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Kenneth Vercammen & Associates
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Edison NJ 08817
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E414 NJ Laws Email Newsletter

NJ Laws Email Newsletter E414
Kenneth Vercammen, Attorney at Law

January 30,2013

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In This Issue:

1. 2013 Update Wills & Estate Planning Seminar Materials.

2. Liability of Owner of Commercial Property for Defects, Snow, and Ice Accumulation and Dangerous Conditions in Abutting Sidewalks.





1.2013 update Wills and Estate Planning Seminar Materials

1.Federal Estate Tax exemption is now permanently increased so no tax for Estates under $5,250,000, and will be adjusted annually for inflation. However, New Jersey taxes estates over $675,000.

New Jersey has an Estate Tax on amounts over $675,000. So, even if no Federal Estate Tax due, the estate must still file a Federal Estate Tax Return, plus NJ Estate Tax Return.

So, for an unmarried or widowed person with assets of $1,000,000, there is No Federal Estate Taxes, butthe Estimated State Estate Tax:$33,200.00

Foran unmarried or widowed person with assets of $1,500,000, estimated NJ Estate Tax is over $60,000.

The Federal Tax rate on estates over $5,250,000 has been increased from 35% to 40%.

How to avoid NJ Estate Tax- hire an attorney to set up a personal residence trust or irrevocable trust and have the assets taken out of your name and put into a trust or given to children and grandchildren in the trust. Minimum fees for trust are $3,000. This is probably not something a non attorney can do on their own. It is illegal for a non attorney to provide legal advice or prepare most legal documents.

2.Gifts permitted without Federal Estate & Gift tax was increased to $14,000 per person.

However, the amount permitted for Medicaid transfers is zero.

3. NJ SENATE Law No. 708 made a number of substantial changes to the NJ Probate Law.

Non formal writings could be Wills under the Revised provisions governing the administration of estates and trusts in New Jersey. So make sure you have a Formal Will drafted by an estate attorney.

The law expanded situations where writings that are intended as Wills would be allowed, but requires that the burden of proof on the proponent would be by clear and convincing evidence. Possibly a Christmas card with handwritten notes could be presented as a Will or Codicil.

To present a non-formal Will or writing requires an expensive Complaint and Order to Show Cause to be filed in the Superior Court, and a hearing in front of a Superior Court Judge.

Be careful; have a Will done properly by an experienced attorney.

Beware of the Elective share rights of a new spouse. Have a Prenuptial Agreement if entering into a 2ndmarriage

The elective share provisions of the present Code has still not been changed yet. Currently, the new spouse who is not given money in a Will can challenge the terms of the Will. This is called electing against the Will by a spouse. A spouse could receive up to 1/3 of the estate, even if only married for 2 weeks. The spouse must file a Caveat or lawsuit in Superior Court. We suggest a formal prenuptial agreement in 2ndmarriage situations.

A Testator now means both male and female individuals, removing the term Testatrix. Will forms that say executrix should not be used.

The law provides a statute of limitations with respect to creditor claims against a decedents estate. There is no longer a need to publish a Notice Limiting Creditors.

4. We recommend Self- Proving Wills since witnesses often move or pass away

An old New Jersey Probate law required one of the two witnesses to a Will to travel and appear in the Surrogates office and sign an affidavit to certify they were a witness. This often created problems when the witness was deceased, moved away, or simply could not be located. Some witnesses would require a $500 fee to simply sign a surrogate paper. My Grandmothers Will was not self- proving, and the witness to Will extorted a $500 fee.

The New Jersey Legislature later passed a law to create a type of Will called a Self-Proving Will. In such a Will, the person for whom the Will is made must sign. Then two witnesses sign. Then the attorney or notary must sign; with certain statutory language to indicate the Will is self-proving.

When done properly, the executor does not have to locate any witnesses. This usually saves time and money. If your Will is not self-proving or if you are unsure, schedule an appointment with an elder law attorney. Some law offices ignore the revised law, and fail to prepare self proving Wills. Do not use a law office that follows old methods and does not do a self-proving Will.

5. Revised statute requires Palimony agreements to be in writing.

This law is intended to overturn recent palimony decisions by New Jersey courts. An agreement to provide support or any such contract must be in writing and signed by the person making the promise. More specifically, the law provides that a promise by one party to a non-marital personal relationship to provide support or other consideration for the other party, either during the course of such relationship or after its termination, is not binding unless it is in writing and signed. The law provides that no such written promise is binding unless it was made with the independent advice of counsel for both parties.

This law eliminates the holdings of two cases New Jersey Supreme Courts which unwisely upheld palimony agreements between two unmarried cohabitants.

The new palimony law almost totally eliminates palimony in NJ.

6. NJ Supreme Court held a Will could be void if signed under suspicious circumstances

When there is a confidential relationship coupled with suspicious circumstances, undue influence is presumed and the burden of proof shifts to the Will proponent to overcome the presumption.

