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July 2013 Archives

NJ residents may be able to double their estate tax exemptions

The federal estate tax law has a portability provision; that is, it allows the transfer of the federal estate tax exemption from the decedent to the surviving spouse. If the correct estate tax planning steps are taken, residents of New Jersey might be able to double their estate tax exemptions.

Alternatives to disinheriting children

New Jersey residents who are unhappy with their children may end up leaving them out of their will. This can cause a rift to form in families and lead to lawsuits, dragging out the probate process. While it is up to an individual to determine who gets what once they pass on, it may be a good idea for people to really think about the impact disinheriting a family member will have.

James Gandolfini's heirs pay $30 million estate tax

A few weeks ago, the death of New Jersey native and Sopranos actor James Gandolfini stunned his family, friends and fans. Even more shocking was the recent news that Gandolfini's heirs have to pay $30 million total in estate tax.

Estate liquidity is an important consideration

Federal estate taxes are more of a concern for very wealthy individuals as the tax doesn't kick into place unless an estate is valued at more than $5.25 million. However, New Jersey residents need to pay close attention to asset protection plans because of the impact of state estate taxes. While not all states have separate inheritance or estate taxes, those that do can place financial burdens on the survivors of a deceased party. It's important to consider these needs in determining how much of an estate to keep liquid.

Estate liquidity is a serious family matter in New Jersey

Since the estate tax does not affect an inheritance until it gets to $5.25 million, most people are not concerned with that when it comes to the liquid assets in their estate. Only millionaires and their heirs are affected by that particular issue.

Steps to creating an estate plan

New Jersey residents dying without an estate plan subject their families to court-related delays and allow the state to determine who gets their assets. Most Americans know that having an estate plan is important, but less than half have actually undertaken the process of creating one. Estate planning does not have to be a monumental task; a few simple steps can formulate the basis for a simple or complex estate plan.

Estate planning for the teenagers in your family

The practice of planning for the untimely debilitation of a loved one isn't always left for an advanced age. Regardless of how old New Jersey family members are, it's never too early to create an estate plan for their future medical and legal security. This is especially true for sons and daughters about to venture into their first years of college.

Is debt inherited?

Many older Americans are in bad financial trouble. One and a half million senior citizens lost their homes during the recession and more than half a million are currently in foreclosure. All in all, three and a half million bad loans are held by people 50 and older. More than two million people over 60 even have student loan debt and owe an average of a little less than $20,000. Bankruptcies among the elderly have risen sharply since 1991. Worse, more than 60 percent of people over 75 have no savings.

Estate planning basics

New Jersey residents often assume they do not need estate planning documents because they do not have a large amount of assets or they are not old enough to concern themselves with it. However, there are basic estate planning documents that adults should have. Once created, these documents also need to be updated whenever someone experiences a major life change such as a marriage or the birth of a child.