Changes To New Jersey Child Support Laws

The term “child support” gives the general implication that the support is intended for adolescents up until they reach the age of emancipation. However, up until recent years, this was not the case in New Jersey. Prior to recent legislation, many parents would continue to provide child support long after the child reached the age of 18, or would terminate the payments themselves without obtaining a court order. The New Jersey legislature recognized the issue and in 2016 passed a legislation that allows for the termination of child support when the child turns 19 years old. On February 1, 2017, the law went into effect in New Jersey. The law not only applies to future child support orders but existing orders as well.

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Adding A Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement To An Estate Plan

Many people who are looking to tie the knot believe that mentioning a prenuptial agreement eliminates the romance. However, like any business relationship, a prenuptial or even a postnuptial agreement provide a range of benefits and security to both parties involved in the marriage.

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New Jersey Medicaid Penalty Divisor Increased For Gifts

In order for an applicant to eligible for long term care Medicaid in an assisted living facility or nursing home, there is a five-year look back period. This means that all financial records as well as any gifts made during the previous five years must be disclosed to Medicaid. In accordance with New Jersey law, if an individual or spouse made any monetary gifts over the course of the five years prior, then Medicaid would impose a gift penalty.

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Estate Plans Should Account for Digital Assets

Whether it’s through social media, online bank accounts, PayPal or email, today many people are storing their personal information and finances online. When an individual passes away, his or her online accounts will continue to remain active. For this reason, it is important to account for digital assets in an estate plan. By defining what assets an individual owns and how to access them, a person will ensure that their loved ones can access online accounts that may have sentimental, financial, or practical value. Additionally, making these accounts available to beneficiaries after death can prevent them from falling into the wrong hands, resulting in fraud or hacking.

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Guardianship of Disabled Adults in New Jersey

At 18 years old, all people in New Jersey, including those with disabilities, are considered adults under the law. Regardless of the individual’s type of disability or if he or she lives at home, once an individual reaches the age of 18, parents can no longer make decisions legally on their behalf. Some families may want to consider establishing a legal guardian for a disabled individual, once they reach the age of majority, who will represent his or her best interests.

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Grounds to Contest a Will

When someone contests a Last Will and Testament, they are objecting to its validity. In order to contest a Will in New Jersey, an individual must have “standing,” or locus standi. To have standing, or locus standi, the individual must be considered a person with an interest in the estate, such as legal heir. Anyone named in a prior Last Will and Testament may also have standing to contest a Will, if the Will entered into probate removes or reduces the share that person or group would have received in a prior Will.

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Important Documents to Have in Place Specifically for End-of-Life Decisions

Every individual should have documents such as a Health Care Proxy, Living Will, Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) and/or Do Not Intubate (DNI), and Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) in place to assist loved ones who may need to make medical decisions on their behalf, including end-of-life decisions. A brief overview of the purpose of each document can be found below.

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What to Do When the Surrogate’s Court Asks for an Inventory of Assets

An inventory of assets is a form that may be required by the Surrogate’s Court. The form must be completed and delivered to the court by either the fiduciary of the estate or, at the request of the fiduciary, it may be provided by the attorney on record.

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Probating a Will

It is important to create a comprehensive estate plan, and there are certain measures that one can take to avoid probate if done correctly. Probate is the legal process whereby a last will and testament is determined to be valid and authentic by a court of law. Under New Jersey State Law, the will is admitted to probate when the executor files a “Petition for Probate” with the decedent’s will attached. Additionally, if the decedent died without a will, then an administrator would apply with the Surrogate. Probate proceedings take place in the county surrogate’s court where the decedent resided at the time of their death.

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New Jersey Credit Shelter Trust and Estate Taxes

Over the last few years, both New Jersey and federal estate tax laws have changed. Currently, a decedent’s estate only needs to pay federal estate tax if the gross value of the estate exceeds $5,490,000. In New Jersey, estates with a value in excess of $2,000,000 have to pay the state’s estate tax. As of January 1, 2018, the New Jersey estate tax will no longer be in effect.

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