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Tag Archives: NJ


Power of Attorney Document

Why you Need a Power of Attorney Document in NJ

A Power of Attorney document (POA) is a document that provides an efficient and cost effective transfer of authority from you to another. With a power of attorney, you can rest assured that in the event of your incapacity, a person you have selected will have the authority to act on your behalf with a clear understanding of your priorities and goals.

Without a POA, you expose yourself and your family to costly and potentially confusing legal proceedings, and the intervention of state authority. It is simply a fact that in the absence of a POA, you have created a vacuum of authority wherein the court, not you, makes the call as to the identity of your agent. That agent will then have the authority to proceed on your behalf, to make binding decisions that may or may not be in accordance with your intent.

Power of Attorney authority may be granted temporarily, and it can be withdrawn in the event that you change your mind as to either your selected agent or the scope of the authority granted therein.

When there is no Power of Attorney, legal costs can decimate one’s estate with an undesirable outcome. The worst calls we receive are, “My dad has Alzheimer’s and now he cannot sign a check.” It’s too late then. You should create a POA before the fact, while you’re lucent and competent. In fact, we recommend creating a POA at 18, when you become an adult. No one knows how their lives will proceed, all we can do is prepare ourselves so that whatever occurs, our families and ourselves are protected and prepared to the full extent possible. As Benjamin Franklin professed, “a stitch in time, saves nine.”

Q: What type of situation warrants the need for a Power of Attorney?

A: Incapacity – the onset of a short-term or long-term debilitating condition either physical, mental or emotional – typically triggers the use of a POA.

Q: What details should be covered in the document

A: The Power of Attorney grants the authority to do what you want to have done. POAs are typically narrowly construed by the court, so the document should be detailed according to your wishes. Unless powers are specifically and clearly stated, they do not exist.

A Power of Attorney can be limited to a single financial account or can encompass the entirety of an individual’s estate. In the former, each asset should be considered. We highly recommend adding additional powers that should be covered in your Power of Attorney and listed as follows:

Health Care Decisions – In a world where HIPAA limits a physician’s ability to disclose health care information, it is vital for an agent to have authority to interact with the medical community to make decisions on your behalf.

Long-term Health Care – Long-term health care planning powers should be expressly stated. The more guidance you can provide your agent and your family, the easier you will make their decisions.

Financial Authority – Money supports your care. A plan should be in place so that your agent understands the authority he has been granted and your wishes as to the liquidation/expenditure of your assets.

Real Estate – whether the POA should grant the agent’s authority to sell, transfer, and/or mortgage real property is an important discussion, especially where Medicaid considerations are involved.

Gifting / Discretionary Spending – without express written authority from you to make gifts, your agent will not be able to give Christmas or Birthday gifts to your family, or even tithe to your church.

Q: Why should I hire an attorney to create a Power of Attorney?

A: An experienced attorney can provide insight and understanding in the creation of a document that is too often treated as a throw-away. The fact is a well-crafted document, within the context of our hopes and intentions, can support our families in times of crisis. Simple legal forms often lack the express authority and detail required to perfect an individual’s goals and objectives.

Further, a carefully drafted and properly executed POA is a form of litigation prevention. In a world where families can be extraordinarily aggressive in asserting authority over still-living elders, a defendable POA is the first layer of protection to ensure that your intentions will be honored.

For more information about Power of Attorney documents, you should contact an experienced estate planning attorney. An experienced attorney may help you understand the benefits and details of a POA to help enable you to make the proper decisions for you and your loved ones.

inheriting real estate

Inheriting Real Estate: NJ Real Estate Transfer Taxes

New Jersey real estate laws around inheriting real estate can efficiently and effectively keep a family home or property in the family. Maintaining a family property in the family legacy is an admirable and attainable goal for many parents and grandparents. “Life Estate” transfers are a great option in many families.

In New Jersey, a person inheriting real estate by Will, by intestacy laws, or a house may be deeded shortly prior to the death of family members. Under each circumstance, the child or children often wish to keep the property in the family. In order to preserve the family home or property, there are a number of issues that must be addressed to pass the opportunity of home ownership to your descendants. These considerations should be reviewed with an estate planning or real estate attorney to ensure each category is properly and adequately addressed with the family’s objective in mind.

The following is a truncated list of the many considerations that a parent or grandparent should consider when deciding to pass on a property or home to their descendants, either by Will, intestacy or gift. To view a complete publication prepared by the Law Offices of Puff & Cockerill, LLC, including detailed sections to the following 21 considerations, please read the full article here>>>

Things to consider when inheriting real estate in NJ

1. Tax Basis for Capital Gains Tax when inheriting real estate
2. Real Estate Taxes
3. Due Diligence
4. Title Report
5. Survey
6. Risk of Lack of “Due Diligence”
7. Homeowners Insurance
8. Existing Mortgage
9. Rebates
10. Being Sued as Grantee
11. College Planning
12. Gift Taxes
13. Medicaid Planning
14. Disability of Your Children or the Grantees
15. In Whose Name Should the Property be Transferred To
16. Possession (inheriting real estate)
17. Joint Ownership Among Siblings or Others Who are not Married
18. Who is Your Roommate?
19. To Obtain a Mortgage/Home Equity Loan
20. Senior Freeze Act or Real Estate of Seniors
21. Your Decision

We encourage all individuals and families who wish bestow upon their children or grandchildren their family home, before or after death, to review their estate planning documents, including their wills and Deeds, in light of foregoing considerations. If you do not have an estate plan, now is the time to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney to formulate and effectuate a plan.

NJ Child Support

NJ Child Support Obligation Termination

A new NJ Child Support Termination Law Becomes Effective February 1, 2017. Governor Christie signed S-1046/A-2721 into law on January 19, 2016. The new legislation establishes 19 as the age when NJ child support and/or medical support obligation shall end. This law will be effective February 1, 2017 and will apply to all child support orders. However, child support may continue up to age 23 if: (1) the child is in high school; (2) attending full-time college, vocational or graduate school; (3) is disabled; (4) if the parties reach an agreement; or (5) if support is granted by the Court. Furthermore, if your Final Judgment of Divorce or support order specifies a termination date other than the child’s 19th birthday, the termination date in the court order/Final Judgment of Divorce will be enforced.

Families that have a child:
1) Over the age of 22 ¾ as of February 1, 2017 shall receive a Notice of NJ Child Support Obligation Termination. This notice will indicate that child support will end on May 1, 2017 (and not the child’s 19th birthday).

2) Between the ages of 22 ½ and 22 ¾ as of February 1, 2017 will be mailed a Notice of NJ Child Support Obligation Termination on February 1, 2017 with child support terminating on August 1, 2017.

3) Between the ages of 18 ½ and 22 ½ as of February 1, 2017 will be mailed a Notice of Proposed Child Support Obligation Termination on February 1, 2017, with child support ending August 1, 2017.

4) If the dependent turns 19 after August 1, 2017 you will receive a Notice of Proposed NJ Child Support Obligation Termination 180 days before your child’s 19th birthday. If there is no response, a second notice shall be sent out. If no continuation or request is filed, the support obligation will end as of the child’s 19th birthday.

This Notice will have information as to how to request a continuation of child support as well as how to modify a NJ child support obligation. Furthermore, in cases in which there are arrears after child support is terminated, the noncustodial parent will still be responsible for paying off those child support arrears.

It is extremely important to respond if you wish to oppose termination. An application or motion may be filed with the Court if you receive an updated order, wish to oppose it, or wish to adjust child support.

We encourage all individuals to review their child support and medical support obligations with their attorneys in light of the new legislation that will be in effect February 1, 2017.