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New Jersey residents encouraged to protect inheritance

When leaving an inheritance for a New Jersey loved one, it is important to make sure every detail has been handled. One recent story involving two brothers and a step-mother has proven to be a good example of why it's important to protect an inheritance. The brothers' father had remarried and when he unexpectedly passed away a short time after, it was determined his wife had not signed the appropriate documents needed to make the sons the beneficiaries of their father's 401(k).

Although it was in the father's wish for his sons to receive the money, the legal documentation wasn't left as such. While the father had a financial adviser, the adviser apparently failed to receive the appropriate signatures to protect his assets. The wife wasn't willing to just hand over the money, but also didn't want to spend a large amount of money or tie up the investment in a court hearing.

Another issue that complicated matters was the amount of time a person has to turn an inheritance into an individual retirement account. The brother's did not meet that timeline and therefore the money would be depleted by 60 percent for taxes and fees. While the three involved in this case were able to reach an agreement, it did come at a cost. The brothers did not receive the full amount they would have been entitled too had a minor detail been taken care of previously.

While it may be hard to think about not always being around for your family, it is important to protect an inheritance you want to leave behind. Every detail needs to be covered with clarity. Having a full understanding of the New Jersey law and knowing the best way to proceed is imperative in protecting your loved ones and making sure they are taken care of according to your wishes.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Salvaging Some of the Inheritance," Austin Kilham, April 2, 2013

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Law Offices of Nancy M. Rice
Representing clients in Ocean City and communities throughout New Jersey.


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