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.
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.
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.
Not having a will is risky business. This posts gives 6 main reasons why you do not want to die without a will. Fortunately, this risk is easily addressed throughout our SMART LAW platform.
Family members frequently join together to start businesses, purchase homes and invest in income producing properties, though without any type of agreement in writing. It may not seem important, but before you enter into any type of family venture, make sure you have a written agreement that addresses all the possible things that could happen in the future. It will be money and time well spent!
When choosing who should be the executor of your estate, it is best to avoid naming two or more people to serve as co-executors. Instead, it is better to appoint the one person who you believe is most able and willing to take care of your affairs in a reasonable, objective and responsible manner.
Guardianship mediation is a very good option for family in conflict over how best to care for an elderly parent or family member.
Mediation is a "pay as you go" process, with out the need for costly retainers and hidden expenses. The cost of mediation sessions is also generally shared by the parties which means the process is far less expensive than litigation where the parties are represented by attorneys.
Mediation is a more efficient and less expensive way to resolve conflict than traditional litigation. What can take 6 months to a year in court can be accomplished in a few hours in mediation. Mediation is also confidential and typically results in resolutions that are fair and equitable to all parties which is the ultimate objective of mediation.
There is no need to disinherit a special needs child for fear of losing government benefits. A Special Needs Trust can easily be incorporated into your will that allows your child to have access to funds that will enhance his or her life while retaining crucial government benefits life Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
An Elder Law attorney knows more than just basic estate planning. An effective Elder Law attorney is someone who understands the many issues confronting older adults as they become more dependent on others. Helping to resolve family conflict over care issues and guiding a family in developing an acceptable care plan are also important traits of an effective Elder Law attorney.
Mediation can be a cost-effective way of resolving conflicts. However, in order to be effective, the parties must enter the mediation process in good faith and with a genuine willingness to compromise their positions and find common ground. Otherwise, the mediation process will not yield a favorable result and the parties will grow increasingly frustrated and overwhelmed.
Lending money to children is usually not a very good idea, unless you are not expecting to have it repaid. If you are expecting it to be repaid, make sure you document the transaction in writing and specify exactly how you expect to get repaid. If you expect to get paid from another transaction, like the sale of a home, consider placing a lien or mortgage on the property to ensure that your loan gets paid at the time of the closing rather than waiting to get paid from your child at a later date. The longer your "loan" goes unpaid the less likely it is that you will ever see any of that money again.
It is legally possible to seek Guardianship over someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. However, whether it is the right or wise thing to do is another question. In the right situation with the proper treatment and supports in place, it may be a viable approach to finally getting someone to realize they need to change the way that have been conducting themselves and get help. Treatment is critical, no doubt, but so is admitting there is a problem coupled with the willingness to change.
SMART LAW is our new and innovative approach to accessing legal services that combines the ease and affordability of a DIY on-line platform with the assurance you get from retaining a real law firm. Now you can create an entire estate plan from the comfort of your home using your smart phone!
With an ABLE account, a person with a disability can now save up to $100,000 without interrupting their Medicaid, SSI or other means-tested government benefits. This is a convenient way to avoid the more costlier option of setting up a Special Needs Trust. ABLE accounts are easy to set up and the costs are minimal and in most cases can be created without involving a lawyer.
Guardianship cases can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees. But by retaining a lawyer on a "limited Representation" basis where the lawyer only does certain aspects of a case, those fees can be reduced significantly.
No one is immune from developing dementia, not even a brilliant Supreme Court Justice. Dementia can be devastating and progress to the point where you are no longer able to manage your own affairs. The best way to plan for this type of condition is to sign a Durable General Power of Attorney and an Advance Medical Directive for Health Care (living will). Take control while you are still in control!
Buying or selling a home represents one of the largest transactions in which you will ever be involved. For that reason, you want to make sure you have a team of professionals advising you and looking out for your best interests. Of all the professionals you will retain, the attorney is the only one who is hired specifically to protect your interests and under a legal duty to do so.
Buying and selling a home is one of the largest financial transactions you will ever engage in. For that reason, you should have a strategy in place for how you will approach your efforts. Here are five strategies to keep in mind when selling your home.