Can You Legally Prevent Your Ex-Spouse f...

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Estate Planning & Guardianship Attorney A client approached me and advised me that she is in the process of getting divorced. It’s nasty (divorce generally is). She plans to redo her estate planning. She wants to prevent her husband from gaining custody of her children should she pass away. But can she legally bypass the biological parent as the legal guardian of his children under her Last Will? The answer is (generally speaking) a resounding no! The father has parental rights in the event of...

A Parent Can Name Ex-Felon Son as Execut...

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Estate Planning & Elder Care Attorney My client is updating her estate planning. She’s 60 and divorced. At age 19 her son was convicted of a felony and spent a year in prison. Twenty years later he’s responsible, trustworthy, has a job and a family. She wants to name him personal representative under her will and power of attorney. However, friends tell her he can’t serve because of that conviction. He is her only beneficiary with no meaningful next of kin, so he wouldn’t be responsible for...

Texting Your Last Will…Will Your Will Be...

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Estate Planning Attorney I recently read an article in Your Money Matters about a case in Australia in which the person created his Last Will by a text on his smartphone. I thought the topic to be interesting and wanted to share it with you. While I am not familiar with a New Jersey case where the issue before the court had to do with a texted Will, I believe a Court would uphold the texted Last Will if certain formalities were followed except for the document being personally signed on a piece of...

Loan to Daughter can be Advance on Inher...

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Estate Planning Attorney A daughter wants a loan from her parent(s) so that she can go to school for a graduate degree. She suggests that the money be an advance on her inheritance. Presently her parents’ Last Will divides their estate into thirds (she has two sisters). The parent is willing to make the loan but wants to make it clear that if she pays mom back, she gets her full third, and if anything on the loan is outstanding when mom passes away, it’s deducted from her share. How can this...

A Trust is a Private Document until Deat...

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Trust Attorney Often times parents want to set up a living trust to provide for their adult children. The parents also want a child(ren) to be named as co-successor trustees but they do not want the kids to get control of their assets before they are gone. The parents also don’t want to share their private financial information with the kids before death. If the parents set up a trust now, do the kids have any rights to this information? The answer is no. While you’re alive and competent, your...

New Jersey Adopts Legal Access to Digita...

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Estate Planning Attorney What happens to your digital assets after you’re gone? What if you wanted to control who had access to those assets? New legislation passed on Wednesday allows for control of a decedent’s digital assets to be given to their fiduciaries. You can read more information on it in this article from the New Jersey Law Journal (CLICK HERE). Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday signed legislation recognizing a fiduciary heir’s right to obtain control of a decedent’s digital...