Selecting The Right Person(s) to Be the Guardian of Your Child(ren)

HNW Elder Law, Estate Planning, Guardianship Law

Deciding who should be the guardian of your kids is a tough decision Close family members are not always the best choice This article discusses “What To Think About” when selecting a guardian for minor children Questions Parents Should Ask About Guardians for Their Children Here’s a good question I was recently asked by a father when discussing his last will. “We’re worried about what will happen to our minor child(ren) if anything happens to my wife and I”, he said “Are grandparents automatically her guardians?  We don’t want that for our daughter because my parents are too old, and my wife’s mother is in very poor health.  Our daughter is 8.” So what does N.J. law say about the …

If You Have a Trust, Do You Also Need a Last Will?

HNW Elder Law, Estate Planning, Will Contest and Probate Litigation

If you have a living trust in place, why would a person need a will?  The answer straightforward :  You need a last will to address what is to be done with any asset that you may have unintentionally left out of your living trust.  Some examples of how this could happen: You buy property, (say a house), then die or become incapacitated before you can transfer the property into your trust. You co-own a bank account with someone else with rights of survivorship (say a child). The co-owner predeceases you and you forget to name a new co-owner. Your credit card company returns money to you for a trip that was canceled because of your death and it needs …

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 …

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 …

Can You Exclude Your Ex-Spouse as the Guardian for Your Children After Separation/Divorce in Your Will/Trust?

HNW Elder Law, Estate Planning, Will Contest and Probate Litigation

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Guardianship and Estate Planning Attorney A client was referred to me by another attorney. She was the victim of domestic abuse and is currently in the process of getting divorced. She wants to prevent her husband from gaining custody of her children should she pass away. Her divorce attorney advised her that the father would have parental rights in the event of her death, regardless of what her Will says and that she would be wise to obtain a court order regarding same as part of her divorce. I was asked for my opinion. There is a reported New Jersey Supreme Court decision Watkins v. Nelson, 163 …

A Granddaughter Does Not Owe Gift Tax on Money She Inherits for College Tuition

HNW Elder Law, Estate Planning

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Estate Planning Attorney I’m always asked about gift taxes when clients want to give away property to a loved one while alive or upon death. This frequent question generally involves gifts for college, a wedding or other major life event. The short answer is no gift tax is owed, but you will have to file a gift tax return (IRS Form 709) if you give a person more than $15,000 in any one year. The amount in excess of $15,000 will be deducted from your lifetime unified gift and estate tax exemption, currently $11 million in 2018. That’s not even a reality for 99.5% of Americans. If …

Can You Gift Real Estate to a Minor Under the Age of Eighteen (18) and if so, How?

HNW Elder Law, Estate Planning

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Real Estate Attorney I was recently asked if there was a simple, ironclad way to transfer title to real estate in New Jersey to a 13 year old minor child. A “minor” means an individual who has not attained the age of 21. Many people assume that a grantee (the person to whom ownership is transferred) must be at least age 18 or 21 years of age in order to legally own real estate. What is the status of a deed transfer to a 13 year old and does that status change when he or she reaches age 18/21? Surprisingly you don’t have to be an adult …

Be Careful About How Often You “Roll Over” Your IRA

HNW Elder Law, Estate Planning

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann, a Freehold, NJ Estate Planning Attorney A long-standing rule about how many IRA-to-IRA “rollovers” a taxpayer can make in a single year has changed, generally speaking. Read this post to avoid unnecessary taxes and penalties. A rollover means moving funds from one IRA to another. The longstanding rule has been that taxpayers may roll over multiple IRAs in a single year. The Internal Revenue Service had interpreted the limitation of one rollover a year to apply separately to each IRA a taxpayer may own. So the taxpayer could roll over IRA A in February, IRA B in May and IRA C in October without the rollover being treated (and taxed) as an …

The Marital Deduction: A Valuable Estate Planning Tool

HNW Elder Law, Estate Planning, Will Contest and Probate Litigation

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann, a Freehold, NJ Estate Planning Law Attorney The federal estate tax marital deduction is one of the most important estate planning tools available to a married couple. The basic marital deduction rule is that, upon the death of the first spouse, the value of any interest in property passing to the surviving spouse is deducted from the decedent spouse’s gross estate. This means that the amount passing to the surviving spouse escapes taxation in the decedent spouse’s estate. There is no limitation on the value of property that can qualify for the marital deduction. By transferring sufficient assets to the surviving spouse in the proper manner, estate tax liability upon the first …