4 Important Reasons to Avoid a Do-It-Yourself Will

last will and testament

DIY is fantastic, and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as building your own skill set while you paint your new home, tile a bathroom or repair your deck. But, there are some things where DIY is not the way to go. This especially applies to legal documents, where years of training and experience are needed to draft ironclad documents that can withstand every challenge thrown at them. Your Last Will and Testament is one of these. Here are four good reasons why you should call your estate planning attorney in New Jersey when you want to draft your Will.

1. Your Situation Is Unique: 

DIY Wills are one-size-fits-all forms. However, if there’s one thing we all know it is that our financial situations, assets, and relationships are completely unique. No two Wills ever look the same. It’s up to the estate planning attorney to create this totally unique document, ensuring that your wishes are met and that the right legal framework is there to ensure they are carried out. We don’t fill out a form – we create a document that is as unique as you are.

2. DIY Wills Have No Quality Control: 

DIY Wills cause massive problems in the legal system because they often contain faults, ambiguities, and spaces for legal conflicts to arise. Often, they are created by persons who have no legal experience or qualifications to do so, which means your wishes are left unclear and can be challenged in court. This is costly for families and can become the root of severe conflict between loved ones, which isn’t anything that anyone wants to leave behind as their legacy.

3. DIY Wills Have Disclaimers: 

Your Last Will and Testament is one of the most important documents you will create in your lifetime. When you look at almost every DIY Will form, you’ll likely see a disclaimer that they are no substitute for sound legal advice. In a document where sound legal advice is key, these forms offer no guarantees that your wishes will be properly represented or carried out. Contrary to this risky course of action, if you use an experienced estate planning attorney to create your Will, you can rest assured that your Will is ironclad.

4. It Won’t Save You Money: 

Having an estate planning attorney draft your Will does carry a cost. After all, you are accessing all their years of skill and expertise in a complex field. But, while a DIY Will may be cheap, it usually won’t save anyone any money. In fact, it can be far more costly for your loved ones. That’s because these Wills are not as legally clear and sound as a professional Will, which means your loved ones may have to challenge decisions made by executors and the court, and this could result in much higher legal costs and delays than if you had a professionally-drafted document.

Get Peace of Mind and Security for Your Loved Ones With an Affordable, Professional Last Will and Testament

At Sedita, Campisano and Campisano in New Jersey, estate planning attorney Frank Campisano is ready to assist you with all your estate planning needs, whether you need a business succession plan, a Last Will and Testament, a Power of Attorney, a Living trust or want to minimize the inheritance tax in NJ on your estate.

Contact us today and let us deliver expert estate planning advice to take care of all your wishes – whether your estate is big or small. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/

What Are Medicaid Transfer Penalties?

medicaid

Medicaid is a fairly complex but important healthcare program, and professional Medicaid planning can help you to avoid penalties and maximize on benefits. One of the pitfalls to avoid are Medicaid transfer penalties. Here’s some advice on this issue from an experienced elder law attorney in New Jersey.

Understanding Medicaid Transfer Penalties

In the State of New Jersey, you need to meet certain qualification criteria in order to be granted access to Medicaid benefits, and some of these criteria revolve around the value of your assets.

Medicaid transfer penalties are designed to prevent people from gifting assets away within the 5-year look back period in order to access their Medicaid benefits earlier. This penalty can be severe. It is calculated by adding up the value of all the assets that have been transferred or gifted away and dividing that by the penalty divisor, which is currently set at $343.85 per day or $10,458.77 per month. However, many times your total gifted assets can be divided by this amount determines how many days of coverage will not be covered by Medicaid.

For example, if your total gifted assets amounted in value to $3,438.00, you would have to cover your own costs for a total of 10 days (which can amount to significantly more than $3,438.00, especially if you are in assisted living or require skilled nursing care). You can see that if the amount is much higher, which is likely for many Medicaid applicants, the penalty wait period can quickly amount to concerningly high costs.

How to Avoid or Minimize Medicaid Transfer Penalties

Here, you have a few options:

Have the Gifts Returned: 

This is not an easy process to clear with the Medicaid agency, and should only be attempted if there is no alternative. There is no clear precedent for Medicaid appeals based on the return of gifts although some cases have had some success. And, therefore, it’s advisable to have an elder law attorney in New Jersey to argue your appeal for you in this type of situation.

