Gift provisions in a power of attorney can limit both agents and guardians, and restrict their ability to make gifts if a need arises. For this reason, powers of attorney should be carefully drafted to include appropriate gifting authority. A recent New Jersey Appellate Division case underscores the importance of including gift authority in a power of attorney and the impact any restrictions can have on gift planning.

Continue Reading Do Not Forget the Importance of Gift Provisions in a Power of Attorney

Your child’s transition to adulthood is an important time in life. If your child has reached age 18, particularly an adult child travelling to attend school or work, important changes have occurred. At age 18, your child is an adult under New Jersey law, even if he or she is still living at home. Your adult child now controls his or her own medical and financial decisions, and a parent’s access to information is restricted. Several documents are available to address these changes and appoint agents to assist your child during this stage of life.

Continue Reading Is Your Child Turning Age 18 – How Can You Still Be There to Help?

Living in the time of COVID-19 has heightened everyone’s anxiety. With all of the uncertainties in life, implementing estate planning documents that provide for you and your family can afford some level of relief. Estate planning documents allow you to designate agents to assist with your affairs, while providing structure to assist loved ones as they navigate through turbulent situations. Working with an attorney can help to address questions you will have about your estate plan and will offer personal guidance through this process.

Continue Reading Now is a Good Time to Make Your Estate Plan

The federal tax treatment of IRAs, ROTH IRAs, 401(k)s, and 403(b)s has been the subject of countless books, articles, seminars, and commentary. But, there is precious little regarding the New Jersey state income taxation of these accounts, which is often vastly different. Understanding New Jersey taxation rules is important, not only for distributions made to the account owner during lifetime, but also as part of the owner’s overall estate plan.

Continue Reading Don’t Forget New Jersey Taxation of IRAs, 401(k)s and 403(b)s

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) contains significant changes to the 2020 required minimum distribution rules applicable to IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and other similar Qualified Retirement Plans (collectively “QRPs”).

The CARES Act waives required minimum distributions from IRAs and QRPs for calendar year 2020. This change can result in income tax savings for owners of traditional IRAs and QRPs that are affected by this change.


Continue Reading 2020 Required Minimum Distributions from Retirement Accounts Have Been Waived

A common problem in many estates is the executor’s failure to promptly settle an estate or make distributions to the beneficiaries. Delays in settling an estate can have many causes, including inattention by an executor, failure to take action where required, and mismanagement. In some cases, the delays are a sign of more serious problems, such as self-dealing or an intent to deprive the beneficiaries of their inheritance.

If you are a beneficiary of an estate, you have a right to compel the executor to settle an estate and make distributions to you.


Continue Reading The Executor Won’t Distribute an Estate – What Can I Do?

Although there is near universal acceptance of the importance of gifting, the manner in which gifts are made can have a major impact for your beneficiaries. This is particularly true if the recipient is under 21 years of age, and it can be an acute issue if the recipient is a minor under the age of 18.

Outright gifts to children and grandchildren have their own drawbacks, including limited control over the gifts made, exposure to creditors, divorce, and other issues involving the beneficiary. For these reasons, trust options should be considered to afford greater protection and structure for your beneficiaries.


Continue Reading Trust Protection for Gifts to Children and Grandchildren

The recent decline in asset values may make gifting a more attractive estate planning technique for many individuals, particularly if you are considering gifts of stock or other non-cash assets. Gifting of assets to a trust for your children and grandchildren can be an important part of an estate plan, and one that should not be overlooked. The reduced value of many non-cash assets allows more of these assets to be placed into a trust without exceeding the annual gift tax exclusion amount or the Federal Gift Tax Exemption. If these assets later appreciate in value, the subsequent increases will further enhance the value of the gift to the beneficiaries.

Continue Reading Is Now a Good Time to Make a Gift?

On April 1, 2020, the Department of Treasury and the IRS announced that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive a stimulus payment. Instead, the IRS will use the information of the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate stimulus payments to Social Security recipients who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, in whatever way they normally receive their benefits.

Continue Reading Update: Stimulus Payments – When Do I Get Mine?

The federal government is only beginning to develop the system to issue the stimulus payments authorized by the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). Scammers, however, are already trying to steal money from Americans.

The FBI, multiple state attorneys general, and other agencies are warning Americans not to fall for phone calls, emails, texts, or websites that ask for personal or financial information in order to receive the stimulus payment.


Continue Reading Stimulus Payments – When Do I Get Mine?