Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year from all of us here at Simeone & Bonfrisco!!

Get the new year started off right with a great estate plan!

In honor of the New Year we would like to offer you One FREE Simple Will.
Please call our office to set up an appointment and mention our New Year offer. (856) 663-3800

This offer is only valid until 2/1/2010

If you already have a simple will, please mention this offer to a close friend or family member.

For more information please visit our website:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Today's NJ Probate Answers

Do all estates pay Federal Estate Taxes?

No. The federal government has given every person in the United States an exemption for estate tax purposes. Presently, the exemption is $2,000,000 in 2006. That means if your estate at the time of your death is less than the exemption, there will be no federal estate taxes due. In deciding whether your estate is greater than or less than the exemption, the government includes everything you own, even the face value of your life insurance policies.

The exemption will increase to $3,500,000 in 2009. In 2010, the estate tax is repealed. However, in 2011, the estate tax comes back with an exemption of only $1,000,000 and a maximum tax rate of 55%.

Is there an Estate Tax Deduction for married people?

Yes. In addition to the phased-in personal exemption that everyone gets, the federal government has exempted all transfers of wealth between a husband and wife. This is called the Unlimited Marital Deduction and it means that regardless of the size of your estate there will be no federal estate taxes levied when the first spouse dies and leaves the estate to the surviving spouse. Keep in mind, however, that this is merely a postponement of tax. There will be a tax on the estate of the surviving spouse when it passes to the children or other beneficiaries. Since in all probability the estate will continue to appreciate in value, taxes may be paid at a higher rate.

WARNING: There is no unlimited marital deduction for surviving spouses who are not U.S. citizens. Without special planning, all non-citizen spouses are restricted to the tax-free transfer of the personal exemption amount from their deceased spouses.

For more information, please visit our website:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Common Probate Terms

Understand what your needs are with knowing the common probate terms, Some of these terms  may even answer your questions!

Revocable Living Trust- Prepare comprehen-sive, customized plans according to your needs.

Special Needs and Divorce Protection- Pro-tect loved ones and get informed advice on these important estate planning issues.

Asset Protection- Receive guidance on pro-tecting your legacy.

Retirement Planning- Ensure that your tax-deferred accounts are properly structured to give your family the greatest tax advantages possible.

Long-Term Health Care- Make sure you have properly outlined necessary health care instruc-tions.

Creditor Protection- Find out how you can pro-tect your estate and your heirs.

Structured Buy-Out Plans- The plan you cre-ate for your children to sell or distribute land and assets.

Trust Administration- Distributing your estate after the first and second spouses pass away according to the way your Trust dictates.

Advanced Planning- Get assistance with mat-ters such as Family Limited Partnerships, Ir-revocable Life Insurance Trusts, Charitable Remainder Trusts and Business Succession Planning.

Probate Assistance- Get the assistance you need when someone with or without a Will passes away.

Updating Documents- Ensure that your affairs are in order with regular estate reviews. Amend or restate your existing estate plan to ensure its effectiveness.

Tax Planning- Preserve your wealth and reduce taxes with proper planning.

For more information regarding probate, please visit our website:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Today's Probate Answers

Does a Living Trust avoid a Death Probate?

Yes. All assets transferred to a living trust completely avoid the probate process, both during your life and at your death. Living trusts are not new. They’ve been successfully used in one form or another since the Middle Ages. Both then and now, the living trust has required that the owner of assets transfer title from his or her name to the name of trust. This really means changing the title to your property. For real property, it means you will sign a new deed. For other assets, you sign special transfer documents changing ownership to the name of your trust. Once the process is complete, all your assets will be owned by the trust. Almost nothing will be owned by you personally. Your living trust has title to the assets, but don’t worry, you, or you and your spouse if you’re married, have complete control of the trust while you’re alive. You can amend the trust or even revoke it whenever you like. But when you die, there are no assets in your name so there’s no need to go through probate. The trust already has your written instructions directing your hand picked agent, the successor trustee, about how you want your estate distributed.

With a living trust, there’s no need for “help” from the probate court or probate lawyers. Your trust will completely eliminate these unnecessary costs. Moreover, your estate can be distributed instantly at your death. There are no judges to consult or bureaucrats to please. Your trustee merely follows your instructions in distributing your estate according to your wishes.

For more information, please visit our website:


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Congratulations to Estate Planning Attorney Michael D. Bonfrisco!

Congratulations to Attorney Michael D. Bonfrisco for receiving the award of AWESOME ATTORNEY by South Jersey Magazine!

In the November issue of South Jersey Magazine, attorney's are given special recognition for there astounding accomplishments. The local attorneys listed are the top vote-getters in Awesome Attorneys in South Jersey! To see the article, click here.
For more information on our firm or Probate visit our website, www.NJTrustLawyer.com

Monday, December 7, 2009

Today's Probate Answers

Does Joint Tenancy avoid a Death Probate?

Well, the answer is yes and no. In the case of a husband and wife who own their assets in joint tenancy, there’s no death probate when the first spouse dies because title passes automatically to the surviving joint tenant. However, when the surviving spouse dies, there will be a complete probate on the entire estate.

The fact that joint tenancy ownership avoids death probate at the first spouse’s death is a small reward for the many other disadvantages of joint tenancy ownership. It can lead to huge unexpected liability when parents and children own assets together. In community property states it creates capital gains tax problems. It can create unintended beneficiaries and often causes gift and death tax problems. For these reasons, estate planning experts agree that joint tenancy may be the poorest estate planning tool.

Does a Will avoid a Death Probate?

No. In fact, a will guarantees probate. The word probate actually comes from the Latin and it means “to prove the will.” All property that is controlled by your will must go through the probate court. Once your estate enters the probate process, it’s trapped in the system until the judge releases it.

For more information, please visit our website: