Recently I’ve begun to serve as a resource to Karin Price Mueller, who writes the New Jersey state-wide column, Ask the Biz Brain. When appropriate, Karin reaches out to me to help answer estate planning, gift tax, elder law, and estate administration questions. These are fun to answer and recently two were published in the paper and online.
The first one discussed how to update your Will without an attorney. (I know, I nearly spit out my coffee…who would want to do that?)
Medina said one of the most important parts of creating a codicil is the way it is signed, or executed.
“A well-drafted will or codicil contains ‘self-proving’ language that makes it so your executor can present the will and have it accepted without having to find and get statements from the witnesses back when you signed it,” he said. “A self-proving will — or codicil — includes language stating that the testator, who is the person making the will, has signed the document willingly, and it is also properly witnessed and notarized.”
Medina said you have “an absolute right” to the original will being kept with the lawyer who drafted it, and he suggested you ask for the original will back because whoever is dealing with your estate will need to present originals of both the will and the codicil for the will to be effective. So, he said, you’ll need to keep both documents together in a safe place.
The second one asked how to make proper gifts to minor children if you wanted to help them save for retirement.
In 2013, the IRS allows you to give up to $14,000 per person without having to report that gift at all, and married couples can combine their gifts, which allows you to give up to $28,000 per recipient, said Victor Medina, an estate planning attorney with Medina Law Group in Pennington.
“If you gift more than the annual exclusion amount, you’ll have to file a gift tax return — which isn’t the same thing as owing gift tax,” he said. “You don’t start to owe gift tax until you give more than your lifetime exemption, currently $5.25 million — which would be quite a trust fund.”
Enjoy – I hope to stay on the roster and help out by sharing what I know.
Posted by Victor J. Medina, Medina Law Group, LLC