Why Are You Checking Email Today?

Business Succession Planning

Why are you checking email today? There could be many reasons. You could be addicted to your phone. You could be working. You might also own your own business, and when you own your own business you’re always on call. Which is why you’re checking your email today.

If you do own your own business, then you must wonder what will happen to that business if you pass away. Or you might be wondering what will happen to your business when you retire. I’ve been thinking a lot about these questions as I watch the show Rectify, on IFC.

Without going through the whole backstory (it’s a very complicated, powerful, amazing show), at some point we learn there is a family (tire) business that the owners go to great lengths to think about selling. The thing I loved about the show is that so many of the issues the owners had to face are exactly the same issue my clients deal with as they contemplate retirement (or an untimely passing).

For example, have you thought about:
– What happens when I retire?
– What will happen to the business if I pass?
– What happens if I get sick, or become disabled?
– If I have partners, what happens to my share of the business if something happens?
– What happens if my child divorces?
– What happens if I get a divorce?

We are about to witness the greatest wealth transfer in human history. There are about $30 trillion in assets that are about to be passed from one generation to the next, as the boomers retire and the next generation steps up. If you are in either category (thinking about retiring, or thinking about taking over a business), then you must assemble a great team of advisors and attorneys who can help you navigate the process. We can certainly help. If you have any questions about your business, contact Alec Borenstein, Esq., at alec@bmcestateplanning.com or call 908-236-6457 today.

One last thing – stay tuned for an email later this week about three more events we are hosting with Rountable Wealth Management about the new tax changes under the Trump Administration. The first event in Franklin Lakes was a tremendous success, and we look forward to having you come to one of the events in your area!

More Help for Modest Estates in New Jersey

wills, estates, estate planning, what, to, leave, union, hunterdon, new jersey

For people of modest means, the estate administration process often adds legal and administrative expenses that serve only to reduce the amount of the estate that passes onto heirs. In addition to these hard costs, a lot of the heirs’ time and energy can be lost at a time when they are likely already grieving the loss of a loved one. It hardly seems worth it to process these modest estates.

Fortunately, the State of New Jersey recognizes the burden that estate administration can place on people of modest means and thus always allowed intestate estates valued at less than $20,000.00 to pass to a surviving spouse or partner without the need for administration. An intestate estate is an estate where there is no Will.

Recently, the New Jersey State Legislature passed two new laws which expand upon this policy. First, the amount that can be transferred to a surviving spouse or partner has been increased to $50,000.00. This adjustment will allow a much larger number of estates to pass without administration and should serve to alleviate unnecessary stress on many New Jersey families.

If the decedent does not have a surviving spouse or partner, the maximum amount that could pass was previously $10,000.00, but that amount has also been increased and is now $20,000.00.

The second law assists some of the State’s least financially secure individuals — nursing home patients. Under this new law, nursing homes are required to work with residents to help them designate a beneficiary who will be entitled to any personal needs allowance funds that amount to $1,000.00 or less. The named beneficiary will usually be able to take these monies without administration.

If you have questions regarding your eligibility, or the eligibility of a loved one, under the provisions of either of these laws, consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. For residents of New York and New Jersey seeking estate planning assistance, contact Alec Borenstein, Esq., at alec@bmcestateplanning.com, or call 908-236-6457.

Estate Planning From Prison

Going to prison may be the last thing on your mind. Yet the question remains, what would you do if you were suddenly incarcerated? Who would take care of your kids? Are your financials in order? Do you have an estate plan in place?

The reason it is vital for you to think about and answer these questions is because prison is a type of “incapacitation” for the sake of estate planning. After all, if you’re in prison, who will pay the mortgage, sign the child support checks, pay for nursing home care for your parents and handle your other responsibilities? Fortunately, by retaining an attorney, you can designate power of attorney to an individual who can then carry out these tasks on your behalf.

In the event that you are arrested, cannot pay your bail, and are convicted of a crime, you should have a power of attorney set up. Now, in a perfect world, you’ve already created your estate plan and you already named someone to be your power of attorney.

Let’s assume the world is less than perfect. So, what is power of attorney and how do designate a person to handle your affairs after you’ve been incarcerated?

Power of attorney is the authority you give to another person or institution (a bank for example) to look after your affairs if you should become disabled or incapacitated. Some of the advantages of a power of attorney include:

  • You choose your agent — Rest assured, you, and not a judge, get to choose who you want to be your power of attorney. Keep in mind that it is important for you to choose someone you trust.
  • Peace of mind — Designating a power of attorney can provide you and your family with peace of mind.
  • Can save you time and money — By having a power of attorney in place, you can save time and money that would be spent on court proceedings.

