The best way to protect your assets and your family are to plan well. At Katkocin Law Office we can help. With over 30 years of experience we can guide you down the best path.
Q. If I don't have a very large estate, should I make a Will anyway?
A. Yes. Even for those with a relatively modest estate, making a Will is a good idea. By making a Will, you can determine not only who will receive your assets following your death, but also who will be responsible for paying debts and making distributions to your beneficiaries. A New Jersey estate planning attorney can help you make the right decisions.
Q. Must the Executor of my estate post a surety bond?
A. New Jersey requires the Personal Representative ( executor or administrator) of an estate to post a bond representing the full value of the real and personal property in the estate. The bond acts as an insurance policy to ensure that assets are distributed properly. Payment for the bond comes from the decedent's estate. Another benefit to making a Will is that the testator (the one making the Will) can decide whether to waive the bond requirement. If the bond requirement is not waived, the Personal Representative will have to obtain the bond.
Q. I hear a lot of talk about estate taxes, but I'm no multi-millionaire. Should I be concerned about my estate having to pay taxes after my death?
A. Perhaps. Many people do not realize that apart from the Federal estate tax, which still exists, some states also impose their own estate tax. New Jersey repealed its estate tax effective January 1, 2018, but it's anyone's guess whether it will come back. New Jersey still also imposes an inheritance tax, depending upon the relationship of the beneficiary to the deceased person. Proper advanced planning can minimize or even eliminate some or all of these taxes.
Q. I have small children. How can I make sure my sister will be entitled to take care of my minor children if my husband and I were to die?
A. Parents are the natural guardians of their children. Typically, a person with minor children will name in his or her Will a relative or a close friend to serve as guardian of the minor children in the event of death.
Q. I have a son with special needs who is about to turn 18 years old. What should I be doing to assure that I can continue to care for him after he becomes an adult?
A. If you and your son's physician believe that your son lacks the mental capacity to care for himself or to govern his own affairs after he reaches the age of 18, you should consider petitioning the Court for legal guardianship. Depending upon your son's specific abilities, a Court may agree that the appointment of guardian is necessary and appropriate. In some instances the Court will appoint a general guardian and in others the Court will appoint a limited guardian.
Q. How will a guardian provide financially for my children in the event of my death?
A. You are responsible for providing financially for your children. You can include in your New Jersey Will a testamentary trust for the benefit of your children.
Q. I heard trusts are complicated, are they?
A. They can be, or they can be relatively simple, depending upon your specific circumstances. You should consult a New Jersey estate planning lawyer for more information.
Q. What is the difference between a Living Will and a Living Trust?
A. A Living Will is an instrument that addresses a person's wishes with regard to healthcare, and may include Advanced Directives and the appointment of another to make medically related decisions. A Living Trust is an instrument that deals with a person's assets and authority over those assets. A Living Trust sometimes is used in place of a Will, but more often is used in conjunction with a Will.
Q. What is a Power of Attorney?
A. A Power of Attorney is a written instrument that authorizes another to act as one's agent. This instrument can be very broad or very narrow, depending upon the purpose for which it is drafted.
Q. What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A. A Prenuptial Agreement is a written document made before marriage that defines each person's ownership rights in the other person's property following marriage, either by divorce or death.
When You Have Questions
Make sure you understand everything you sign. At Katkocin Law Office I can help. Call me, attorney Ronald M. Katkocin, for clear answers to your legal questions. Call Katkocin Law Office in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey: (609) 953-2000. Serving South Jersey for more than 30 years.