If there is undue influence in making of Will and transfer by Deed of a house by persons in Confidential relationship, this could subject those persons to punitive damages in some instances, plus voiding of the Will.In the Matter of the Estate of Madeleine Stockdale, Deceased196 NJ 275 (2008)

Wills should be prepared without undue influence. No one other than the person who is signing the Will should be in the room. We usually request the person who wants the Will to fill out the interview form themselves.

7. NJ Inheritance tax

The NJ Inheritance Tax Return instructions and NJ Estate Tax Forms were revised in 2011. Throw out old forms. Even if no inheritance tax due, a Tax Waiver on a house must still be obtained and filed if the house was not co-owned by the spouse.

8. Power of Attorney

Do not use a form purchased online, unless it contains reference to the NJ statute requiring banks to honor the Power of Attorney. Section 2 of P.L. 1991, c. 95 (c. 46:2B-11).

9. Federal Health Privacy Law (HIPAA)

A federal regulation known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was adopted regarding disclosure of individually identifiable health information. This necessitated the addition of a special release and consent authority to all healthcare providers before medical information will be released to agents and interested persons of the patients.

The effects of HIPAA are far reaching, and can render previously executed estate planning documents useless, without properly executed amendments, specifically addressing these issue.

Any previously executed Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, and certainly all Medical Directives now require HIPAA amendments.

Powers of attorneys and Living Wills should be updated to reference this new law. More information on the HIPAA law athttp://www.njlaws.com/hipaa.htm

After you sign the Living Will in your attorneys office, provide a copy to your doctor and family.

10. Competency required to sign a Will or Power of Attorney

My law office cannot prepare a Power of Attorney, Will or any other legal document unless a person is mentally competent. If someone is unable to come into our office, we require the client or clients family to have the treating Doctor sign the Doctor Certification of Patient Capacity to Sign Legal Documents It is theclient or clients familys responsibility to contact the doctor, obtain the signed Certification at the clients expense, and then provide the law office with the original signed Certification. The law office cannot accept phone calls stating someone is competent. Therefore, it is wise do have your documents drafted while you can drive and are healthy.

More information on Wills and Probate at: www.CentralJerseyElderLaw.com

2.Liability of Owner of Commercial Property for Defects, Snow and Ice Accumulation and Other Dangerous Conditions in Abutting Sidewalks.

The law imposes upon the owner of commercial or business property the duty to use reasonable care to see to it that the sidewalks abutting the property are reasonably safe for members of the public who are using them. In other words, the law says that the owner of commercial property mustexercise reasonable care to see to it that the condition of the abutting sidewalk is reasonably safe and does not subject pedestrians to an unreasonable risk of harm. The concept of reasonable care requires the owner of commercial property to take action with regard to conditions within a reasonable period of time after the owner becomes aware of the dangerous condition or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have become aware of it.

If there was a condition of this sidewalk that was dangerous in that it created an unreasonable risk of harm for pedestrians, and if the owner knew of that condition or should have known of it but failed to take such reasonable action to correct or remedy the situation within a reasonable period of time thereafter as a reasonably prudent commercial or business owner would have done under the circumstances, then the owner is negligent.

No one plans on being injured in an accident, whether it is a car accident, fall down or other situation. Speak with a personal injury attorney immediately to retain all your rights. The stores are responsible for the maintenance of their premises, which are used by the public. It is the duty of the store to inspect and keep said premises in a safe condition and free from any and all pitfalls, obstacles or traps that would likely cause injury to persons lawfully thereon.

If the unsafe condition is alleged to besnowand ice,N.J.S.A. 40:64-12 and any ordinance adopted by the municipality might be charged as a factor, the jury should consider the reasonableness of the time the defendant(s) has (have) waited to remove or reduce asnowor ice condition from the sidewalk.

What actions must the owner of commercial property take with regard to defects /snow/ ice accumulation/ dangerous conditions? The action required by the law is action which a reasonably prudent person would take or should have taken in the circumstances present to correct the defect /snow/ ice accumulation/ dangerous condition, to repair it/remove it or to take other actions to minimize the danger to pedestrians (for example, to give warning of it) within a reasonable period of time after notice thereof. The test is: did the commercial property owner take the action that a reasonably prudent person who knows or should have known of the condition would have taken in that circumstance? If he/she did, he/she is not negligent. If he/she did not, he/she is negligent.

3. If you are injured, after seeking medical treatment and advising the store/mall, CALL KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN, ESQ. 732-572-0500 for an Appointment.

More Info At:http://www.njlaws.com/fall_down_injuries_on_snow.htm

If you are injured, after seeking medical treatment and advising the store / mall, CALL KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN, ESQ. 732-572-0500 For an Appointment.


