Probate Attorneys in New Jersey

Probate, Trust Administration and Estate Tax Prep

You’ve worked a lifetime to ensure your family is cared for and protected for generations. But not having a plan to help them navigate or avoid probate can cause issues for those you love. When a loved one passes away with just a will, or no estate plan at all, their families have to put the estate through a process called probate.

More About Probate

No two probates are the same. At Medina Law Group, we help with a wide range of probate planning needs. 

Probate is the court-managed proceeding where assets are retitled and distributed according to the will or the law of intestacy (when you pass away without a will). While many people create an estate via a living trust, which avoids this process entirely, many estates will have to go through probate.

All probates involve locating the will and/or making a filing with the probate court. Once the will is accepted, an administrator is appointed. After that, all heirs need to be formally noticed (in writing), where they will have the opportunity to review the will and make any appropriate challenges or contests.

Next, the assets are gathered, debts and taxes are paid and only then assets can be distributed in accordance with the will or intestacy. While many assets will pass through probate, some assets, like life insurance and retirement accounts, will pass directly to the named beneficiary. Other kinds of assets, like those held in joint tenancy, will pass directly to the other joint tenant. The important thing to remember is that all of these assets are counted as “part of the estate” for purposes of calculating whether taxes are due and/or as part of any existing or future Medicaid applications. You should also know that estates over a certain threshold have to be probated, whether they are “taxable” or not.

As you can imagine, accomplishing all of this takes an enormous amount of time and can be extremely frustrating. When you factor in the grief that comes with the loss of a loved one, the process can seem overwhelming.

As your trusted advisor, we can help you navigate the process and settle the estate as quickly and economically as possible. We will lift the burden off your shoulders, so you can focus on what is most important—coming to terms with your loss and preparing to move on with your life.

If a loved one has recently passed away and you would like a no-cost, confidential consultation to discuss the next steps, please call our office to schedule a meeting.

 Making Estate Administration Easier

One of the hardest things to do is deal with the estate of a loved one who has passed away.  If that loved one hasn’t put proper planning in place, it can be doubly hard. In the midst of dealing with the grief that comes from losing a loved one, no one wants to have to deal with the mess that gets left behind by when there’s no proper planning in place.

One of the most important gifts that you can give the people that you leave behind is to leave an estate that is well-organized and efficiently managed, and where you have an existing relationship with a trusted advisor who can help after you are gone.

Our planning focuses on becoming lifetime legal counselors for our clients and their families. One of the richest benefits that comes from joining our client family is the knowledge and peace of mind that someone who knows you and cares about your family is there to guide your loved ones after you’re gone.

Estate Tax Planning

Did you know that:

The estate tax is separate from the income tax, and is paid on the net value of all your assets, including life insurance and retirement accounts owned at your death in excess of the exempt amount

The federal estate tax rate is 40% in 2024, scheduled to increase to 45% in 2026

The New Jersey inheritance tax can go up to 16% and can affect estates as little as $25,000

For most families, estate taxes are easily avoidable with basic planning

Using various techniques, we can help most families avoid or reduce the amount of estate and/or inheritance tax that will be due upon their death. This kind of planning must be put in place before you pass away, and some of this planning requires anywhere between one to three years to become effective.

If you’re facing estate or inheritance tax at your death, you could benefit from consultation with our office to assess the magnitude of the taxes that will be owed, and to put together a plan that will help keep more money in the pockets of your loved ones, and less money in the pockets of the government.

If you need to plan, call our office at (609) 818-0068 to set an appointment today or contact us here.

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Don't Get Stuck in Probate