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Wills and Estate Planning for Opthalmic Dispensors

Wills and Estate Planning for Opthalmic Dispensors

 

By Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.

 

Where there’s No Will …

 

    If you do not write a Will, the State has already written one for you. Your assets go to whoever a state law says receives the assets, or to the government itself!  A Will should be a statement to the things you truly care about: your spouse, your children, your parents, your friends, your Church and charities.  You can consider remembering your church or school.

 

It is important to do secession planning. Also, if you have partners in your practice, a signed partnership agreement is valuable. Make sure you also have a Power of Attorney signed to plan for temporary disability. If practice is the primary support of family, how will practice continue to operate? How can practice be sold? It’s time for a call to action.

 

Dangers If You Have No Will:

 

If you leave no Will or your Will is declared invalid because it was improperly prepared or is not admissible to probate:

 

1. People you dislike or people who dislike and ignore you may get your assets.

2. State law determines who gets assets, not you

3. Additional expenses will be incurred and extra work will be required to qualify an administrator-Surety Bond, additional costs and legal fees

4. You Lose the opportunity to try to reduce Estate Tax, State inheritance taxes and Federal estate taxes

5. A Judge determines who gets custody of children. A greedy brother or crazy mother in law could ask the court for custody.

6. If you have no spouse or close relatives the State may take your property

7. The procedure to distribute assets becomes more complicated

8.  It probably will cause fights and lawsuits within your family

9. If no partnership agreement or procedure to transfer patient files your medical practice good will could be lost.

When loved ones are grieving and dealing with death, they shouldn’t be overwhelmed with Financial concerns. 

 

Think- Who don’t you want to receive your assets?  Without a Will, they could receive your assets and request custody of children.

 

Who is not the best choice to raise your children, or safeguard your childrens money for college?   Do you want children, or grandchildren, to get money when they turn 18?  Will they invest money wisely, or go to Seaside and play games?

 

Medical practice assets

 

It is important to prepare a Will whichs set forth distribution of a valuable property such as the good will of your medical practice, the phone number of a private  practice and medical equipment you own.

A Will must not only be prepared within the legal requirements of the state Statutes but should also be prepared so it leaves no questions regarding your intentions.

 

THE FOLLOWING IS A SAMPLE OF A VARIETY OF CLAUSES AND ITEMS WHICH  KENNETH VERCAMMEN’S LAW OFFICE OFTEN INCLUDES IN A WILL

 

1ST:  DEBTS AND TAXES

2ND: SPECIFIC BEQUESTS

3RD:  DISPOSITION TO SPOUSE

4TH: DISPOSITION OF REMAINDER OF ESTATE

5TH: CREATION OF TRUSTS FOR SPOUSE

6TH: CREATION OF TRUST FOR CHILDREN

7TH: OTHER BENEFICIARIES UNDER 21

8TH: EXECUTORS

9TH: TRUSTEES

10TH: GUARDIANS

11TH: SURETY OR BOND

12TH: POWERS

13TH: AFTERBORN CHILDREN

14TH: PRINCIPAL AND INCOME

15TH: NO ASSIGNMENT OF BEQUESTS

16TH: GENDER

17TH: CONSTRUCTION OF WILL

18TH:  NO CONTEST CLAUSE

 

WHY PERIODIC  REVIEW IS ESSENTIAL

Even if you have an existing Will, there are many events that occur which may necessitate changes in your Will.  Some of these are:

    

* Marriage, death, birth, divorce or separation affecting either you or  anyone named in your Will

 

* Significant changes in the value of your total assets or in any particular assets which you own

    

* A change in your domicile

    

* Death or incapacity of a beneficiary, or death, incapacity or change in residence of a named executor, trustee or guardian of infants, or of one of the witnesses to the execution of the Will

 

* Annual changes in tax law

 

* Changes in who you like

 

MAY I CHANGE MY CURRENT WILL?

Yes.  A Will may be modified, added to, or entirely changed at any time before your death provided you are mentally and physically competent and desire to change your Will.  You should consider revising your Will whenever there are changes in the size of your estate. For example, when your children are young, you may think it best to have a trust for them so they do not come into absolute ownership of  property until they are mature.  Beware, if you draw lines through items, erase or write over, or add notations to the original Will, it can be destroyed as a legal document.  Either a new Will should be legally prepared or a codicil signed to legally change  portions of the Will.

A portion of your Will and Estate Planning can be deducted on your income tax return when it deals with tax planning. Thus, part of the fee is tax deductible for income tax purposes.

Under the law in New Jersey, if a person dies without a Will and without children, their spouse will inherit all assets, even if they are separated from the spouse.  In addition, if you have children from a previous marriage, but no Will, your separated spouse will get half your estate.   Therefore, you may wish to do the following:

 

1)  Have an Elder Law attorney prepare a Will to distribute your assets to the people you care the most about. If you already have a Will, prepare a new Will and have the old Will revoked. ( Your estate planning attorney will explain this to you.)

2)  Prepare a Power of Attorney to select someone to handle your finances if you become disabled.  Have your old power of attorney revoked.

