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Elder Law

June 3, 2022Why Small Business Owners Need an Estate Plan

Running a small business can keep you busy, but it should not keep you from creating an estate plan. Not having a plan in place can cause problems for your business and your family after you are gone. While an estate plan is important for everyone, it is especially important for small business owners. Planning allows you to dictate what will happen with your business after you die or are no longer able to manage it. It can help you avoid excess taxes and debts and facilitate your business's continued success....

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May 31, 20225 Rights That Trust Beneficiaries Have

As a trust beneficiary, you may feel that you are at the mercy of the trustee, but depending on the type of trust, beneficiaries may have rights to ensure the trust is properly managed. A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person, called a "settlor" or "grantor," gives assets to another person (or an institution, such as a bank or law firm), called a "trustee." The trustee holds legal title to the assets for another person, called a "beneficiary." The rights of a trust beneficiary depend on the type of trust and the type of beneficiary....

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May 27, 2022What to Do If Your Medicaid Application Is Denied

If you apply for long-term care assistance through Medicaid in New Jersey and your application is denied, the situation may seem hopeless. The good news is that you can appeal the decision. Medicaid is a program for individuals with minimal resources, so it has strict asset eligibility requirements. Qualifying for Medicaid requires navigating the complicated application process, which has many potential stumbling blocks. However, an initial Medicaid denial does not mean you will not eventually qualify for benefits....

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May 25, 2022Three Warning Signs That You May Need a Professional Trustee

Sometimes a parent or relative of a person with special needs will establish a special needs trust for their family member and decide to serve as the sole trustee of the trust. In other cases, a parent won't want to serve as trustee, but will ask a close friend or family member to serve without explaining what the job entails. These are very common scenarios, and they are often followed -- months after the trust has been created, when tax returns are due and it's time to file financial statements with various government agencies -- by the discovery that the trustee is in over his or her head. Does this sound like you? If so, it may be time to enlist the services of a professional trustee. While hiring a professional trustee may not always be the best solution, it is almost always better to have a professional with experience managing special needs trusts serve in place of an unqualified or overwhelmed non-professional trustee. Here are some warning signs that may indicate that a change is in order:...

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May 17, 2022Can My Family Inherit My Season Tickets?

Sports fans with season tickets may want their families to enjoy the tickets after they are gone, but passing on these tickets may not be simple. Getting season tickets to your favorite sport is not always an easy task. Season tickets for some teams can cost a lot of money and require time on a waitlist. It makes sense that you may want family or friends to be able to take advantage of tickets that are still usable after you pass away. However, most teams place limits on how you can transfer the tickets both before and after death....

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May 12, 2022What Can ABLE Account Money Be Spent On?

ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts offer people with disabilities a great, tax-free way to accumulate money without jeopardizing their qualifications for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other means-tested programs. Withdrawals are tax-free as long as the money is used for "qualified disability expenses." The arguments for starting and maintaining such funds are overwhelming, not least of which is the wide variety of things on which the money can be spent. To build 529A ABLE accounts, beneficiaries (and other contributors) can put up to $16,000 total into these funds each year. Other restrictions apply. Only those whose disabilities were diagnosed before turning 26 are eligible for an ABLE savings plan. The total value of the account must remain below $100,000 for the beneficiary to qualify for government benefits. Also, the money must be spent only on items, services and activities that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) deems qualified disability expenses (QDEs)....

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May 9, 2022Using a Roth IRA as an Estate Planning Tool

A Roth IRA does not have to be used as just a retirement plan; it can also be a way to transfer assets tax-free to the next generation. Unlike a traditional IRA, contributions to a Roth IRA are taxed, which means that the distributions are tax-free. Also, unlike a traditional IRA, you are also not required to take any distributions on a Roth IRA, regardless of your age. If you don't need the money for retirement, you can leave all of it in the IRA to grow tax-free and eventually pass on to your heirs....

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April 26, 2022How Long Does an Executor's Job Take?

Being the executor of an estate can be a time-consuming job, depending on the size and complexity of the estate. While a simple estate can take a few months and not require a huge time commitment, if there are problems, the job can drag on for years. An executor is the person responsible for managing the administration of a deceased individual's estate. Although the time and effort involved will vary with the size of the estate, even if you are the executor of a small estate you will have important duties that must be performed correctly or you may be liable to the estate or the beneficiaries....

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April 19, 2022If You Don't Want an IRA Distribution, You Can Donate It to Charity

Not everyone wants to take the required minimum distributions from their retirement accounts right away. If you don't want your distribution, one option is to donate it to charity and get a tax deduction. You are required to begin taking distributions from your tax-deferred IRA when you reach age 72 (70 ½ if you turned 70 ½ in 2019 or before) even if you don't need the money. The distributions are added to your income and taxed at your highest marginal rate, perhaps even at a higher rate than your other income if you're right at the threshold between two rates. You're more likely to have to pay a higher rate on this income if you are still working....

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