Blog: Estate Planning & Administration

  • Understanding guardianship of the person and estate
    If your loved one is not able to make decisions for themselves because of age, disability or mental illness, it may be necessary to pursue guardianship. There is a process families can go through in New Jersey to request this arrangement, which protects the rights and well-being of their loved one, called the ward. Types of guardianship There are two primary types of guardianship. A guardianship of the person allows the guardian to make personal...
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  • I have a will. Do I also need a ‘pour over’ will?
    The language surrounding estate planning can be confusing. You may already have a will, but perhaps the term “pour-over will” has come to your attention. What is a pour-over will, and how is it different from a more typical last will and testament? What is a will? A will is a written declaration stating how you want your assets distributed to your heirs when you die. Generally, there are certain formalities laid out in state...
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  • Understanding a will contest in New Jersey
    Most New Jersey residents view their will as the last step in determining how their assets will be distributed upon their death. In most cases this view prevails, but in other cases, one or more heirs (or potential heirs) will object to one or more specific bequests in a will. In these cases, the dissatisfied heirs may decide to commence a lawsuit to challenge the validity of the will. These lawsuits are commonly called “will...
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  • How trusts can provide for children with special needs
    Many individuals and families set up a trust as a way to provide for their children. This goal takes on added urgency when the child has special needs. Fortunately, trusts come in many forms and are highly adaptable to many needs and situations. One type of trust, known as a special needs trust, can provide for a child with special needs both while the parents are alive and after they are gone. Trust basics When...
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  • What items are included in an estate inventory?
    Being appointed an executor for an estate in New Jersey comes with many responsibilities. As part of your executor duties, you must identify and locate all estate assets, value them and distribute them to the intended heirs and/or use them to pay off the estate debts. Once you have identified and located the assets, you need to prepare an inventory of the state. The inventory should also include the estate’s debts. It can help to...
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  • Estate planning for special needs children
    When they are planning their estates, many New Jersey residents have their adult children and grandchildren as their top priorities. They hope to leave a legacy that will make life easier for their loved ones into future generations. One way to do this is by creating a trust that will protect assets and provide income for many years to come. For parents of children who have special needs, the goals are similar: They want their...
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  • Executors and other fiduciaries have important legal duties
    Like other states, New Jersey’s probate process relies on an estate administrator to gather a deceased person’s property, pay off all valid claims and distribute the balance to the person’s heirs. The property they have authority over is not their own. It belongs to a person’s estate and will ultimately go to the heirs. This is why the administrator has what is called a fiduciary duty to the estate. An estate administrator is not the...
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  • Should I plan for incapacity?
    According to a recent survey, over 60% of us do not have an estate plan. Part of the reason for this is because estate planning is not necessarily the easiest thing to do, and it is a scary, depressing conversation. After all, it is all about what happens after we die, right? Not necessarily. An often-overlooked part of an estate plan is incapacity planning, i.e., planning for if you become incapacitated. Incapacitated? Incapacitated refers...
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  • How do I locate an estate’s assets?
    After a family member or loved one passes away, you may be appointed the executor of their estate. As an executor of an estate in New Jersey, you have many responsibilities. One of your first and most important tasks is locating the estate’s assets, so they can be distributed to heirs or creditors. Check the will first If your loved one had a will, this is the first place you should look for an asset...
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  • What estate planning steps should parents take?
    No matter your child’s age, you want to provide for them and ensure that they have the support they need to flourish. One important step that you can take is creating an estate plan. this can be especially important if your child is under 18 and will need additional support if you pass away unexpectedly. What should you consider when creating your plan for the future? Naming a guardian for your child can provide both...
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Michael Ritigstein is a Founding Partner of the firm concentrating his efforts in supporting the firm's litigation, corporate and estate matters. Mr. Ritigstein graduated from the University of Delaware in 1996 and Seton Hall University School of Law in 2000. In 2007 he received a Masters of Law in Taxation with a concentration in Estate Planning, from Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

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