Writing a last will and testament is always a difficult undertaking. If nothing else, it requires you to confront the fact that you won’t always be there for your loved ones, and you need to plan for what will happen to them when you are gone. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when you are writing your will, to ensure you don’t leave your loved ones with unnecessary problems. Continue reading “Writing a Last Will and Testament: Five Things to Consider”
Many individuals believe that adding a family member or loved one on a bank account will assist in protecting assets from Medicaid. However, unfortunately, this is untrue. However, adding a person as co-owner of a bank account will assist in avoiding probate. Continue reading “A Joint Bank Account Does Not Protect Your Assets When Applying for New Jersey Medicaid”
A gross taxable estate includes assets that maintain an interest upon an individual’s death, regardless of whether the assets pass by way of a last will and testament. A gross taxable estate includes gifts made during an individual’s lifetime that exceed $14,000 per person per year. Also, a gross taxable estate includes property transferred during a person’s life that he or she retains an interest in. This means that, if the property is transferred to another individual but one retained a life estate in the property, then it is part of the gross taxable estate. Also, the interest that is payable upon someone’s death, such as a property or life insurance policy, may be deemed as part of the gross taxable estate.
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.
For 2016, the IRS estate tax exclusions are as follows:
- the estate tax exclusion amount for deaths in 2016 is $5.45 million
- the annual exclusion for gifts is $14,000
- the applicable exclusion amount for lifetime gifts is $5.45 million