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Morristown Estate Litigation Blog

Are you one of the many who lacks a health care directive?

Estate planning is not something many New Jersey residents think is important -- or at least not important right now. It is something people do later in life, or it is for people who have significant assets, right? Wrong. It is for anyone who wants to protect their loved ones, their assets and, most importantly, themselves. When it comes to personal protection, having a health care directive is a must.

What is a health care directive? It is a document in which an individual names a person to be his or her personal representative for health care decisions. This individual is responsible for making all medical decisions in the event one becomes incapacitated. It is a big job, not one that should be given to just anyone.

Have you put off creating a business succession plan?

When you are a business owner, there is always something that demands your attention, especially as the company grows and becomes more successful.

But what happens to your enterprise if something happens to you? One thing you should not put off is creating a business succession plan.

The benefits of tax planning for small business owners

Running a business without a plan is likely to result in one's company being run into the ground. Flying by the seat of one's pants may not help produce the successful business one wants. So business planning is essential, as many company owners in New Jersey know, but it is not the only planning one should do. Tax planning or the failure to do so can also make or break a business.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to save on income taxes. No one wants to pay Uncle Sam more than he or she has to. There are several ways business owners can keep money in their pockets and out of government reach.

Concerned about the state of your loved one's estate?

Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult, and it doesn't always bring out the best in people. If you recently lost a loved one and have concerns about the state of his or her estate and how it is being handled, you do not have to sit by and let whatever is going to happen, happen. You may be able to do something about it so that you can make sure the estate is administered, not only per New Jersey law but also the way your loved one wanted.

Fighting over estates is actually pretty common, even if estate plans are in place. There are several reasons why family members fight over their loved ones' estates. For example, one of the most common reasons is that there are concerns about the validity of a will, or there is a complete lack of a will. Another example would be that concerns exist about an executor's or trustee's actions.

Is probate necessary when property is jointly owned?

Many married couples in New Jersey and elsewhere jointly own all of their assets. This means that if one spouse dies, the other will retain total control of the property. If this is how it works, it is understandable that the surviving spouse would want to know if he or she has to go through the probate process in order to officially close out the estate.

Recently, a man in another state asked this very question. His wife passed 18 years ago. Their assets were jointly owned, and her will named him as the sole beneficiary, so he never went through the formal probate process. He wanted to know if that was going to come back to hurt him down the line.

Estate litigation in Stuart Scott case put on hold

When a loved one dies, there is hope that the estate administration process will be completed quickly and without issue. Unfortunately, many in New Jersey and elsewhere find that this is not the case. The Stuart Scott estate litigation case is a prime example of this.

The late ESPN host left behind a fairly sizable estate to his daughters. However, his ex-wife has been fighting for money supposedly owed her according to their divorce decree, and his daughters have been fighting the co-trustees over a lack of proper payouts. Disney has also gotten into the middle of this legal battle, dealing with claims over retirement funds supposedly still owed to Mr. Scott's ex.

New Jersey elder law: Dealing with nursing home evictions

An article was recently published about elderly and disabled people all across America being evicted from nursing homes for their inability to pay. Apparently, this happens quite frequently, and it leaves those affected scrambling for help. Not many people in New Jersey or elsewhere may realize this, but it is illegal to evict patients from nursing homes without giving them proper notice or allowing them to appeal to their insurance providers. With the assistance of an experienced elder law attorney, those who have been evicted may be able to fight back.

According to the article, thousands of individuals are discharged from nursing homes every single year because their money is running out. It does not matter if they are still in need of care. It all comes down to the almighty dollar.

Common estate planning myths you should not believe

Myths, by definition, are widely held beliefs or ideas that are actually false. There are many myths about estate planning, and these false beliefs are often enough to stop numerous New Jersey residents from getting their estate plans prepared. This week, this column will discuss estate planning myths versus reality in the hopes of encouraging people to take the time to get their estate planning done.

Myth number one: estate planning will cause one to die sooner. No one knows exactly when they are going to die. Planning for it does not mean it will happen sooner. In fact, taking the time to put together an estate plan has actually shown to help people live longer because they have peace of mind knowing their assets and loved ones are protected.

When sibling rivalry leads to estate litigation

Siblings do not always get along. Fighting and disagreements are normal in sibling relationships. Unfortunately, some sibling relationships are worse off than others. When parents pass away, sibling rivalry may affect estate administration. In New Jersey and elsewhere, estate litigation may be the only way to resolve any disputes that arise if this is the case.

Parents know their kids best and can take steps to prevent fights that may arise when it comes time for their children to administer their estates. A few things parents can do include giving gifts while they are still alive, tagging items and leaving clear instructions for what is to happen to their assets. In an ideal world, every adult would have an estate plan in place. Unfortunately, this is not typically the case.

Elder law: Nursing home problems behind recent federal hearing

Numerous people in New Jersey and other states reside in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. They depend on the medical staff employed by these facilities to take care of them. The problem is, too many residents fall victim to abuse and neglect. This very issue was recently discussed in a federal hearing. It is undoubtedly an elder law issue that needs addressing at both the federal and state levels.

Several people had time to share their opinions on the current state of nursing homes in the United States. The CEO of the American Health Care Association claims that nursing home abuse is rare and that quality of care in such facilities has vastly improved over the past decade. Aging advocates, however, believe that profits take precedence over patient care and that abuse in nursing homes is far more prevalent than people realize.

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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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