Limit Your Transfers to Those That Don’t Carry a Penalty: 

Some gifts and transfers don’t carry a penalty, like those to a spouse or a disabled child. Your primary residence can be transferred to your child of under 21, a child who has been your primary caregiver, or a child who has an equity share in the property. Again, these are fairly complex processes and, like any legal issue, have to follow an exact process in order to be seen as valid and meeting these specifications. An elder law attorney is an invaluable resource for managing these processes and ensuring your application process goes smoothly.

Avoid Transfer Penalties Through Medicaid Planning

The best way to avoid all kinds of Medicaid penalties, including transfer penalties, is through professional Medicaid planning.

Frank R. Campisano is a highly experienced and compassionate elder law attorney in New Jersey with considerable knowledge of Medicaid issues. In addition to planning ahead financially for Medicaid eligibility, he is also able to assist with NJ Medicaid applications, appeals and other Medicaid issues. If you or a family member needs assistance with their Medicaid planning or protecting their assets effectively, don’t hesitate to get help today.

In addition, you can also prepare additional estate planning documents, such as your Last Will and Testament, Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney documents, and trusts.
For a free consultation and Medicaid assistance or NJ estate planning, please contact us today and speak to Frank R. Campisano, or visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/

Medical Marijuana and NJ Elder Law

medical marijuana

The State of New Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP) is designed to regulate and oversee marijuana distribution for medical use, a program that impacts seniors. There’s still quite a lot of confusion or misunderstanding about this program and medical marijuana use for seniors, so here’s some insight from a leading elder law attorney in New Jersey.

What is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana is very different from the street drug, which can be compromised in terms of quality and safety. Instead, this drug is developed from a specially-farmed cannabis Inca plant. It is grown under very specific conditions by licensed growers that are strictly regulated. The plant is then harvested and developed into different drugs and consumables to treat certain conditions and symptoms. Qualifying patients are restricted to 3 ounces per month that can be collected from state-licensed dispensaries.

Who Can Prescribe Medical Marijuana for Seniors?

In order for a doctor or physician to prescribe marijuana, they have to be approved by the MMP, so this may mean having to visit a new specialist. The doctor will have to examine your medical files to determine that there is a genuine need for this medication. It is also important to ensure that there is a low risk of negative interactions with other prescribed medications.

The patient will also have to meet certain criteria for receiving this prescription, including registering with the MMP, which can take some time and will require identification photographs, government-issued ID, and proof of NJ residency. Upon your application being approved, senior citizens, veterans, SSD, and SSI beneficiaries as well as Medicaid and Disability beneficiaries receive a discounted MMP card. 

Senior caregivers are also able to apply on behalf of their patient(s).

What Conditions Qualify a Senior for Medical Marijuana Prescription?

Seniors can apply for medical marijuana on the basis of a range of debilitating conditions, including chronic pain, glaucoma, anxiety, PTSD, muscular dystrophy, IBS, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders, cancer, and terminal illnesses with 12 months to live, among others. As these criteria can change at any time, it is important to speak to your physician to find out if you or your senior loved one qualify. 

Need Legal Advice? Speak to Your Elder Law Attorney in New Jersey

Experienced in elder law, compassionate and committed to his clients, you’ll receive the highest quality legal expertise and guidance you need from Frank R. Campisano when you need Medicaid planning or Medicaid assistance

In addition, you can also prepare additional estate planning documents, such as your Last Will and Testament, Health Care Proxy/Medical Directive, Power of Attorney documents and trusts. 

For more compassionate legal guidance and a free consultation, please contact us or visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/

Inside the NJ Digital Estate Planning Law

digital estate

When it comes to estate planning, we often focus on physical assets like life insurance, savings accounts, property, and investments, forgetting that our digital assets are important too. Recently, New Jersey passed the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Access Act, a law that has an important impact on your estate planning. Here’s what you need to know, from an estate planning attorney in New Jersey.

What Is the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Access Act?

This new law empowers individuals to determine what level of access heirs and next of kin can have to their digital assets when they die. Previously, this was determined by each digital company’s individual policies, but now the choice is in your hands. Essentially, this means you can decide whether or not your next of kin can access your social media accounts, email accounts, and other online accounts after your passing.

