Frequently Asked Questions

  1. My Will was drafted a number of years before my husband and I had children, does this mean that we automatically need new Wills?

Answer: Probably. If your Will does not indicate your wishes regarding the manner in which your estate passes to your children (whether in trust or not) or if it does not designate a guardian for your minor children, you should update your Will. Life events such as marriage, the birth of a child, divorce and the death of a family member should trigger a review of your Will. Dan provides a complementary review of your current Estate Planning documents (Will, Power of Attorney and Living Will) and, if necessary, he will explain how to remedy any deficiencies.

  1. I’m married with no children. My husband and I do not have Wills. It is true that if my husband passes away, I might be required by law to share any inheritance with my in-laws?

Answer: Yes, depending on the size of your husband’s estate, New Jersey Statutes instruct that if he dies without a Will (intestate) you, as his spouse, may need to share a portion of such inheritance with your in-laws. To avoid this situation and to preserve all the wealth that you are entitled to receive, get a Will, Power of Attorney and Living Will as soon as time permits.

  1. My mother is about to apply for Medicaid and I’ve heard that I should transfer all of her assets to myself and to her other children just prior to applying for Medicaid in order to get her assets below the Medicaid asset limit. Is this a good idea?

Answer: Making such a transfer of your mother’s assets without a legitimate Medicaid-authorized reason for doing so may trigger a time-based penalty which would ultimately hurt your mother’s chances for a Medicaid approval. However, your family may have legitimate reasons for making such transfers within the rules of Medicaid. Before moving assets, let’s discuss this matter in more detail.

  1. When an individual is suffering from dementia does that automatically mean they are no longer capable of executing (signing) a Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney or Living Will?

Answer: No. A person who is suffering from forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or any other neurological disease may still have the requisite legal capacity to execute a Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney and Living Will (also known as an Advanced Medical Directive). The standard for executing such documents is based on an individual’s legal capacity (and it is not based on a medical standard). An experienced Elder Law attorney will know how to determine if a client has the requisite capacity to execute such documents.

  1. I do not wish to leave any money or property to one of my children under my Last Will and Testament. How do I do this? Is this legal?

Answer: Yes, you may disinherit a child. There is a specific way to do this in your Last Will and Testament so that your estate is less likely subject to future litigation from your disinherited child. Let’s talk about your concerns in more detail.

If you have an Estate Planning or Elder Law-related question, please do not hesitate to contact Dan.

Legal disclaimer

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.