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Middlesex County Estate Planning and Bankruptcy Legal Blog

Treating your pet like family to the very end

If you have a Fido or Fluffy who has been a member of your family ever since you can remember, you are certainly not alone. You are among the fortunate many for whom a loving and loyal companion has graced your life. You may return that love and loyalty in many ways, least of which may be the amount of money you spend on food, vet bills, necessities and treats. In fact, studies show that the average New Jersey household spends about $787 a year on pets.

Despite the amount of time and money you may spend on your pet, you may also be among the many who have made no provisions for your furry friend when your life is over. For this reason, shelters across the country are full of once-loved animals who no longer have a home.

What does it mean when a will is challenged?

A person's will is a reflection of the wishes he or she has for his or her estate after he or she dies. It is possible that this document can be challenged in certain circumstances. Not everyone who thinks a will is correct has the legal right to challenge the will.

A will challenge occurs when someone makes a claim through the court that the will shouldn't be considered legally valid. There are two factors that determine whether a will contest is valid. One is the reason for the challenge and the other is the status of the person who is challenging the will.

Not all debt settlement and repair options are created equal

You find yourself in debt, but you do not believe it is severe enough to warrant a bankruptcy filing. What do you do? Most New Jersey residents have heard of debt settlement or repair firms. You know, the ones that tell you to stop paying your creditors, pay them instead and they will work with your creditors. Sounds decent enough, and they make it seem like it will take a lot of stress of your plate, but will it?

The truth is, it is possible to settle debts with creditors. Unfortunately, many of the settlement firms out there do not really accomplish much, and some of them are just scams to get your money.

Jerry Lewis provides an important reminder about wills

There are times when a person will want to leave people out of his or her will. If the person is someone who would normally be listed in the line of succession for a person who dies without an estate, the will should explicitly state that the person is being intentionally left out of the will.

The process of disinheriting someone isn't something that most people would take lightly. In fact, this usually only comes after something serious occurs between the decedent and the now-disinherited person. Take the will of comedian Jerry Lewis.

Digital assets are the subject of a new law in New Jersey

Your online activities are a big part of your life. It is imperative that you take the time to think about what is going to happen to your digital assets when you pass away or your loved ones might be left with a difficult situation that requires them to figure out if and how they can access this information. In some cases, bank accounts and other financial accounts online can provide your loved ones with stability during this troubling time.

New Jersey has recently passed a new law. It makes the state one of 24 that uses the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act to govern what happens to digital assets after death. This is meant to make things easier when a person with digital assets dies without providing ways for someone else to take over the assets.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a will's executor?

Generally stated, the role of the executor of an estate is to ensure that all assets are distributed as per the decedent's wishes. They're also responsible for ensuring that creditors are paid off as well.

An executor can be virtually anyone the decedent chooses, whether it be a family member, friend, lawyer or accountant. In most jurisdictions, the law calls for this individual to be paid a fee relevant to the will's complexity level. Most laws prohibit the executor from being a direct beneficiary of an individual's estate.

Taking a gamble to pay off debt may not have desired outcomes

Financial problems rarely go away on their own, even if you hope that they will. Numerous New Jersey residents struggle with overwhelming debt, and though they may want their finances to get back on track quickly, finding the best method for addressing that debt could prove difficult. Though you may initially feel that you could spend the rest of your life trying to avoid creditors, various useful debt relief methods could help you work toward a fresh financial start.

Of course, while there are useful methods, other options that may seem beneficial could actually hurt in the long run. Therefore, you may want to avoid certain ways of paying off debt due to the detrimental effects that could take place.

Don't make creating your will more difficult than it has to be

When you decide that it is time to create a will, you have to think about what you want contained in the will. In your quest to get the will drawn up, there is a chance that you will make the process more difficult than what it has to be. Here are some points you should know that might make this process a bit easier.

First, you don't have to discuss your will with anyone if you don't want to. Your will isn't recorded until after you pass away, which means that you are free to change it as you desire without having to notify anyone who is an heir.

Casey Kasem's family at war 3 years after his death

Casey Kasem's death rocked the entertainment industry, but many people suspected that it was going to occur since he suffered from Lewy body disease. The news of his death came out three years ago. At that time, it was obvious that there were going to be issues over the estate.

His wife at the time of his death and the daughter she had with Kasem are warring against Kasem's other children over his entire estate. The daughter he had with his wife is said to be the only person living in his mansion. It is noted to be in disrepair and without water or electricity.

Thinking about filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy? Take a means test

If you are in a bad economic way with little hope of seeing improvement without help, you are not alone. Many New Jersey residents have been where you are. If you are thinking about pursuing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy but are not sure if you qualify, there is a simple way you can find out -- take a means test.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, if approved, can clear most -- if not all -- of your debts. Sounds like a good deal. However, this is not something offered to just anyone. There are qualifying factors that you must meet. This is where the means test comes into play.

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