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.
Also, in 2004, the federal estate tax exemption has increased to $1,500,000. Since New Jersey’s estate tax exemption is $675,000, you need to carefully consider your assets and family situation to determine which exemption makes sense for you and you need a properly prepared Will to make sure your decision is carried out.
A Will doesn't only save taxes. It lets you decide who will raise your children, who gets your money, and when they should receive it (e.g. at what age should your children, or other beneficiaries, get their inheritance), and who should be your executor and trustees. If you do not have a Will, New Jersey law and the Courts will make these decisions. A Will can help your heirs avoid family fights and expensive Court proceedings.