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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2017 Brings New Rules to New Jersey Businesses

With 2017 already well underway, New Jersey businesses should be aware of several new regulations, including an increase in the state minimum wage, as well as the adoption of paid sick ordinances by two New Jersey municipalities that went into effect on January 1.

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POLST and Advance Directives: You Need Both!

In December 2011, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation that enables patients to indicate their wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment through the practitioner/physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) form. POLST is a medical order that is completed by a physician or an advance nurse practitioner (APN) and is intended for patients with life-limiting illnesses. The advance planning tool POLST should be established and utilized complementary to, not in place of, advance directives.

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How an Advance Directive Can Benefit Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s Disease

More than 68 percent of New Jersey residents know someone who has or had dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, according to a survey conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson’s PublicMind. Dementia is a group of symptoms that can include impairments to one’s ability to think and communicate, as well as memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. It is a progressive, degenerative disorder that impairs thinking, behavior and memory. Due to the degenerative nature of the disease, those with Alzheimer’s are encouraged to obtain an advance directive, a legal document that can direct medical and financial wishes, even after the point when individuals lose the ability to do so themselves.

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Understanding Medicaid Terms

Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides health insurance for millions of Americans, including low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with disabilities. States administer Medicaid to eligible individuals, according to federal requirements. The program is a state- and federally-funded program.

When reviewing a Medicaid enrollment or renewal application there will be several terms that will be crucial to understanding how an individual may be eligible for Medicaid services. The terms, “resources,” “income,” “’set aside’ costs,” and “spousal refusal,” are defined below and should be utilized as a resource for those seeking Medicaid eligibility and renewal.

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