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November 2011 Archives

Dementia: slippery slope that may require a guardian

As members of what Tom Brokaw calls the greatest generation get older, they and family members face some hard realities. These were people who saw themselves and their country through some of the hardest times the world has ever known. Today they may find themselves unable to function with the independence they learned to cherish. What's worse, they often aren't aware because of dementia.

Blended families present unique estate planning challenges

Families are gathering for the holidays. But in many instances, the makeup of those families has shifted away from what was once a norm of father, mother and two-point-five children. That concept of nuclear family has, for many in New Jersey, been replaced by one that is dominated by transience.

Celebrity case offers education on value of estate planning

Clarity of thought and language when drafting a will can mean the difference between a person's estate being settled quickly on behalf of all the intended beneficiaries, and a long, drawn out battle between parties, some of whom may have no claim on the assets. Without clear language, matters may wind up in court and be subject to decisions that may not serve anyone as desired.

Who pays mortgage on inherited home until estate is settled?

For this post, let's first set the stage. A beloved older relative, a 65-year-old New Jersey woman, dies and leaves her children all her worldly possessions, including a home with a mortgage. There was a time, before the real estate market bubble burst, when inheriting a house might have been looked upon as coming in to some money. These days, it may just be seen as inheriting a debt.

Wealthy mistrust next generation to be money smart

Those who have accumulated wealth in this country apparently aren't too convinced that the next generation is up to the task of protecting what they're bound to inherit. That seems to be the conclusion of a new survey by Barclays Wealth. New Jersey estate planning attorneys know that a key to a solution is knowing and leveraging the right options.

Growth in use of IRAs can make for tricky inheritances

The individual retirement account (IRA) is a relatively new thing within the experience of most people in New Jersey. They only came into being in 1974 when Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Since then, the move to IRAs has been massive and it's had an effect on estate planning.

James Brown estate still a battleground

Most folks in New Jersey don't enjoy the kind of wealth that accompanies stardom in the entertainment industry, but that doesn't mean they don't have assets enough to make it worthwhile having a solid estate plan. As we live longer, we need to be proactive in making sure that our assets work for, rather than against us.

Need for elder abuse protection never greater

If you chart the rise of elder abuse in the state of New Jersey, you will see a steady rise in the line over the course of years. Many of the cases that have led to criminal charges involve individuals who allegedly tried to steal the money that a senior depended on for survival. It's one more bit of evidence supporting lawyer-directed estate planning as a means to asset protection.

Voicing your wishes not enough; put them in writing

Whether you live in New Jersey or some other state, the importance of planning now for the future and making your plans known, in writing, is something everyone should be doing. Issues such as how to protect your assets, limit the bite of taxes and making sure that, if you can't make decisions for yourself, whoever does really cares about your best interests, can seem complicated. But they can be handled with help.

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