Wednesday, August 26, 2015

VA Aid and Attendance Benefit Facts and Figures

by Kelly Gannott, Esq.

If you are a veteran or surviving spouse of a veteran, you may have heard of the VA Aid and Attendance benefit. There is a lot of misinformation about VA benefits swirling around, so let's get the facts.

The VA Aid and Attendance benefit is the highest level of VA pension benefit. It can be paid to a veteran who qualifies or to a qualifying surviving spouse or dependent child of a veteran. Below is a chart of the maximum amount the VA will pay in each situation.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Employers: Gear Up for Changes in Treatment of Same-Sex Spouses After Supreme Court Ruling

by Adair M. Buckner, Esq.

The United States Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling Friday, June 26, 2015, in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. Read the Court's full opinion here.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the 14th Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex, and that the U.S. Constitution does not permit states to bar same-sex couples from marriage. This ruling, coupled with the U. S. Supreme Court ruling in 2013 in United States v. Windsor, that the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which denied recognition of marital status to couples of the same sex under federal law was unconstitutional, will mean broad changes in employment-related treatment of same-sex spouses.

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Monday, April 20, 2015

What You Need to Know About Divorce in Bankruptcy

by Tracy J. Wrisinger, Esq.

A husband and wife file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 13 in an attempt to reorganize their financial affairs and reduce the stress in their lives . . . only to discover the marriage is irretrievably broken. The Chapter 13 Plan for repayment has been confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court. Now what?

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon problem. Often the Chapter 13 Plan is based on the household income of both spouses, as well as on a single household of expenses. Moreover, unlike their divorce counsel, the bankruptcy attorney represents both spouses.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Three Critical Ethical Concerns in Elder Law Practice

by Nancy Black Norelli

Adult children are often faced with an uncomfortable role reversal when it comes to ensuring aging or elderly parents have the appropriate estate plans in place to protect their health and assets.

This emotional process can be complicated by the fact that special care must be taken when attempting to assist parents making estate planning decisions because serious ethical landmines exist that can trap the unwary.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

10 Things You Need to Know About the New Alimony Law in NJ

by Amanda S. Trigg, Esq.

In September 2014, New Jersey updated its laws about alimony. The new law became effective immediately so anyone who is, was, or will be divorced needs to understand the fundamental changes to the law.

This blog focuses upon the impact on spouses and civil union partners who have not yet dissolved the relationship which entitles one party to seek alimony. Other aspects of the statute address retirement, modifications of support and cohabitation.

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Helping Children Cope with Divorce: The Dos and Don'ts of Co-Parenting

by Joseph P. Testa, J.S.C. (ret.) and Thomas Roberto, Esq.

The process of divorce can be extraordinarily stressful, confusing, and upsetting for any individual. The damaging impact of divorce is often exacerbated when children are involved. For children, divorce can result in a wide array of feelings ranging from anger and resentment to fear and anxiety. For many parents it is difficult, if not impossible, to put their differences aside and work together as co-parents. Unfortunately, the extent to which a divorce has a detrimental impact on a child is dependent in large part upon the actions of the parents. There are, however, many things parents can do to assuage the effects of divorce on children. The paragraphs below briefly discuss some of the dos and don'ts of helping children cope with divorce.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

5 Steps to Take After Signing Estate Planning Documents

by Jack T. Carney, Jr.

The signing of estate planning documents (such as a Will, Power of Attorney, and Health Care Directive) is a significant accomplishment for most people. It is one of those important acts that many people put off until it's too late. Even though the documents are signed, there are still a few additional steps that should be taken.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Celebrities in the News: Wills and Estates Made Famous

by Jack T. Carney, Jr., Esq.

The topic of estate planning rarely makes national headlines. There are no television dramas based on the exploits of an estate planning firm (just so you know, CBS or ABC, we would be interested in talking about a Carney Dye reality show). However, when estate planning does make national news, it is usually in the fascinating and sad area of celebrity deaths. We can learn a lot of lessons from these high profile estate situations.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Not All Property Is Titled Equally

by Jack T. Carney, Jr., Esq.

An important factor in developing a successful estate plan is to have an understanding of how all property is "titled." The title to a property basically states who owns it, but it also conveys certain rights to each of the parties, especially in the event of death.

When two or more people own a piece of property it is usually titled as "tenants in common" or as "joint tenants with a right of survivorship." In both cases two people would each own an undivided one-half interest in the property. However, there is a difference in how the property would be treated in the event of death.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Planning for Incapacity: The Benefits of Advance Directives

by Lisa L. Coggins, Esq.

Planning now for potential incapacity later will go a long way in helping families handle the difficult situation of having a loved one who needs assistance.

Advance directives for health care purposes, such as living wills, medical powers of attorney, and/or advance health care directives, allow an individual (the declarant) to make and document various health care decisions and/or to give authority to another person to make such decisions on his or her behalf while he or she is mentally competent to do so. The benefits of such documents are many.

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