Our Blog is our way of helping you make sense of what may otherwise be a perplexing or confusing situation in which you may find yourself. But don't despair. Although you may think you are the only one experiencing some type of difficulty or hardship, if you look around, you will see that others are as well. It is said that "what is most personal is most general” — and that is true.
It's in the spirit of making the personal seem more general that we write these blogs so that you gain a better awareness of the issues you may be confronting. And in the process of gaining awareness, you begin to develop a realistic approach to whatever it is you are seeking to accomplish. Of course, these Blog posts are no substitute for one-on-one legal advise; however, you may find them useful, if for no other reason than to put your concerns into the proper context. From there, additional research and consultation with legal professionals can follow.
We hope you find these blogs helpful as you navigate through life's many challenges and opportunities!
P.S. if there are any topics you would like us to address, please send us a note to that effect.
Listening to someone's story to get a better understanding of their situation and what they want to accomplish is just as important as the ultimate legal advice a lawyer gives to his or her client. There is no substitute for taking the time to listen to what another person has to say and showing them that you care enough to hear them out. Care always precedes the cure!
When the month of May rolls around, we are reminded of the importance of mental health. Mental Health Awareness Month is an important awareness initiative in the United States that takes place every year in May. In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, our team at Serra Law Group is ta...
Executors in New Jersey are entitled to statutory commissions that range from 5% down to 2% of the gross value of the estate, depending on the size of the estate. Commissions at a rate of 6% may also be taken on any income the estate may general prior to final distributions being made.
Probate assets are assets that pass through your will while non-probate assets pass outside your will. You should know how each of your assets will be distributed when you die so that your testamentary intent will be carried out.
Unfortunately, even death does not prevent you from being taxed in New Jersey. While New Jersey no longer has an estate tax, it still has an Inheritance Tax that applies to certain beneficiaries, including siblings, nieces, nephews and other more remote family members and friends. It is important that you know how the Inheritance Tax works so that your will is drawn up to handle this tax the way you would like.
The annual federal gift tax exclusion is now $16,000 per year per recipient and the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption is now $12.06 million. New Jersey abolished the estate tax in 2018, but still has a Inheritance Tax that applies in certain circumstances.
A probate attorney represents clients in settling an estate after a person dies, while an estate planning attorney represents people in preparing their estate plan. They are separate disciplines, though in certain cases, it may be advantageous to retain an attorney who has expertise in both areas since the insight gleaned from one discipline may be used to the client’s advantage in the other. The law can be very nuanced for sure!
Elder caregivers should be given special thanks for the work they do to make sure the folks they serve are protected and cared for properly. It's a difficult job to be sure, but one that is most gratifying when you know you have made the life of a vulnerable person better. That should be our life's mission each and every day.
The Problem There are bad guys out there looking to steal your money by making you wire funds to what appears to be a legitimate destination when in fact it is going into their pockets. Avoid this risk by engaging processionals who are keenly aware of this problem and have protocols set up to protect you and your hard earned money.
Making charitable donations in your will is a good way to support charities that you care about. Many charities rely on money and resources they receive from estates. Donations by will have been widely used to distribute to charities some or all a donor's remaining assets upon their death. Donati...
On November 3, NJ Voters voted yes to legalize the use of marijuana in the Garden State. However, legislators still must pass laws to end arrests for marijuana possession and to regulate the new marijuana industry before the constitutional amendment takes effect on January 1st. The proposed bill...
It is usually best to appoint only one person to be your Executor, POA or Health Care Representative since appointing two or more people can lead to conflict. However, if two or more people are appointed, then it is wise to include in your documents a "Conflict Resolution Clause" that sets out a process for resolving conflict that is designed to arrive at an amicable resolution (win/win outcome) rather than going to court (win/lose outcome).
Becoming a caregiver for your aging parents can be challenging requiring us to detect as early as possible what their deficits might be. It requires patience and persistence along with a commitment to spending time observing them and listening to what they have to say. Changing the family dynamics and culture to welcome outside help is another important strategy that will keep your parents out of a care facility for as long as possible.
Preparing a Will, Power of Attorney and Living Will does not need to be complicated or expensive. Using our Smart Law platform, you can create an entire estate plan right from your smart phone during your lunch break!
Marriage is not just a partnership, it is a business arrangement, albeit a very loving business arrangement. Marriage can have a significant financial impact on a family and on an estate plan. Estate panning is just as important for unmarried couples as it is for married couples.
As the Coronavirus continues to be an ongoing issue for many of us, more questions have arisen regarding the living will and extreme measures being taken or not in a situation when a ventilator is needed. We've touched on this topic in a previous blog, https://www.serralawgroup.com/coronavirus-a...
Have you heard the term ethical will before but was unsure what that means? We answer that question and explain how if fits into your estate planning.
A new law just passed in New Jersey allows documents to be signed and notarized remotely. This includes estate planning documents such as Wills, Powers of Attorney and Living Wills. This is a good time to get these documents in place without leaving your home.
This is a good time to do a Living Will that appoints someone to make medical decisions for you in case you can no longer do so and that spells out your wishes in terms of end of life medical treatment. Forms are available on-line from the N.J. Department of Health or via our on-line Smart Law platform. Legislation is pending that will allow remote notarization of legal documents, including Living Wills.
If you have young children, picking a guardian for them if you die is very important (and difficult). However, it's best to pick one person to be guardian rather than a couple so as to avoid confusion in case the couple is no longer together.
A Power of Attorney is an extremely important document for when (and if) you become disabled and can no longer manage your own affairs. A Power of Attorney gives someone you trust the legal authority to act foe you and in your best interests when you are unable to do so. Without a Power of Attorney, you run the risk of having someone managing your affairs who you otherwise would not want knowing your business. You can avoid that by signing a Power of Attorney.