3)  Prepare a Living Will prepared

4)  Change your beneficiary on assets you may own, such as stocks, bank accounts, IRA, and other financial assets. Change your beneficiary under your own life insurance, whether whole life  insurance or term insurance.

5)  Contact your human resources person and change the beneficiary on life insurance, pension, stock options or other employee benefits. Note that your spouse must sign a written waiver permitting you to change beneficiaries.

6)   Keep your personal papers at a location where family can find them.

7)  Have your attorney prepare a prenuptial agreement if you decide to get re-married.

8)   Make sure the trustee for any funds designated for your children is the "right" trustee.

9)   In New Jersey, if you are married and  living with your spouse, under certain instances the surviving spouse has a right to "elect against the Will" The disinherited spouse may like to elect against the Will and try to obtain one third of the estate. Your attorney can explain how you can protect yourself and your children.            

10) If you have minor children, nominate someone under a Will to serve as guardian to the children. Although the surviving parent obviously has first right of custody of children, they may not even want custody.

 

SAVE MONEY- Have your attorney prepare a self- proving Will with a No bond clause

Your estate will be subject to probate whether or not you have a Will and in most cases, a Will reduces the cost by eliminating the requirements of a bond.  With a well-drawn Will, you may also reduce death taxes and other expenses.  Don’t pinch pennies now to the detriment of  your beneficiaries  

 

The proper preparation of a Will should involve a careful analysis of  the your assets, family and desires. 

Estate Planning is the process of examining what will happen to your property when you die and arranging for its distribution in such a manner as will accomplish your objectives.

The cost of a Will depends on the size and the complexity of the estate and the plans of the person who makes the Will. 

 

Be sure your Will takes into account the 2009 Federal Tax changes and any Inheritance Tax changes. Also, ascertain if your Will is “self-proving”, which would dispense with having to find the Will’s witnesses after death.

 

 

OTHER DOCUMENTS TO BE PREPARED BY YOUR ATTORNEY

-Power of Attorney- to allow a trusted person to  administer your assets during your lifetime, either upon disability or now

-Living Wills- to state your wishes concerning  medical care in the event of your serious illness

-Trusts (and Medicaid Trusts)

 

CONCLUSION

 

Planning can only be done if someone is competent and/or alive. Make sure your assets can be passed directly to your loved ones. Kenneth A. Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 125 articles in national and New Jersey publications on litigation topics.  He has been selected to lecture to trial lawyers by the American Bar Association, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. 

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

 

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

 


Kenneth Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year
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Kenneth 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 for litigation and contested Probate hearings.

Mr. Vercammen has published over 125 legal articles in national and New Jersey publications on 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 chair of the Elder Law Committee of the American Bar Association General Practice Division. He is also Editor of the ABA Estate Planning Probate Committee Newsletter and also the Criminal Law Committee newsletter. Mr. Vercammen is a recipient of the NJSBA- YLD Service to the Bar Award. And past Winner "General Practice Attorney of the Year" from the NJ State Bar Association. He is a 22 year active member of the American Bar Association. He is also a member of the ABA Real Property, Probate & Trust Section.

He established the NJlaws website which includes many articles on Elder Law. Mr. Vercammen received his B.S., cum laude, from the University of Scranton and his J.D. from Widener/Delaware Law School, where he was the Case Note Editor of the Delaware Law Forum, a member of the Law Review and the winner of the Delaware Trial Competition.

RECENT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS ON WILLS, ELDER LAW, AND PROBATE

Edison Adult School -Wills, Elder Law & Probate- 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 [inc Edison TV], 2001, 2000,1999,1998,1997
Nuts & Bolts of Elder Law - NJ Institute for Continuing Legal Education/ NJ State Bar ICLE/NJSBA 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1996
Elder Law and Estate Planning- American Bar Association Miami 2007
Elder Law Practice, New Ethical Ideas to Improve Your Practice by Giving Clients What They Want and Need American Bar Association Hawaii 2006
South Plainfield Seniors- New Probate Law 2005, East Brunswick Seniors- New Probate Law 2005
Old Bridge AARP 2002; Guardian Angeles/ Edison 2002; St. Cecilia/ Woodbridge Seniors 2002;
East Brunswick/ Halls Corner 2002;
Linden AARP 2002
Woodbridge Adult School -Wills and Estate Administration -2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996
Woodbridge Housing 2001; Metuchen Seniors & Metuchen TV 2001; Frigidare/ Local 401 Edison 2001; Chelsea/ East Brunswick 2001, Village Court/ Edison 2001; Old Bridge Rotary 2001; Sacred Heart/ South Amboy 2001; Livingston Manor/ New Brunswick 2001; Sunrise East Brunswick 2001; Strawberry Hill/ Woodbridge 2001;
Wills and Elder Law - Metuchen Adult School 1999,1997,1996,1995,1994,1993
Clara Barton Senior Citizens- Wills & Elder Law-Edison 2002, 1995
AARP Participating Attorney in Legal Plan for NJ AARP members 1999-2005

Contact the Law Office of
Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.
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