The recent United States Supreme Court decision in the case of United States v. Windsor effectively ends marriage discrimination on the federal level. It equals the playing field between legally married same sex couples and their traditional counterparts. This decision fully recognizes same sex marriages in the states where they are currently legal. It does not change existing state laws in the states where same sex couples are not legal, or in states where only civil unions are recognized. This decision will change benefits, rights and responsibilities in over one thousand different areas. Some benefits will be universal, the vast majority will only take effect in states where same sex marriages are legal. Given the large number of programs involved, a wait and see approach is the only viable option now. Due to the uncertainty over the full impact of the Supreme Court decision, many are advising a wait and see approach to see how the programs involved are effected. Currently, the S
In estate planning, the durable power of attorney is extremely important for a number of reasons. It allows you to decide who will step up to the plate and carry out your financial decisions and affairs should you become incapacitated. Needless to say, when deciding who to appoint as a Power of Attorney, it’s a powerful role you’re filling and your decision is one that shouldn’t be made lightly. As estate planning attorneys, we always encourage our clients to give this decision a great deal of thought. And if I Don’t Have a Durable Power of Attorney? This is the question we’re always asked when we explain how important it is for estate planning purposes. The answer is simple: if you don’t have one in place, the court appoints a guardian or conservator to oversee the affairs. And guess what? The court may appoint the last person you’d ever expect. That alone is enough to convince clients that they should indeed be the one to make that decision today versus gambling on a j
The death of a spouse is one of the most life altering events you will experience. The sense of loss and the upheaval in your day to day life is enough. Couple that with the process of unwinding the estate of your beloved spouse. It is little wonder that many experts recommend putting off any irreversible life decisions during the first year following the loss of a spouse. Many decisions cannot wait. The immediate decisions are conducting and possibly having to arrange funeral services, along with the task of notifying friends and family of your loss. Once the most immediate duties have been completed, you must begin the process of contacting all the accounts that your spouse had business with at their passing. This includes the mundane, like the power and light company and your phone provider. Banks and brokerages, along with any pension and life insurance providers are surely on the list. The executor of the estate, if not you, should be contacted if they are not previously notified
Divorce ranks in the top 5 most stressful life events and for good reason: divorce affects every family member and the changes that come with that decision are overwhelming. New Jersey estate laws are specific when it comes to wills and asset distribution. Leaving out these considerations during the divorce process can result in more than a few surprises when your will is read following your death.
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