With a financial crisis and ever increasing deficit, the Estate tax is likely here to stay. Forbes.com recently published a few articles on the importance of estate planning – even if your assets fall well below the federal estate tax exemption (currently $3.5 million) (10 Estate Planning Moves to Make Now, Dems Dedicated to Death Tax and Why I Need a Will). The articles mention New Jersey as one of the 16 states with a separate estate tax and one of only 2 states with both an estate and inheritance tax.
Proper estate planning (for both non-tax and tax reasons) is especially important for those with children with special needs. Without a properly structured Will, New Jersey intestacy laws are unlikely to protect your child with special needs and could result in a loss of benefits for that child. In addition, properly structured Wills that take advantage of the New Jersey and federal estate tax exemptions will help you save New Jersey and federal estate taxes, thus allowing more assets to pass to a special needs trust as well as to your other children.