This Act also prioritizes online tools that digital services providers allow users to set personally through their platforms. So, it’s important to not only make your wishes clear in your estate plan, but also your accounts. For example, Facebook has a legacy feature that lets you choose a designated person who will be able to access your account when you die. And, this will override any other executor in this particular area, including your Last Will and Testament.

Why Is it Important to Include Digital Assets in Estate Planning?

As the world and our lives become more digital, these assets have become more and more important and powerful, making including them in your estate plan increasingly critical. While this may not be so important for, say, your social media accounts, access to email accounts has had a far-reaching impact on probate and estate processes.

It has cost plaintiffs years of costly litigation in a number of states as people struggle to gain access into email accounts in order to access statements, information, and protocols to unlock and utilize physical accounts that require management through the estate. This Act is designed to both prevent this type of litigation and speed up the process of distributing estates to heirs and loved ones.

Comprehensive Physical and Digital Estate Planning in New Jersey

Frank R. Campisano is an experienced estate planning attorney with a long history of service and loyalty to his New Jersey clients. In addition to assisting you with creating, storing or updating your Last Will and Testament, he can assist you with 529 plans, college savings strategies, developing trusts, healthcare proxies, Power of Attorney documentation, and much more. 

For a free estate planning consultation, please contact us today and speak to Frank R. Campisano or visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/

Why Would I Need an Elder Law Attorney in 2020?

Elder Law

Elder law issues are complex. As the population over 65 in the USA grows, it is more important than ever before that the rights and needs of seniors and their loved ones are professionally protected and provided for. Here are just 4 of the reasons why it’s a good idea to hire an elder law attorney in New Jersey:


Medicaid Planning

Medicaid planning is one of the fastest-growing elder law services for a number of reasons; the increasing cost of senior long-term care and the complex implementation of Medicare on a state and federal level being two of the most important. The reality is that effective financial planning has to be implemented years before a loved one’s reliance on Medicare is anticipated. The job of an elder care attorney is to help you develop a plan that will ensure that when you or a loved one reaches the age where Medicare is necessary, that everything is in place to ensure eligibility to the appropriate level of care. This includes planning for assets, spousal provisions, and that critical 5-year look-back period.

Estate Planning

While you can – and should – develop your estate plan as soon as you start accumulating assets, estate planning is particularly critical for seniors. An elder law attorney can ensure that your Last Will and Testament is up to date, accurate, and legally-binding (most, if not all, DIY wills are highly problematic and flawed). He will also check that you have suitable provisions in place for not only your spouse and/or loved ones, but also even your pets, be it in the form of an inheritance, conditions in your will or by creating a trust.

Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney documents become increasingly important as we age, and are designed to ensure our financial and medical wishes are met in the event that we can’t advocate for ourselves. This document provides for important issues, including the following: 

  1. Who should handle your finances?
  2. Who should be provided for?
  3. What advanced life-saving measures do you want (or do not want)? and 
  4. How you would like your long-term care needs to be met? 

No-one likes to think of a time in which they are unable to voice these issues themselves, but it is so much harder on families and loved ones involved when there are no clear and legal directions for them to take.

Guardianship

An elder law attorney in New Jersey can assist you if you need to apply for guardianship over a loved one. They will inform you of the requirements and the responsibilities of this position, guide you through the legal process, and help you ensure that it is the right option for your loved one’s needs.

Need an Elder Law Attorney in New Jersey? Get a Free Consultation Today

Frank R. Campisano is a highly experienced and compassionate elder law attorney with considerable knowledge of Medicaid issues. In addition to planning ahead financially for Medicaid eligibility, he is also able to assist with applications, appeals, and other Medicaid issues. If you or a family member needs assistance with their Medicaid planning or protecting their assets effectively, don’t hesitate to get help today. In addition, you can also prepare additional estate planning documents, such as your Last Will and Testament, Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney documents, and trusts.

For a free consultation and Medicaid assistance or NJ estate planning, please contact us today and speak to Frank R. Campisano or visit our website at: http://www.scclegal.com/

These are the Top Concerns People have About Retirement

Retirement

For many Americans entering retirement, their focus is more on maintaining their current living needs rather than being able to leave a substantial inheritance to their dependents. Retirement should be a relaxing period in which to enjoy your Golden Years, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come without its own set of challenges. Here are the leading concerns for people currently considering or entering retirement, from a leading estate planning attorney in NJ.

