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Middlesex County Estate Planning and Bankruptcy Legal Blog

School gets $1 million from former teacher's estate

A former teacher has left a wonderful gift to the Dumont Public Schools in New Jersey. The woman spent 45 years teaching children who had learning disabilities. She retired in 1990. However, she frequently visited the classrooms where she once taught.

She passed away in 2011. Recently the school received a check for $1 million from her estate. It seems the teacher did not have any immediate family or children. The popular teacher left the generous gift to help special education students with scholarships to further their education.

Reorganization bankruptcy: is Chapter 13 right for you?

If you are overwhelmed by debt and unsure of how you will ever emerge from your financial situation without support, you may find it beneficial to consider the benefits of filing for consumer bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is not the ideal choice in every situation, but it could be an appropriate way for you to pursue a better financial future. 

For some New Jersey readers, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may seem like the most ideal course of action. However, due to eligibility reasons and other factors, Chapter 13 could be the right way forward for you. It can be helpful to understand what you can expect from this process and how you can benefit from this specific chapter of consumer bankruptcy.

Experts claim stepchildren often get unequal bequests

Unequal inheritances are one of the main reasons for estate disputes between siblings. Inevitably, a lot of the children who got less -- even if their parents thought they had a good reason -- feel like they were treated unfairly.

This does not happen as often with traditional families, where all of the children belong to the same two parents. Research shows that parents will more often leave all of these children the same amount in assets.

Trusts can benefit your heirs greatly when you are gone

Creating an estate plan requires you to think very carefully about what you want to happen to your assets. When you are setting up your estate plan, you must take the time to consider the implications of the decisions you are making. We can help you learn how your estate plan might impact those who are going to benefit from it.

One thing that you might want to consider is the need to keep things private once you are gone. Do you really want the public to know what you left to your heirs? Some people don't want this to happen, so they turn to trusts.

Probate doesn't have to be mystifying

When a person passes away, there is a chance that his or her estate will have to go through the probate process. There are three primary ways that this can be avoided: gifts, revocable trusts and joint ownership with the right of survivorship. Without these, there is a good chance that the case will need to go through probate.

If you recently lost a loved one and realize that you will have to face the probate process, don't fret. The process is here as protection for all the parties involved. It gives people who think that their loved one was unjustly influenced by someone during the creation of the estate plan a chance to take legal action.

Common issues that lead to financial crises in New Jersey

Every person has a unique financial personality. Are you a spender or did friends and family dub you as a frugal Fanny (or Freddie) because you know how to pinch pennies better than most others do. The New Jersey economy, like in all states throughout the nation, has taken a serious hit in recent years. It currently remains a fluctuating fiscal system in which some months or years are better than others are. The state's, nation's and global economy can all impact your personal financial situation. 

If you were to ask New Jersey residents what types of issues often lead to serious debt, you may get similar answers. Some automatically think that if people have money problems, they are simply spending more than they earn or are treating credit as cash. However, your own situation might be proof that this is not always so. Several other common issues can spark major debt problems. If you know where to seek support, you can explore debt relief options before things get too out of hand. 

Family estate disputes are tragic events

Family estate disputes are tragic because loved ones have to fight against each other. In these cases, the family dynamics can be changed forever. One way that people can prevent this from happening is to have a solid estate plan in place. It might even behoove some individuals to put a no-contest clause in the will. This means that if someone in the will contests things and loses that court action, he or she will walk away with nothing from the estate, not even what was intended for that person.

We know that you might not know how to address a family estate dispute. We are here to help you protect your assets. The last thing that you want to know is that your loved ones are fighting.

Family feud evolves into lawsuit over art sale

A family feud has erupted into a full-scale lawsuit against Sotheby's, the famous auction house, as an art collector seeks to stop the sale of a work he claims belongs to him.

The 86-year-old collector was estranged from his wife when she passed away in 2016. In happier times, the couple had reached out to graffiti artists back in the 1980s. Through their influence, many of those artists transitioned their work to canvas and became highly influential and respected for their work.

Executors: Be careful not to pay minor bills too soon

The executor of an estate has to pay the debts owed by that estate. This can include minor issues like a water bill or an electric bill, and it can include more important debts like tax bills. Which should be paid first?

Executors are wise not to pay off the minor debts first. They need to make sure there is enough money to handle any of the estate's major debts.

Estate planning mistakes can leave your estate in disarray

After the recent phasing out of New Jersey's estate tax, some believe there is no real incentive to create an estate plan. However, avoiding estate taxes is only one reason to create an estate plan or even to write a simple will. Expressing your wishes may reduce confusion for your heirs and ensure your assets reach the hands you want them to reach.

If you have taken the step to create an estate plan, you certainly want to do everything you can to ensure your efforts are not going to waste. You can do this by checking to see if you have made any of the most common mistakes people make in estate planning.

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