The Most Common Questions About Giving Money Away In Your Will

Drawing up a Last Will and Testament is a process that requires a lot of thought and consideration, and it’s important to get the right information in order to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the way that you intend. Here are some frequently asked questions about making a Will, from a leading elder law attorney New Jersey.

  • What happens if I don’t have a Will? If you don’t have a legal Last Will and Testament, your assets (money, home, car, etc.) will go through probate – a legal process where the State of New Jersey decides who should inherit and what they should get. This generally benefits your spouse first, and then children, your parents, grandchildren etc., based on the laws of preference in NJ. This is not ideal for most people, as probate can take a long time and not necessarily benefit the people you’d prefer.
  • Do I need to have certain assets to have a Will? Not at all. You can and should make a Will regardless of what assets you have or how much they are worth. Above all, your Will is about your wishes and who you want to benefit from your assets. As your assets become worth more, this is also a helpful way of reducing taxes on your estate.
  • Where should I keep my Will? Your Last Will and Testament needs to be kept in a safe place that can be accessed easily after your passing – and it’s important that someone knows where it is and how to access it. The best place to keep it is at your lawyer’s offices, as they know how to store it safely, can provide access to it quickly, and can make any change you need with ease.
  • Who makes a good executor? Your executor is a person you choose who will be responsible for making sure that your Will is carried out. You can choose a professional executor (like your lawyer) or a trusted family member. Generally, executors are not beneficiaries of the Will.
  • What if I need to change my Will? As your life and priorities change, your Will can too. It’s advisable to take a look at your Will once a year to ensure that you’re happy with it, and to revise it after any big life event – like having children, getting married, or getting divorced.
  • Do I really need a lawyer? While anyone can make a Will, the best route is to speak to an estate planning attorney. This will ensure that there is no chance that your wishes are misunderstood or challenged legally in court, and that your wishes are carried out properly.

Create your Last Will and Testament today and get peace of mind 

For assistance in creating or modifying your Last Will and Testament, speak to Frank R. Campisano today. Experienced in elder law and NJ estate planning, compassionate and committed to his clients, you’ll receive the highest quality legal expertise and guidance that will help you secure better care. In addition, he can assist you with all other estate planning documents, such as Financial Power of Attorney documents, Medical Directives and Healthcare Proxy documentation. For more compassionate legal guidance and a free consultation, please contact us or visit our website at today.

New Estate Tax And Gift Thresholds For 2018

The New Year is here and that means new estate tax and gifting thresholds! Determined by the IRS by evaluating inflation information, these new limits are crucial to minimizing the impact of taxation on your assets. Here’s some insight from a leading estate planning attorney in New Jersey.

Estate taxes in 2018 

This year, these limits were bolstered to ensure a lower impact on estate taxes. For a single person’s estate, taxation will be assessed only if the estate is valued at $5.6 million or more. For married couples, this limit has been set at $11.2 million in combined value, so anything below that won’t face estate taxation.

Gifting in 2018 

Gifting thresholds were similarly increased from $14,000 per year to $15,000 per year. This is good news as this is the first increase since 2013. With this new limit, only gifts of over $15,000 will face taxation. There is no limitation on how many individuals you can gift to, so this makes a great way of providing for children, grandchildren, charities and loved ones.

Basic exclusion for estate tax and gifting 

The basic exclusion amount for 2018 is set at $5.6 million, up from $5.49 million in 2017, and the generation-skipping transfer tax exemption (GST) is equal to the gift and estate tax exemption amount of $5.6 million for individuals, or $11,200,000 for married couples.

Is estate tax on its way out? 

On November 2nd, the tax cuts bill released by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means paved the way for big changes to current estate taxation. Lauded as a tax cut for the rich, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubles the basic exclusion amount for gift and estate taxes from $5 million to $10 million, from January 1, 2018. This allows a couple to shield up to $22.4 million from taxation and repeals the estate tax and generation-skipping tax in 6 years, as of January 1, 2024.

Gift tax breaks are affected too, keeping the $10 million basic exclusion (adjusted for inflation) intact but adding a new lower top rate of 35% (down from 40%) from January 1, 2023.

Ensure your estate plan is working for you in 2018 – Speak to your estate planning attorney 

If you would like further guidance on protecting your real estate assets by creating an irrevocable living trust, LLC or a Last Will and Testament, Frank R. Campisano can provide you with the necessary expert legal advice and professional insight.

In addition, he can also assist you with all other aspects of your estate plan, from drawing up medical directives and Power of Attorney documents to Medicaid planning. For more information on setting up or changing an estate plan, please contact him at the law firm of Sedita, Campisano & Campisano, LLC in New Jersey or visit our website at today.

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