  • Debt: Americans of every age are increasingly in debt, with total debt hitting a new high of $13 trillion in 2017. For people entering retirement, this is of special concern because their period of earning income is limited. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), 60% of households in 2016 headed by an adult of retirement age (65) are carrying debt, with an average of $31,300.
  • Maintaining a stream of income: For many retired or retirement-age Americans, a leading concern is how to keep money flowing into the household – primary in order to meet day-to-day expenses. Simply put, they are concerned that Social Security income will be enough – or that these benefits will even continue to exist.
  • Medical expenses: Medical costs in the USA are high, and it’s no surprise that according to an analysis by Fidelity in 2017, a healthy 65-year old couple can expect to need $275,000 to cover their healthcare retirement costs. Expenses like this can easily throw even a conscientious retirement plan into chaos.
  • Saving enough: Another big concern for retired or retirement age Americans is that they simply haven’t saved enough. People are living longer than ever before, with around 25% of today’s 65-year-olds predicted to live to 90, and Americans are worried that they will outlive their savings.

With any of these concerns, there are solutions available. With the right legal asset protection through estate planning, Medicaid planning, and financial planning, retirement plans can be put on track to deliver the peace of mind you deserve in your retirement.

Expert Solutions from Your Estate Planning Attorney New Jersey 

At Sedita, Campisano and Campisano in New Jersey, estate planning attorney Frank Campisano is ready to assist you with all your estate planning needs – whether you need to plan for retirement, make a business succession plan, draft your Last Will and Testament or Power of Attorney, form a Living trust or minimize inheritance tax on your estate.

Contact us today and let us deliver expert estate planning advice to take care of all your wishes – whether your business is big or small. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/

Elder Law Advice for Alzheimer’s Patients

Elder Law

If you or a loved one have received a diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease, creating a legal plan for the future is an essential step for ensuring that medical care and financial assets are managed properly. It’s best to address this plan as early as possible, ensuring that the necessary people are as prepared as possible and that you can focus on enjoying your life, family, and friends.

What Should Your Legal Plan Include?

Legal planning can look complex but it’s really about gathering all the right information into one place in a legally clear and binding format to ensure that any issues and challenges can be managed effectively, quickly and with minimal hassle as they arise. Generally, your legal plan should include the following:

  • Medical Power of Attorney or Healthcare Proxy: This is a legal document that names a person of your choice to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so. These decisions will be made in line with your wishes, and you can include details on all your medical care wishes from the kind of long-term care you have planned for to whether or not you want to receive extreme lifesaving measures.
  • Financial Power of Attorney: Similar to the document mentioned above, this names a person to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so yourself. Again, you can outline your wishes in detail within the document in order to guide the person who will speak on your behalf.
  • Legal capacity: This refers to the ability to make rational decisions and is important to include in your legal documentation, as it will come into effect in the later stages of the disease. Your attorney can assist you in creating a document that defines the conditions under which you no longer have the legal capacity – and this is when your medical and financial Power of Attorney documents will come into effect. Simply creating this document does not affect your legal rights – in reality, it helps protect your rights by ensuring that decisions about your health and financial assets are held to the legal plan that you create.
  • Updating existing documents: If you have a Last Will and Testament, a trust or other elements of an estate plan, now is a good time to gather them, review them and update them as necessary. You will need to gather a complete list of your property and other assets and decide on how you would like them to be protected or distributed.
  • Long-term care: Long-term care plans are especially essential, and even if you have no need for care at present, it’s important that you evaluate your options and put in place legal instructions as to your preferences if and when the need for them arises. This includes looking into different care options and facilities to determine a good fit, as well as putting in place a plan to pay for your preferred care option.

Compassionate Legal Advice and Planning from Your Elder Law Attorney New Jersey 

Frank R. Campisano is a highly experienced and compassionate elder law attorney with considerable knowledge of estate planning, retirement planning, and Medicaid issues. Experienced in elder law, compassionate and committed to his clients, you’ll receive the highest quality legal expertise and guidance. In addition to sound elder law advice, you can also prepare additional estate planning documents, such as your Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney documents, medical directives and trusts.

For a free consultation, please contact us today or visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/

Everything you need to know about a Qualified Income Trust

For many of us, the rising cost of nursing home care and assisted living is worrying. These costs, which on average amount to $330 a day, risk draining all our life savings and leaving nothing on which to enjoy our final years or help care for our loved ones after we’ve passed. While Medicaid can help alleviate this financial pressure, it can be difficult to qualify for this assistance. Fortunately, the federal government has recently allowed the use of Qualified Income Trusts (QITs) to help plan for Medicaid assistance.