Editors Note and Disclaimer:

All materials Copyright 2014. You may pass along the information on the NJ Laws Newsletter and website, provided the name and address of the Law Office is included.

KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC

ATTORNEY AT LAW

2053 Woodbridge Ave.

Edison, NJ 08817

(Phone) 732-572-0500

(Fax) 732-572-0030

website:www.njlaws.com

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Kenneth Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year
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Since 1985, KENNETH VERCAMMEN has worked as a personal injury attorney, working for injury victims and their families. By taking a hard-hitting, aggressive approach toward the insurance companies, KENNETH VERCAMMEN and our co-counsel have consistently obtained outstanding results for many injured clients over the years I am proud to have worked on cases in various capacities, small and large. While obviously prior results cannot guarantee the outcome of future cases, I can guarantee that you case will receive the same degree of dedication and hard work that went into each of these prior cases.

In direct contrast to the hard-hitting approach we take toward the insurance companies is the soft approach we take toward our clients. I am proud of my compassionate staff as I am of the outstanding financial results they have achieved. For many years, I have watched them treat our clients with patience, dignity and respect. I would have it no other way.

Many years ago, I attended a seminar sponsored by the American Bar Association on Law Practice Management. This was to help insure that each of our clients is always treated like a person -- not a file! We recognize that you are innocent victims and that you have placed your trust in us. Please understand that we understand what you are going through. Feel comforted that we are here to help you.

If you retain KENNETH VERCAMMEN to represent you, we will give you the same advice we give each of our clients -- concentrate on your life, you family and your health. We will take care of everything else. Leave all of the work and worry about your legal rights to us. Trust us. Believe in us. Have faith in us as your attorneys. Understand that we will always to do what we believe is best for you and your case. Helping you is our job. In fact, it is our only job -- guiding injury victims like you through one of the most difficult times of your lives, with care and concern -- while fighting aggressively to the limits of the law to obtain compensation and justice for each of you!

Print our Personal Injury Questionnaire on our Website, Fill it out and Fax back, so we can determine if we can help you obtain an injury settlement. We would welcome an opportunity to prove to you what we have proven to thousands of injured clients -- that you can feel comfortable and secure in the fact that KENNETH VERCAMMEN - Trial Attorney We Fight To Win.

When you have been injured in an accident or collision, you are worried about who is going to pay your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. The last thing you want is to be taken advantage of by an insurance company. If you dont protect your rights, you may not be able to make a claim.

Insurance companies have attorneys and adjusters whose goal is to pay you as little as they can. You need a New Jersey personal injury lawyer to fight for you. I am dedicated to helping your recover as much money as possible under the law.

You need an attorney who will work hard to protect your rights, maximize your insurance settlement and minimize the hassles of dealing with the insurance companies. You need an experienced and aggressive New Jersey trial lawyer with PROVEN RESULTS who will fight for you. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer can make the difference between getting what you deserve and getting nothing.

Without the threat of a lawyer who is willing to go to trial and seek a big jury verdict, why would an insurance company pay you what your claim is really worth? Lawsuits can be expensive, and many people do not have the money to pursue their claim. In every case, I advance all costs associated with pursuing your case and I do not ask you for a penny until we recover from the other side.

I am an experienced aggressive trial lawyer and a 3rd degree Black Belt. I am not afraid to take your case to trial if that is what it takes to maximize the amount of money your recover for your personal injury. I offer one-on-one service, and I will not hand your case off to an inexperienced lawyer or a paralegal.

Reduce the stress of making a claim.

Personal injury accidents can turn your life upside down. Making a personal injury claim can be difficult and time consuming. Once I take your case, you can stop worrying about dealing with the insurance companies and focus on recovering from your injuries. I take care of all of the paperwork, phone calls, and negotiations, so you can get on with your life.

p.s. For those clients who are afraid or reluctant to go to Court, KENNETH VERCAMMEN also offers a special -- For Settlement Only -- program. This means that if we are unable to settle with the insurance company, we will not go any further -- unless you want us to. You have my personal assurance that there will be absolutely no pressure and no obligation.

We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.

This means:
YOU DONT OWE ME A LEGAL FEE UNLESS I RECOVER MONEY FOR YOU.

Call our office to schedule a "confidential" appointment 732-572-0500

Kenneth A. Vercammen is the Managing Attorney at Kenneth Vercammen & Associates in Edison, NJ. He is a New Jersey trial attorney has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has appeared in Courts throughout New Jersey each week on personal injury matters, Criminal /Municipal Court trials, and contested Probate hearings.

Mr. Vercammen has published over 125 legal articles in national and New Jersey publications on criminal, elder law, probate and litigation topics. He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation issues for the American Bar Association, NJ ICLE, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published in noted publications included New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer. He is the Editor in Chief of the American Bar Association Tort and Insurance Committee Newsletter.

Admitted In NJ, US Supreme Court and Federal District Court.

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