Trusts

So Do I Still Need a Trust in NJ?

For New Jersey residents, the New Year delivered the scheduled increase in the New Jersey Estate Tax exemption from $675,000 to $2,000,000. Absent a change in the law over the coming year, the tax will be eliminated altogether at the outset of 2018. So many are likely asking the question, “Do I still need a […]

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Will a Special Needs Trust Affect My Child’s Government Benefits?

“Will the trust affect my child’s benefits?” In over 25 years of practicing law, this question is constantly asked. The irony of the question is that the client is coming to the office with the understanding that they will be receiving an affirmative response to that concern. The purpose of a special needs trust is […]

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Court Establishes That Special Needs Trust Is Set In Stone

In 2010, Claude Newsome, who was already legally blind due to macular degeneration, became a quadriplegic as a result of an automobile accident.  After a personal injury action was filed on his behalf, he received a settlement which netted nearly $4 million.  His attorney recommended that he establish a special needs trust with these funds.  […]

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Conflict of Interest Renders Trustee Liable For Losses

In 1992, Ann Mark created two irrevocable trusts for the benefit of her three children. An attorney, Jared Scharf, assumed the role of trustee of these trusts in 1997. In 2008, Scharf established three separate trusts – one for each child – from assets held by one of these trusts. In April 2010, Scharf invested […]

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Courts Disqualify Special Needs Trusts

In two recent cases, courts in Alabama and New York have deemed that the assets in Special Needs Trust which they have reviewed are available resources and must be spent down entirely prior to the beneficiaries of same receiving Medicaid or other needs based government benefits. In  Alabama Medicaid Agency v. Hardy (Ala. Civ. App., No. […]

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Fiduciaries Must Account, or Else…

When someone serves as an executor, trustee, guardian or agent under a Power of Attorney, they are known as a fiduciary.  By law, all fiduciaries must account for their actions.  Over the years, this duty has often been ignored.  However, there is an increasing trend in litigation to sue fiduciaries for alleged financial abuse.  Many […]

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Trusts For A Lifetime

In various posts we have talked about the use of trusts – revocable trusts to manage assets and avoid probate, generation skipping trusts to benefit descendants of several generations, irrevocable trusts to remove life insurance from your taxable estate, special needs trusts for disabled beneficiaries, to name just a few. As a side benefit most […]

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Making Sure Your Will and Your Wishes Are Met

In 2005, Edwin Fisher executed a Will which established two trusts for the benefit of his wife.  The trusts were established to minimize death taxes upon their deaths.  His wife predeceased him.  He died in 2008.  The remainder of one trust was to be distributed among a variety of charities.  The other trust was to […]

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Grantor Trust – The Gift That Keeps on Giving (Tax Free)

Gifts, both tax and non-tax, are great to accomplish estate planning goals. A gift to a special type of trust, called a Grantor Trust, can be one of the best types of gifts you can make. The primary non-tax benefit of a gift is seeing the recipient use the funds for college, drive the car, […]

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It’s Not Just Documents

Frank Casagrande set up an irrevocable trust in which he was to transfer his life insurance policies.  At the time, he was married to Roberta, who was named as the beneficiary of one of his policies.  The beneficiary designation was never changed. Subsequently, Frank divorced Roberta and married Rosemary. After Frank died, Rosemary filed an action […]

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