The Pros and Cons of a Miller Trust

miller trust

Firstly, what is a Miller Trust? 

Texas falls under the list of states that have an “income-cap” and makes an allowance for a Miller Trust. Should the applicant’s income be more than the “income-cap”, the applicant’s initial income needs to be adjusted downward. 

By redirecting income to the Miller trust, and lowering the initial income, this will allow for the applicant to qualify for the Medicaid program.

Continue reading “The Pros and Cons of a Miller Trust”

What is the Kiddie Tax and Why Does it Matter?

estate planning attorney

 

 

 

 

 

Kiddie tax is imposed on individuals under 18 years old (or younger than 24 and a full-time student) whose investment and unearned income is higher than an annually determined threshold.

Unearned income is referred to funds such as interest, dividends, and capital gains, but not including wages. It was designed to prevent parents from passing their unearned income to their children and avoid paying higher tax rates. The 1986 tax reform act stated that certain types of unearned income, such as investment income, would be taxed as if the money was the income of the parent. Under the new law, as per the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, a child’s investment income isn’t taxed at the parent’s marginal tax rate. Instead, it’s taxed at the rates applicable to trusts and estates.

Who must pay the Kiddie Tax? 

Your child may be compelled to file a tax return to report and pay tax on income earned, however, may not be subjected to the Kiddie Tax. The Kiddie Tax normally kicks in when all the following criteria are met:

  • Is required to file a tax return
  • Has more than $2,100 of unearned income
  • 18 or younger and didn’t earn income that was more than half their support at the end of the tax year
  • Had at least one living parent at the end of the tax year
  • Didn’t file a joint return for the year

How much is the Kiddie Tax?

Add up the child’s net earned income and net unearned income. Then subtract the child’s standard deduction to arrive at taxable income. The portion of taxable income that consists of net unearned income and that exceeds the unearned income threshold is subject to the Kiddie Tax. This rate can be as high as 37% for ordinary income and short-term gains and 20% for long-term gains and dividends.

How can you avoid paying the Kiddie Tax?

You can prevent paying the Kiddie Tax by keeping the child’s annual investment income at $2,100 or less. This can be attained by investing in things that increase in value. Another option is saving inside a 529 plan.

Conclusion:

It’s not unusual for parents and grandparents to make financial gifts to children and young adults. Before you transfer income-producing assets, remember to consider the Kiddie Tax. Contact SSC Legal for advice to make sure the Kiddie Tax doesn’t come as an unwelcome surprise.

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

For a free consultation, please contact us today and speak to Frank R. Campisano or visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/ for more information about how we can assist you.

3 Estate Planning Tips for Blended Families

estate planning

Many couples find their perfect match the second time around at marriage, and this can mean bringing together kids from different marriages. It’s a happy ending, but it does mean that your estate plan needs to be a little more complex in order to ensure dependents are correctly provided for – even if everyone involved has the best possible intentions. Here’s some insight for blended families from a leading estate planning attorney in NJ.

Life Happens

It sounds like a slightly obvious comment, but “life happens” really is a fundamental concept behind successful estate planning, and it’s an important one for blended families. For example, if a spouse dies and then the remaining spouse remarries, possibly having children with the new spouse, how can you ensure that the children the first spouse brought into the marriage are cared for? It’s not about whether the new spouse may keep everything for their biological children (although this sadly is a scenario that occurs), it’s about ensuring peace of mind for both spouses that no matter what happens, all the children from both sides are provided for as they deserve.

3 Tips for Successful Estate Planning

1. Go Beyond a Simple Last Will and Testament: 

In complex situations, a simple Will won’t really have the capacity and scope to adequately meet your estate planning needs. For example, a straightforward Will that leaves everything to your spouse means that in the event of you passing, your spouse can not only cut your children off and remarry, but your assets can also be used to support his or her lifestyle, as there’s no legal obligation to provide for your children. You’ll need a more complex, professional Last Will and Testament to cover your needs.

2. Create a Trust: 

Estate planning attorneys recommend that you consider creating a trust in addition to a Will. Trusts are very flexible and allow you to tailor your estate plan in much more detail and with much more legal power. For example, you can create a trust that leaves your assets to your spouse in the event of your death but, upon the spouse’s death, these assets pass to your children. You can also state that assets go directly to your children at a certain age, are used for certain expenses like education or buying a home, or that a spouse no longer receives any income from the trust in the event that they remarry.

3. Don’t Forget About Healthcare Decisions: 

In blended families, it is especially important to decide who gets to make important healthcare decisions in the event that you are unable to. You can name anyone, including your spouse or even an adult child. Devastating medical events can cause rifts in any family, and the last thing you want is a stepparent cutting off access to their spouse’s children under these circumstances. 

Effective, Comprehensive Estate Planning in New Jersey

At Sedita, Campisano, and Campisano, LLC in New Jersey, estate planning attorney Frank Campisano is ready to assist you with all your estate planning needs – whether you need to make a business succession plan, a personal estate plan, Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney, a Living trust or to minimize inheritance tax on your estate. He can also assist in the event of Will disputes.

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

When Is the Right Time to Start Planning for Long-Term Care?

long-term care

Most people understand that planning for long-term care is an important part of their overall retirement strategy, especially as costs for senior care and assisted living services continue to increase. But, when is the right time to start? Here is some advice from a leading elder law attorney in New Jersey.

Having a long-term care strategy in place is about saving and planning with this specific goal in mind, rather than choosing a senior care provider or trying to predict your future medical needs. By having a savings and Medicaid plan in place as early as possible, you benefit from having more choices and options at your disposal, you have more control over your future and you’re properly positioned to give yourself or your spouse high-quality care without jeopardizing your finances. Here are four indicators that you should get in touch with your elder law attorney as soon as possible:

1. A Life-Changing Diagnosis

Unfortunately, the realization that a long-term care strategy is essential often only happens when a client or a loved one receives a diagnosis that changes their lives. If you are in the position where you or your spouse has been diagnosed with a chronic or debilitating condition, it’s essential to speak to an elder law attorney to not only see what you can do to afford the care required, but also to plan for future care needs and to protect your assets.

2. A Significant Age Milestone

While severe illness can strike at any age, the reality is that we become more vulnerable as we get older. It’s recommended that individuals should start planning for long-term care at age 60 at the latest. This gives you enough time to build up funds slowly to support long-term care needs.

3. Recent Hospitalization

This is a critical wake-up call for many clients who have been putting off long-term care planning. If you or your spouse has recently been hospitalized for surgery, an illness or a fall, then now’s the time to really make long-term care planning a priority. In fact, the risks associated with any underlying health conditions or frailty make this a necessity.

4. Disabled Child

Many long-term care plans aren’t necessarily to the sole benefit of you or your spouse. Rather, they’re about preventing a financial burden from falling on your dependents. And, sometimes, they may even be needed to make provision for dependents who are less independent. Long-term care planning provides critical peace of mind, ensuring that your child or children are provided for in the event that you require long-term care.

Frank R. Campisano is a highly experienced and compassionate elder law attorney with considerable knowledge of long-term care planning and Medicaid planning. In addition to planning ahead financially for Medicaid eligibility, he is also able to assist with Medicaid applications, appeals, and other Medicaid issues. If you or a family member needs assistance with 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, Healthcare Proxy, Power of Attorney documents, and trusts.

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

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/

Call Now

×