits

There are several criteria for qualifying for these benefits, most notably that veterans need to be honorably discharged having served 90 days or more in active duty, with at least one day during a period of war. Veterans must also have an accountable income below the maximum annual pension rate, be 65 or older and meet net worth limitations of having under $80,000 in assets.

Let Us Assess Your VA Benefits (H2)

At Sedita, Campisano and Campisano, we offer free assessments for veterans to ensure you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to and are fully informed on all their applications. After meeting with Frank Campisano, we can provide the following services:

  • Determination of your full eligibility for Veteran’s assistance benefits.
  • Review/update current estate administration documents (Wills, Trusts, Healthcare Directives and Powers of Attorney).
  • Full review of your current financial position, assets and records.
  • Development and implementation of an Asset Protection Plan for yourself and your spouse, if applicable.

Frank Campisano, with years of experience in elder care, will be able to walk you through this complex legal field with compassion, patience and specialist knowledge. He knows how important it is to not only have a legal professional to guide you and go the extra mile, but to also have a trusted advisor who deals with you on a personal level. Contact us today and speak to an elder law specialist about VA assisted living benefits – because you deserve the highest quality legal care.

Five Things to Avoid in Your Estate Planning

While estate planning isn’t the way most people would like to spend their time, it is an essential task if we want to ensure our wishes are met and our families and loved ones are cared for after we pass. Here are five of the most common estate planning mistakes to avoid:

  1. Thinking you’re too young: Estate planning should be thought about simply in terms of thinking ahead, not in terms of when you think you will pass away. As soon as you start to live independently and gather assets, you should start planning your estate. This will ensure your property goes to the people most important to you, who need it most – not to those the state selects.
  2. Forgetting to sign a Health Care Directive: This is a legal document giving the person of your choosing the ability to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you be unable to. Many people think a Living Will takes care of this, but it doesn’t. If you have strong feelings about whether you prefer to be or not to be kept alive in certain medical situations, this is a very important document to consider.
  3. Excluding your business from your plan: For many people, their business is more than their livelihood – it’s their passion. However, it is often forgotten about when it comes to estate planning. Consider what would happen to your business if you pass away – who should it go to? Is there someone who can buy it? How will this affect your dependents?
  4. Taking a DIY approach: In reality, the technical side of estate planning is very complex – it’s not as simple as leaving certain assets to certain people. The tax side, for example, needs to be managed very carefully in order to ensure the least amount of tax possible is levied on your estate. This will have a significant effect on the outcome of your estate and needs to be addressed by a professional who knows this system intimately and can give you solid advice.
  5. Choosing the wrong executor: This is the person who will be responsible for administering your estate and, as such, will not benefit from your estate. It’s very important the chosen person knows you and your family, knows and supports your views and has the time and ability to perform their duties. An estate planning lawyer can help you decide who will fit this position, explain their duties and even help add a third party who can assist the executor, such as a bank trust department.

Frank Campisano is an estate planning specialist at Sedita, Campisano and Campisano in New Jersey, who brings an exceptional level of patience and compassion to this often emotional process. With many years of experience, he can assist you in developing an estate plan that addresses all your requirements in a comprehensive manner, ensuring your hard work and assets go to the people you love rather than to the government. At our practice, trust is the key – and we’ll give you all the time, advice and expertise you need to ensure your wishes are carried out. For more information about estate planning or to book an appointment to see Frank Campisano, please contact us today.

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