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New Jersey Estate Tax: What You Should Know
Estate Planning for Same Sex Couples
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Wills: The Basics
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Wills: The Basics

New Jersey Estate Tax: What You Should Know

New Jersey has many different types of taxes, including two different taxes on death: the NJ Estate Tax and the New Jersey inheritance tax. The New Jersey estate tax is a tax on transfers at death and certain transfers in contemplation of death. 

Transfers to charities, a surviving spouse or a surviving Civil Union partner are exempt from the NJ estate tax. Transfers to anyone else are taxable to the extent that the transfer exceeds $675,000. New Jersey never does anything in a simple manner, and it does not technically offer a $675,000 exemption from the estate tax.

Estate Planning for Same Sex Couples

In many jurisdictions, estate planning for same sex couples can be quite complex. In some states, the laws are favorable to non-traditional couples and in others, they are not (like Pennsylvania). There are also states like New Jersey, where the laws themselves can be favorable to same sex couples if you enter into a Civil Union, but there is still Tax Planning that must be done.

In states where the laws are unfavorable to same sex couples, without structuring your affairs properly, one partner may not inherit from the other.

The Court got it Wrong for Special Needs Trust Individuals

In a published decision, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, ruled that a trial court erred when it applied the doctrine of probable intent to create testamentary special needs trusts for two disabled children of a woman who died prior to finalizing her estate planning documents. In the Matter of the Trusts to be Established in the Matter of the Estate of Margaret A. Flood, Deceased, 417 N.J. Super. 378 (App. Div. 2010).Margaret Flood had four children, including two daughters with disabilities who received government benefits.

Wills: The Basics

The will is the centerpiece of estate planning.  It provides for the legal transfer of assets after an individual's death, names an individual or entity to settle the probate estate, names a trustee to administer any testamentary trust established therein, and appoints a guardian for any minor or disabled children.  However, it is not the only estate planning document nor does it dispose of all assets. 

There are three basic estate planning documents: (1) a will; (2) an advance directive, and (3) a power of attorney.
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