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Morristown Estate Litigation Blog

Estate litigation in Robert Indiana case is proving expensive

When closing out a loved one's estate in New Jersey or elsewhere proves to be a difficult and drawn-out process due to litigation, it can get expensive. When this happens, the money to cover estate litigation can come straight from the estate. Unfortunately, this means some assets may need to be sold to cover legal fees -- which can create issues as well, as seen in the Robert Indiana estate case.

Robert Indiana, the famous artist, died in May 2018. Before his death, his business manager filed a lawsuit in federal court against the artist's publisher and caretaker, accusing them both of isolating Indiana and selling fake Robert Indiana pieces for financial gain. Litigation on this matter and others have continued since the artist's death. The executor of the estate claims that money is needed to continue fighting the legal claims in court, and as such he would like to auction two pieces of artwork from Indiana's private collection.

Estate planning is not just about asset protection

Are you ready for the future? Are you prepared for what will happen to you if you were to become incapacitated? Do you believe the purpose of estate planning is only to protect your assets? Guess what, estate planning is not just about asset protection; it is about life, wishes and family protection as well. That is something many New Jersey residents do not realize.

No one knows what the future will bring. No one thinks that they will become incapacitated and unable to care for themselves or their families. It happens and it is rarely expected. When it does, if you do not have the proper preparations made, your wants and wishes for your medical care, your financial well-being, your family and your assets may not be known or honored.

New Jersey elder law: Protecting a loved one from financial abuse

Elderly individuals in New Jersey and across the country are often victims of financial abuse. While many want to believe that scam artists are fully behind this, the sad reality is sometimes family members and friends may take advantage of elderly individuals too. An elder law attorney may be able to help those who feel that their loved ones are being financially abused.

What is the definition of elder financial abuse? In short, it is using fraudulent, illegal or improper acts to take the monetary resources of an elderly individual for one's own use or benefit. There are a number of ways to do this. Telemarketers and scammers often convince elderly individuals to give out personal information, which is then used to access bank accounts or charge credit cards. Family members may also convince their elderly loved ones to hand over money or other assets, or they may use power of attorneys or guardianships to take control of the assets.

Estate litigation can take time, as seen in the James Brown case

Music legend James Brown died just about 12 years ago on Christmas Day in 2006. He had an estate plan in place, but this did not stop estate litigation from happening. His estate has yet to be distributed as there are unresolved issues that various members of his family keep taking to court. While most New Jersey residents do not have estates as vast as Mr. Brown's, when family members disagree with how assets should be divided, estate litigation may take some time to resolve the issues -- though hopefully not over a decade.

According to a recent report, a probate case was opened for James Brown's estate in Jan. 2007. The will provided to the court did not provide for his current wife and son from that marriage. His loved ones claim that she was not actually married to him as she was married to another man when their wedding occurred. They also claim her son, James II, was not his as he had a vasectomy years prior to avoid having any more children.

Should you forget planning a will if you're not wealthy?

If you are like many residents of New Jersey and elsewhere, you might assume that estate planning is only for the rich. However, there are many reasons to plan a will, regardless of how much of a nest egg you have saved up and how many--or few--assets you have to your name.

Who pays for estate litigation?

After a loved one dies, it is a common goal to want to get through the estate administration process in New Jersey as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, you may find yourself dealing with estate litigation if anyone in your family questions your loved one's estate plan or lack thereof. Legal matters such as this can become expensive very quickly. Who pays for estate litigation?

Many people are worried that legal fees will need to be paid out of their own pocket. The truth is that when there are concerns over an estate and litigation is necessary to resolve them, legal fees are generally paid out of the estate. This way, family members are not left with massive legal bills when all is said and done.

New Jersey estate planning: Review your beneficiaries lately?

Designating beneficiaries on financial accounts and in an estate plan is just part of preparing for the future. One's assets need to go somewhere when one passes on; who wouldn't want a say in who should get them? Unfortunately, many people in New Jersey believe that beneficiary designations and estate planning in general are a "one and done" kind of thing. The truth is, time passes and people change their minds about who their beneficiaries should be. If beneficiary designations are not updated, the wrong person could end up receiving assets following your passing.

Designating or changing beneficiary information is actually really simple. On financial accounts, such as bank accounts, insurance policies and retirement accounts, it is a matter of filling out a beneficiary form. This can usually be done online in a matter of minutes. For one's estate plan, it is slightly more complicated.

Why consider estate planning? Here are a few reasons

Most New Jersey residents have a lot on their plates daily. Family and work obligations leave little time for much else. There is one thing that many people really should think about prioritizing, though, and that is taking the time to do some estate planning. Why? Here are a few reasons.

Reason number one to consider estate planning is protection. Having a quality estate plan in place offers protections for the principal, his or her assets and his or her loved ones. Without an estate plan, one is giving up a say in what happens to him or her in the event of incapacitation and what happens to assets in the event of either incapacitation or death -- leaving an estate vulnerable to things like taxes and creditors.

Tax planning: Why do I need to do it?

Taxes, taxes and more taxes. Whether one resides in New Jersey or elsewhere, taxes are a big part of life. The only way to escape taxes is through death, but even then one's family may be left holding the bag, so to speak. This is where tax planning comes into play. With a carefully thought-out tax plan in place, one may be able to reduce one's tax liability, which can be beneficial now and into the future.

Why consider tax planning? An individual might consider tax planning as a way to ensure tax efficiency. No one wants to pay more in taxes than they have to. Everyone would rather they had more money going into their businesses or retirement accounts. No one wants to leave their family members left with a significant tax burden.

Choosing the right executor

Selecting your executor is an important part of planning your estate. The right executor can help the probate process go smoothly and ensure that your wishes are carried out. Conversely, an executor who is unable or unwilling to perform the necessary duties can cause serious problems.

To start considering who should serve as your executor, it can help to understand the specific matters he or she will need to handle. Other relevant factors include the types and extent of your assets, whether complex tax or appraisal issues will arise and whether you anticipate contention among the beneficiaries.

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Thomas N. Torzewski, LLC

Torzewski & McInerney, LLC
60 Washington St
Suite 104
Morristown, NJ 07960

Phone: 973-532-2868
Fax: 973-359-0077
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