What is a QIT? 

This is a legal trust into which individuals pay an income each month. This income will not be counted as part of the Medicaid assessment process. It is an irrevocable trust, so it cannot be modified after its creation and, in New Jersey, the State needs to be listed as the first beneficiary of the trust in the event of the death of whoever created the trust, giving them the right to claim on any remaining income.

It is an income exclusive trust, however, so you cannot place cash, proceeds from the sale of assets (such as your home) or assets themselves into a QIT. Income can include pensions as well as Social Security payments.

How does this affect Medicaid eligibility? 

If your gross income exceeds $2,199 per month, you will qualify to have a QIT (keeping in mind that these figures are subject to change). This income, which can include a full income or a portion of your income, will no longer be used in eligibility calculations, making it easier to qualify. All other criteria will still be in place, however, such as citizenship, residency and level of care requirements.

Expert Medicaid planning, application and assistance in NJ 

Frank R. Campisano is highly experienced and compassionate elder law attorney with considerable knowledge of Medicaid issues. In addition to planning ahead financially for Medicaid eligibility, he is also able to assist with applications, appeals and other Medicaid issues.

For a free consultation, please contact us today and speak to Frank R. Campisano at https://www.scclegal.com/

 

Estate planning in NJ: The right way to include your home in a living trust

Estate law is fairly complex and people can quickly run into significant issues when their assets aren’t correctly included in their estate plan. Here are some tips from a leading New Jersey estate planning attorney.

If your home is incorrectly included in a living trust, then you and your beneficiaries may run into problems that include:

  • Your home going through probate because the trust fails to correctly identify the property.
  • Your wishes may not be clear, allowing the State to distribute your home according to State law rather than the rules of the trust. This can happen when your home is not listed as a trust asset even if your Last Will and Testament declares that everything should go to a certain beneficiary.

This can lead to delays on your estate as well as increased legal fees as your family and loved ones have to approach the courts to legally correct this error.

If you want to include your home in your living trust, always check: 

  • That you have signed and notarized a new deed when you create your trust.
  • That your home is listed with its full address in your trust in the schedule of assets.
  • That the name of your trust on the new deed matches the name of your trust exactly.
  • That your trust is listed as the insured on your home’s insurance policy.

Have your living trust set up by an experienced NJ estate planning attorney 

If you would like further guidance on creating a revocable living trust 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 Frank at the law firm of Sedita, Campisano & Campisano, LLC in New Jersey or visit our website at https://www.scclegal.com/

 

How winning a personal injury case can affect your estate planning

Estate planning is all about the creation of legal documents and structures that ensure that your assets go to your dependents rather than to the government. While estate planning is important for anyone who has assets of any value or dependents they want to ensure are cared for, it is also true that the higher your income and the larger your assets, the more complex your estate planning needs to be. A settlement in a personal injury case can increase your assets in such a way as to change your estate planning requirements, says Frank R. Campisano, a leading NJ estate planning attorney.
• State and Federal taxes: While the State of New Jersey is eliminating their own estate taxes, the federal government will apply its own estate taxes on those that are valued at over $5.45 million. After this point, estate taxes will apply – but a comprehensive estate plan will help to reduce their impact as far as possible.
Keeping an official record: The wheels of the legal and government system rely on accurate, official documentation – so it is vital that the official record is kept up to date. This is especially important if the plaintiff is medically unwell or injured to the point of disability and is unable to continue working, or in cases where a minor has lost their parent or parents and a trust is needed too to ensure their care.
Medical expense planning: Medical expenses in these cases are often long-term, so it is important that your estate plan provides for for future needs. If these expenses are not recognized in the estate plan, you may end up being charged a higher federal tax as money needed for medical expenses will be added to the value of your estate.

Minimize federal taxes on your estate – Speak to a qualified NJ estate planning attorney

If you would like further guidance on minimizing your estate taxes, Frank R. Campisano can provide you with the necessary expert legal advice and professional insight.
In addition, he can 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 us at the law firm of Sedita, Campisano & Campisano, LLC in New Jersey or visit our website at https://www.scclegal.com/

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