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Phone: 201-345-3018

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October 2014 Archives

Increase in estate tax exemption can help with gift taxes

Each year, the IRS announces how much the estate and gift tax exemptions will be for the following year. Recently, the announcement was made that the estate tax exemption will rise to $5.43 million per person, and the annual gift tax exemption remains at $14,000 for 2015. The $90,000 increase could allow a New Jersey resident to do more gifting during his or her lifetime.

How a vacation home factors into estate planning

Some families are fortunate enough to have bought a vacation home, and can share that property with those they hold dearest. When the time comes to create an estate plan, some in New Jersey are unsure how to address their vacation home within the scope of their estate planning tools. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to handle a second or vacation home, which means that there is a solution available for virtually every scenario.

A sad but true estate planning and probate reality

Much has been written, here and elsewhere, about the need to create and maintain a thoughtful drafted estate plan. That said, the reality is that many in New Jersey and across the nation will not address this important need, and their heirs will be forced to go through the probate process. A recent article written for estate planning attorneys puts an unusual spin on this reality, one that is disheartening for many families but also has the power to motivate some to make a change.

Estate planning during one's younger years

When many New Jersey residents consider estate planning, it is a topic that they believe is geared toward those who are nearing their retirement years. Younger people often fail to recognize the need to create a solid plan that can be used in the event of their passing. This, however, is an error in judgment, one that could cost a family a great deal of time, money and stress in the event that an untimely death should occur. Estate planning is not only relevant for individuals in their 30s and 40s, it is imperative.

Estate tax and college savings accounts

Many New Jersey readers are aware of the tax benefits of establishing and funding a Section 529 college savings account. The money deposited within is allowed to accumulate interest tax-free, and there is no penalty for withdrawing funds to cover the cost of tuition and other college needs for the account's beneficiary. However, there are also estate tax-planning benefits associated with a 529 account, which is a fact often overlooked by many.

The benefits of using a living trust in estate planning

Many New Jersey residents find it advantageous to make use of one or more trusts when setting up their estate plans. There are many different types of trusts, all of which have various benefits. In the case of a living trust, individuals are able to place chosen assets into the trust while they are still alive, and can also participate in the management of that trust. For many, the ability to see their trust in action is a big advantage, and makes the estate planning process much easier to accomplish.

Can a digital app assist with estate planning needs?

Think of virtually any need that a New Jersey resident might have, and there is likely an online application in place to meet that need. With the announcement of a recently released app, estate planning can be added to that list. The company offering the service is known as Estate Assist, and promises to address an estate planning need that many individuals are not even aware exists.

Estate planning for future children

When most people consider their estate planning needs, they do so in order to ensure that their loved ones are able to inherit as intended. Over time, the people on that list could change, as new children are born or other loved ones pass away. The best way to ensure that one's wishes are carried out as desired is to periodically review one's estate planning documents. There is another consideration, however, to which many in New Jersey have not given a great deal of thought.

Asset protection for the 99 percent of us

When considering how to structure their end-of-life needs, many in New Jersey hold the misconception that they do not have enough wealth to require estate planning services. They feel that asset protection is a concern only for those who sit amongst the wealthiest; the fabled one percent. In reality, however, virtually everyone can benefit from having a solid estate plan in place.