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Thomas N. Torzewski, LLC

Morristown Estate Litigation Blog

New Jersey elder law: Overuse of drugs in nursing homes

When placing a loved on in a nursing home or other type of care facility, one wants to believe that staff members will do their best to care for him or her. In many instances, that does occur. However, a recent report about the overuse of antipsychotic drugs in such facilities was just released and the findings are quite disturbing. Those in New Jersey who believe that their family members in care facilities are being inappropriately drugged may turn to an elder law attorney for help.

Staff members at nursing homes and other care facilities are known to use drugs to sedate their patients in order to keep them under control. While there are some patients who may really require these medicines due to known and diagnosed mental illnesses, there are those who do not medically need them and are given them anyway. Human Rights Watch believes that roughly 179,000 individuals across the country who are currently nursing home patients receive these drugs when they really shouldn't.

How does Bitcoin fit into estate planning?

Quite a few Americans have invested in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The rise of Bitcoin value has been quite extreme, making owners of the currency rather wealthy on paper. What happens to this digital currency when its owner passes away, though? Do loved ones get to automatically claim it? The answer is no, which is why including Bitcoin when going through the estate planning process is important for anyone in New Jersey who has it in their portfolio.

Digital assets are not automatically passed on, following a person's death. It can actually be quite difficult to access a loved one's digital assets if the proper legal protections have not been put in place. This is not just a Bitcoin problem; it is a problem in regard to all different types of digital assets.

Estate litigation often happens when a stepparent is involved

Many adult children in New Jersey and elsewhere whose parents remarry later in life fail to get along with their stepparents. When their parent dies, they may question a lot of things regarding the handling of their estates. Sometimes, in such situations, estate litigation is inevitable.

According to a recent article, stepparents -- particularly stepmothers -- are actually the root cause of numerous estate litigation cases. Why? First, stepparents and stepchildren do not always agree on how things should be handled. Second, some children may believe that their stepparent manipulated their biological parent into changing estate plans in order to benefit them and their own children.

Estate litigation over an art collection, yes it can happen

Many New Jersey residents are lovers of art. Some, so much so, that they build amazing art collections over the course of their lives. Having an affluent art collection can be a wonderful thing, but it can also cause issues if what to do with the collection is not properly spelled out in an estate plan. In fact, such collections are often behind estate litigation cases.

Art collections range in value, but many can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars -- if not millions. It is common for these collections to be left to loved ones or donated. If planned for properly, it is possible to transfer the pieces and reduce the tax burden -- both on the estate and for the beneficiary.

When recovery conflicts with continued guardianship

Guardianships are extremely important tools directed at protecting vulnerable adults in New Jersey when they are unable to take care of their own needs and decision-making. Often, they are permanent in nature because the adult is not going to recover or improve enough to become mentally self-sufficient.

However, sometimes they do recover enough to warrant a removal of the guardianship.

When a beneficiary change can lead to estate litigation

Your dad discussed his estate plan with you awhile back so that you would know what to expect upon his death. Well, the time came, you father died, and you got a big surprise. At the last minute, he changed his beneficiaries. Now you are left wondering why and what you can do about it. In New Jersey and elsewhere, a last-minute beneficiary change can lead to estate litigation if those affected feel something is not above board.

Before delving into this topic, a person does have the right to make a beneficiary change whenever he or she likes. It is when it happens under odd or suspicious circumstances that it may not be okay. Of course, proving such a thing can be rather difficult.

New Jersey elder law: Nursing home abuse is never okay

Putting a parent or other loved one in a nursing home is a significant and difficult decision. There are too many horror stories out there regarding elder abuse in such facilities. Those in New Jersey who believe that their loved ones have been to subjected to abuse either by care providers or other residents may turn to an elder law attorney for help.

Recently, a nursing home in another state was forced to shut its doors following an extreme incident of abuse, other signs of resident neglect and various violations. Video has been posted of an 86-year-old dementia patient being beaten by a 52-year-old resident of the Good Samaritan Retirement Home. The reported cause of the violence was a dispute over a cupcake.

Sometimes estate litigation cannot be avoided, sometimes it can

You are working on closing out a loved one's estate when, BAM, a disgruntled relative or creditor files claims against the estate. Sometimes estate litigation in necessary to handle the situation. Sometimes, though, New Jersey residents can avoid litigation altogether. 

Did you know that rather than settling claims against an estate in court, you may be able to mediate the issue? It is true. There is such a thing as probate dispute mediation.

Types of special needs trusts in New Jersey

You want to make sure that your loved ones are safe and well, and for those family members who have special needs, you may have to take a few extra precautions. In the case of special needs estate planning, there are a few trust options available.

To select the best trust possible, it is important to understand what they entail. There are three types of special needs trust to consider:

Elder law: Man indicated for elder abuse

Nursing home administrators in New Jersey and across the country have certain responsibilities to their patients. In addition to ensuring that employees have the necessary training and experience to provide appropriate care, they must also ensure that these employees are dedicated to meeting the best interests of their patients and that no violations of elder law occur. Patients who are harmed as a result of employees at nursing homes may choose to file a civil lawsuit.

The victim of an alleged sexual assault in another state may choose to pursue such action. According to reports, a 68-year-old man was the victim. An employee of the nursing walked into the room and discovered a 21-year-old certified nursing assistant straddling the patient. When the second employee entered the room, the defendant allegedly leapt from the bed and requested the former not inform the charge nurse.