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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New Jersey Foreclosure Rate Highest in the U.S.

Despite the fact that the national foreclosure rate reached an 11-year low last year, New Jersey had the highest rate of foreclosure in the U.S. for the second consecutive year. The continued backlog of distressed properties in the foreclosure process, high property taxes, and slow economic growth is weighing heavily on the current New Jersey housing market.

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How Can Divorce Affect Your Credit Score?

Going through a divorce can be a stressful and challenging time. One impact of divorce that is often overlooked is the impact it can have on your credit score. It is common for individuals going through a divorce to focus on figuring out the details of living their lives separately, but figuring out your now individual finances can be difficult.
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Debts of an Estate

When a parent passes away, oftentimes their spouse or adult children are left to settle the estate. While debt may be the last thing on the mind of someone that loses a loved one, it is an important issue that may arise upon their passing. Many people have similar questions when it comes to estate debt: Are the beneficiaries responsible for a loved one’s debt upon their death? What happens if the assets of the estate amount to less than the debt the parent owed?

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New Jersey’s New Approach to Adoption Records for Adult Adoptees, Birth Parents

In New Jersey as many as 2,400 adoptions take place every year. Recently, after years of relentless lobbying, a law took effect that allows those adult New Jersey adoptees to obtain their original birth certificates that have information about their biological parents, their medical history and identity. Prior to this legislation, these records were sealed by the state of New Jersey and were only available through a court order. Since the legislation took effect in January 2017, more than 1,000 adult adoptees have received their birth records from the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) after submitting applications.

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