If you have not named someone to be your power of attorney, but find yourself in prison, your attorney can pass you the POA documents that need to be signed — the Department of Corrections allow a prisoner’s attorney to pass him or her important documents.

Whether you are facing prison time or have been diagnosed with a serious illness, an estate planning lawyer can help you get your affairs in order so that your family is well looked after. For more information on estate planning in NJ and NY, contact Alec Borenstein, Esq., at alec@bmcestateplanning.com, or call 908-236-6457.

Jersey… Wrong? Exodus of the Millennials

NJ Inheritance Tax

In the past, much has been written about retirees leaving New Jersey in record numbers for multiple reasons — estate tax, inheritance tax, cost of living, population density, weather, and even marijuana legalization. However, now in 2016, it is millennials — that is, individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 — who are leaving the Garden State en masse.

Recently, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association released a report that showed the out-migration of around 2 million N.J. residents between 2004 and 2013 which has cost the state $18 billion in net adjusted gross income. The report goes on to explain that during those eight years in question, the state lost the following potential revenue:

  • $8.4 billion in household spending
  • $11.4 billion in economic output
  • 75,000 jobs
  • $4 billion in total lost labor income.

So, where are young New Jerseyans moving to start families, settle down and retire? Not very far it turns out. In fact, the majority of N.J. residents exiting the state are looking for homes in Pennsylvania and New York. This allows millennials to live comfortably out-of-state while still being able to work and visit friends and family in N.J.

From an estate planning perspective, it makes a lot of sense. Even though Governor Christie called for a repeal of N.J.’s estate tax in a January address, the fact remains that N.J. currently has an estate tax AND an inheritance tax. N.J. also has the lowest estate tax exemption — $675,000. Although P.A. has an inheritance tax, the rate is low (4.5 percent for those who die after 2000) in comparison to N.J.’s 11-16 percent.

In addition, N.Y. is in the process of raising its estate tax exemption limit to match the federal exemption of $5.9 million by 2019.  Unless New Jersey changes its estate and inheritance tax, it seems likely that the exodus will continue, especially when affordable living is just across the border and within an hour of friends and family.

If you are thinking about your estate plan, it’s a good idea to speak to a lawyer. For N.J. and N.Y. residents seeking counsel on wills, trusts and other aspects of estate planning, contact Alec Borenstein, Esq., at alec@bmcestateplanning.com, or call 908-236-6457.

My Kids Are So Different – How Do I Plan My Estate?

power of a will, wills, trusts, estate planning, union and hunterdon counties new jersey

Thank you for reading the July edition of BMC’s End of the Month Newsletter. This month my wife is on a two-week (actually 16 day) trip to South Africa, and Daddy (that’s me) is on duty right now. Her absence has me thinking about estate planning as it relates to children.

When your children are young, it makes sense to divide your estate equally among them. However, as your kids get older and reach their 20s and 30s, you may discover that one child is more financially responsible than another. How does this affect your estate plan?

When creating your estate plan and deciding how your property and assets should be divided after you die, consider the following factors:

  • Caregiver — What if one child stuck around to take care of you later in life while your other children moved away? You may want to leave more to him or her since he or she sacrificed part of their life to take care of you.
  • Life situations — One child may be a single lawyer with few expenses while the other may have a large family to support on a modest salary. Should both children receive the same amount?
  • Younger children may need more support — Is there a drastic age disparity between your children? You may have older children who are independent adults and a younger child who is just broaching adulthood.
  • Trust protection – Ask yourself these questions: Are your children in rocky marriages? Are they in high risk professions? Are your children bad at handling money? Should my children receive their shares outright or would it be better to for them to receive their shares in a trust that will help protect them from themselves/divorce/creditors?

At the end of the day, no matter how you structure your plan, one thing is certain: you must inform your children — you do not want them surprised by your estate plan. In my experience, siblings are so distraught over the outcome of a will, they often seek a will contest when it could have been avoided by a conversation during the testator’s lifetime. The last thing you want as a parent is to have your children fighting over your will after you die.

But the first step is to think about the issues involved, and call us with any questions you might have.

If you have any estate planning questions, please feel free to call us at (908) 236-6457, or email me at alec@bmcestateplanning.com.

By at .

1 2 3