Estate and Medicaid Planning Advice for the New Year

West Essex Tribune
January 8, 2004

Several new laws go into effect this year that mean you should review your estate and Medicaid planning to make sure you are taking full advantage of the new laws and avoiding traps for the unwary and unprepared.

The federal estate tax exemption (the amount you can leave to people other than your spouse without a federal estate tax) has been increased to $1,500,000 and the generation skipping tax exemption (the amount you can leave to grandchildren without a federal tax of 48%) has also increased to $1,500,000. This means, with proper planning, more money can be left to your heirs without taxes. Remember that your home, retirement plans and life insurance are all included in your estate, so it can add up quickly.

Read more: Estate and Medicaid Planning Advice for the New Year 

New Laws Can Help Seniors and Others

West Essex Tribune
February 5, 2004

New Jersey's new Domestic Partnership Law gives unmarried seniors and same sex couples who meet certain requirements some of the rights, benefits and obligations as married couples, including an exemption from New Jersey Inheritance Tax (although there may still be New Jersey and federal estate taxes). Under the new law, domestic partners can enter into an agreement spelling out their obligations to each other. If this affects you, you should consult with an attorney who is familiar with this new law.

Read more: New Laws Can Help Seniors and Others

Planning for your Children

West Essex Tribune
May 13, 2004

You carefully investigate day care, camps, schools and baby sitters. You make sure your children are well cared for every time you are not there…or have you? If you do not have a Will you haven’t taken an essential step in providing for your children.

For parents of young children, the most important part of a Will is naming guardians--the people who will raise your children if something happens to you. You need to carefully consider parenting style, age, geographic location, religion, and many other factors to decide who is best suited for your children.

The second most important part of your Will is naming trustees to manage your children’s inheritance until they are old enough to manage the money themselves. The people you want to name as trustees are not always the same people you would name as guardians.

If you do not have a Will, the Courts and your surviving relatives will make these decisions. If surviving family members cannot agree, it can lead to costly litigation (usually paid for out of your children’s inheritance).

Take the time now to plan for your children’s future. For more information contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Bressman LLC, 973-660-1919 email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit his website at

6 Common Misconceptions about Domestic Partnerships

West Essex Tribune
July 22, 2004

There are 6 Common Misconceptions about Domestic Partnerships that you need to know about. 

You should know:

  1. Your Domestic Partner has no right to inherit from you. Your Domestic Partner receives nothing on your death unless you have a Will naming him or her.
  2. Your Domestic Partner has no say in your funeral arrangements unless you have a Will naming him or her to make those decisions.
  3. Your estate may pay federal and New Jersey estate taxes even if you leave everything to your Domestic Partner. Proper planning can reduce or eliminate these taxes.

Read more: 6 Common Misconceptions about Domestic Partnerships

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