Medicaid Gifting Rules and the Annual Federal Gift Tax Exclusion Are Unrelated: Don’t Be Confused!

HNW Elder Law, Estate Planning, Medicaid Eligibility and Asset Protection Planning

I’ve written numerous posts about Medicaid gifting and the misconceptions surrounding the annual gift tax exclusion rules. Generally, I’m asked the question whether New Jersey Medicaid looks at the gifts a person gives to his/her kids if the gift is valued under $15,000 each year. It’s the person’s understanding these gifts won’t have an impact on their qualifying for Medicaid benefits if they ever need a nursing home. Beware! These folks are incorrect. They are confusing the Medicaid gifting rules and the annual exclusion for federal gift tax purposes. Let me explain. The $15,000 referred to above is the annual federal estate tax/gift tax exclusion. That’s the amount that you may give away each year, to as many individuals as …

Becoming Guardian for an Elderly Father Should Be Last Resort

HNW Elder Law, Guardianship Law

Questions about how to go about becoming a parent’s legal guardian are asked every week.  Often by siblings who are at odds with other siblings over a parent’s care. A child believes Dad needs assisted living and the others think he belongs at home where he is comfortable. He’s very frail but has his faculties. The sister won’t listen and Dad won’t comment because he doesn’t want to play favorites. Brother and sister are constantly fighting about this. In this emotionally charged discussion motivated by genuine parental concern, either child could pursue becoming their father’s legal guardian, but I would only reluctantly recommend it. It’s an expensive process, would be traumatizing for everyone, and probably damage your relationship with the …

An Incapcaitated Mother’s Successor Trustee is Overwhelmed by Duties. So What Can They Do?

HNW Elder Law, Will Contest and Probate Litigation

Here’s an unfortunate story. Mom is incapacitated. She can no longer serve as trustee of her living trust. As successor trustee, the job has fallen to her daughter who is finding the job too difficult and time-consuming. She doesn’t want to do it anymore. Although her brother is backup trustee, the mother named him reluctantly because he is not a responsible person.  There are concerns that he is not up to the responsibility. Can the existing trustee remove the brother from the list and designate someone else to serve, maybe a trusted cousin who is a CPA? Well, this is a tough question. Now that the daughter has taken over as trustee from her incapacitated mother, her authority is limited …

Commercial Leases: Does it Matter if You Fail to Give Notice of Intent to Renew Your Lease?

HNW Real Estate, Landlord/Tenant, and Zoning

A common provision in commercial leases is an option requiring the tenant to notify the landlord of their intention to renew the lease or purchase the property by a specific date. What happens, however, if the tenant fails to provide the landlord with timely notice?  In New Jersey, courts generally enforce the lease as written. Therefore, if the tenant fails to renew by the deadline, courts will likely strictly enforce the lease terms. Exceptions to the General Rule:  When a Tenant’s Late Notice is Permitted There are a few narrow exceptions to the general rule of strict enforcement of the option provision.  There are five special circumstances:  (1) the tenant would sustain substantial harm if it were forced to relocate; …

Monmouth/Middlesex Adult Protective Services Presents In-House Training Seminar to the Attorneys and Staff at Hanlon Niemann & Wright

HNW Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation, Firm News

It was our pleasure on June 18, 2019 to welcome Ms. Jessica Reyes, Director of the Monmouth/Middlesex County Adult Protective Services, to Hanlon Niemann & Wright for an in-house training seminar.  Ms. Reyes presented a comprehensive Powerpoint presentation on the services provided by this non-profit agency on behalf of elderly persons who are the victims of abuse and/or financial exploitation.   On behalf of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, we thank Ms. Reyes for her thorough and very informative presentation.  We will be able to benefit all of our clients when there are issues involving the topic of elder abuse and financial exploitation being present.   Contact me personally today to discuss your New Jersey elder abuse and/or financial exploitation matter.  I …

Bank Accounts Must Go Through Probate If There Is No Beneficiary Designated

HNW Elder Law, Estate Administration and Probate

Many banks have strict policies regarding accounts that are subject to probate. They demand that the surrogate court provide “letters testamentary” before they’ll release a deceased person’s account to the executor/administrator. Many unknowing persons think that a death certificate and a Will alone be enough to gain access to the decedent’s account, especially if the Will says he or she receives all his/her assets. The bank will always say that is not sufficient. If a person does not name a beneficiary to an account making it payable to a person on death, then it must go through probate. If the parent had designated a beneficiary, it would be as simple as presenting the bank with a death certificate for the …

A DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Order is Legal in New Jersey Without a Terminal Illness

HNW Elder Law, Estate Planning

  We’ve all heard about a “Do Not Resuscitate Order” (DNR) but probably don’t know (precisely) what it means, or how it applies to you in real life. A DNR order alerts emergency personnel that you do not wish to receive Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of a medical emergency. It is a medical order that must be signed by a doctor. DNR orders are used primarily by people who are already critically ill and feel strongly that they do not want life-prolonging treatment when close to death. If you do not have a DNR order, emergency medical personnel must use all available measures, no matter how invasive, to save your life. Awhile back a client wanted to create …

New Jersey Adopts a New Law Which Will Allow You to Die With Dignity and on Your Terms

HNW Elder Law, Estate Planning

The State Legislature recently adopted a law entitled  “Aid and Dying for the Terminally Ill Act” which will allow a qualified terminally ill patient to self-administer medication to end his/her life in a humane and dignified manner. The new law provides that New Jersey’s long standing commitment to individual dignity, informed consent and the fundamental right of a competent adult to make healthcare decisions about whether to have life prolonged through medical or surgical procedures withdrawn and withheld is to be honored and affirmed.  As a result, a qualified terminally ill patient under appropriate safeguards and limitations can obtain medication that the patient may choose to self-administer in order to bring about the patient’s humane and dignified death. As I …

Felt comfortable during my visit

HNW Testimonials

After finding Fred Niemann on the internet and watching many of his videos, I knew his firm was knowledgeable in more than just Wills and estate planning.  Once I had the chance to meet with Fred Niemann, he was friendly and interested in my needs.  After talking with many local firms, I was very glad I had chosen the firm of Hanlon Niemann & Wright. – Walter Sobieski

Don’t Blow It! You Can Still Make a Late and Inexpensive Portability Election to Eliminate and/or Reduce Future Estate Death Taxes

HNW Elder Law, Estate Administration and Probate

“Portability” (I’ll explain its definition later in the blog) allows the personal representative of an estate to preserve a deceased spouse’s unused federal estate and/or gift tax exemption amount for later use by the surviving spouse which may be applied against future gifts by the spouse and/or his or her federal taxable estate upon death. In order to preserve portability, a personal representative is required to make an election on a timely filed IRS Form 706, following the death of the first spouse. If Form 706 is not filed within nine months of a decedent’s death or within 15 months if a request for an extension of time to file the return was timely obtained, a personal representative may be …