Kenneth Vercammen Law Office. (732)572-0500. Edison, NJ. Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and NJ publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. He is Co-Chair of the ABA Estate Planning & Probate Committee,GP and was a speaker at the ABA Annual Meeting attended by 10,000 attorneys and professionals.

To schedule a confidential consultation, call

New clients email us evenings and weekends go to www.njlaws.com/ContactKenV.htm

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.

2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817

(732) 572-0500


Monday, August 22, 2016

CLARIFICATION OF FILING PROCESS FOR WAGE EXECUTIONS AND GARNISHMENTS AFTER A JUDGMENT IS DOCKETED WITH THE SUPERIOR COURT CLERK'S OFFICE AS A STATEWIDE JUDGMENT LIEN

NOTICE TO THE BAR (Revised)
CLARIFICATION OF FILING PROCESS FOR WAGE EXECUTIONS AND GARNISHMENTS AFTER A JUDGMENT IS DOCKETED WITH THE SUPERIOR COURT CLERK'S OFFICE AS A STATEWIDE JUDGMENT LIEN
This Notice provides additional clarification regarding the filing of wage garnishments. This notice replaces and supersedes all prior notices clarifying the wage garnishment process and fee collection (including the notice dated May 2, 2016).
Nomenclature and Docketing Judgments as Statewide Liens
In order to clarify the nomenclature utilized by the courts, this notice further clarifies the meaning of certain designations commonly used when referencing judgments. A vicinage judgment (VJ) exists where a judgment was issued in the Superior Court and no other action has been taken to create a lien on real property in New Jersey. These judgments may be issued from the Chancery Division (Family and General Equity Parts) and the Law Division (Criminal and Civil Parts).
Where a party seeks to have a judgment levied as a lien against real property, a request must be made to the Superior Court Clerk's Office to docket that judgment in the lien index. Where a matter originated from the Special Civil Part, more commonly referred to as "DC", the Clerk's Office in docketing the judgment will issue a docket judgment ("DJ") number. Where a matter originated from the Chancery Division (Family and General Equity Parts) or the Law Division (Criminal and Civil Parts), the Clerk' s Office in docketing the judgment will issue a judgment ("J") number. Each typ~ of number- docket judgment ("DJ") number or judgment ("J") number- represents a statewide judgment lien against real property.
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In addition to Superior Court judgments, there are other types ofjudgments that may be docketed as statewide judgment liens - foreign judgments, state agency certificates of debt/judgments, and Motor Vehicle Commission judgments.
Wage Garnishment Applications/Motions on Docketed Judgments
Wage garnishments must be by application/motion to the court. Applications/
motions for wage execution orders on existing New Jersey Superior Court docketed judgments
(including judgments that were subsequently docketed in the Civil Judgment & Order Docket '
(CJOD) as a statewide judgment lien) must be filed in the county where the original judgment wasissued. ASuperiorCourtjudgewillactontheapplication/motionbasedonthedocuments submitted and, if determined appropriate, will issue an order that permits the wage execution. The filing party is required to remit a separate fee for filing the application/motion (if applicable) and for issuance ofthe wage execution (writ).
Where a judgment has been docketed as a statewide judgment lien, the filing party must follow a two-step process for the issuance of a wage garnishment.
Step 1:
Where a judgment has been docketed as a "DJ" or "J", the filing party must file an application/motion for wage garnishment (writ) in the county where the judgment was issued or where venue is designated by court rule or statute. That request must include the following:
(1) Application/motion for Wage Garnishment (including certification in support)~ (2) Proposedformoforder~and
(3)
Filing fee pursuant to Rule 1:43, if required.
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The party must remit payment for the application/motion, if a fee is required. There is no fee payable for a wage garnishment at the time the motion is filed, so long as the filing party indicates the statewide lien index number (designated by a "J" or "DJ" prefix) on the initial request. Failure to include the lien index number will result in the application/motion being processed against the vicinage judgment rather than against the statewide docketed judgment.
Step 2:
Once the Superior Court judge issues an order permitting the wage garnishment, the filing party must file the following with the Superior Court Clerk's Office:
(1) Wage execution order signed by a Superior Court judge;
(2) Proposed form
of writ; and
(3) Filing fee in the amount of $50 payable to the "Treasurer, State of New Jersey."
These documents submitted to the Superior Court Clerk's office must contain the statewide lien index number. Failure to include the lien index number on the documents will result in a letter to the filing party requesting correction ofthe documents before the wage execution can be issued. Upon receipt of conforming documents and the required filing fee for the wage execution, the Superior Court Clerk's Office will endorse the writ in the name of the Clerk and return it to the filer for service in accordance with Rule 4:59-1.
Process for Seeking Wage Garnishment Against Other Types of Statewide Liens As noted above, in addition to Superior Court judgments, there are other types of
judgments that may be docketed as statewide judgment liens - foreign judgments, state agency
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certificatesofdebt/judgments,andMotorVehicleCommissionjudgments. Theprocessesfor filing for wage garnishment against these various types ofjudgments as statewide liens are as follows:
1.
2.
3.
Applications/motions for wage garnishments for matters involving the enforcement of foreign judgments must be filed in the county in which the judgment debtor resides, or, if the judgment debtor is a non-New Jersey resident, the county in which the property is located. Ifneither condition is met, the matter must be filed in Mercer County; Applications/motions for wage garnishments for matters involving the enforcement of
State agency certificates ofdebt/judgments may be filed either in the county where the judgment debtor resides or in Mercer County ; and
Applications/motions for wage garnishments for matters involving the enforcement of Motor Vehicle Commissionjudgments must be filed in the county where the judgment
debtor resides.
Wage Garnishment Applications/Motions on Judgments That Have Not Been Docketed
Where a judgment has not been docketed as a statewide judgment lien, the filing party seeking a wage garnishment must file an application/motion in accordance with Rule 4:59-1 (Civil Part actions) and 6:7-3 (Special Civil Part actions) and submit the following:
(1) Motion or Application for Wage Garnishment (including certification in support); (2) Proof of Service on the Debtor (Civil Part actions);
(3)
Proposed form o f Order; and
(4) Proposed form of Writ of Execution;
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For Law Division, Civil Part matters, the filing party at the time the application/motion is filed must remit separate payments for the motion and for the writ, each payable to the Treasurer, State ofNew Jersey. Both fees are non-refundable, even where the application is denied. For Special Civil Part matters, Directive #07-14 instead provides that the fee for issuance of a wage garnishment is "to be collected at the time of the receipt for wage garnishment instead of upon issuance of the wage execution." In those Special Civil Part matters there is no separate fee for the application.
If the application/motion for wage garnishments does not contain a docketed judgment lien index number (even if there is a docketed judgment), it will be processed as a vicinage judgment (rather than as a statewide docketed judgment). In such situations the writ of execution will only be levied against the vicinage judgment.
Where there was a statewide docketed judgment lien index number that the filing party failed to include and the filing party wants the already issued wage execution (writ) to be levied not just against the vicinage judgment but against the statewide docketed judgment, the filing party must file a new application/motion in the county where the judgment was issued, referencing the previously omitted docketed judgment lien index number and following the process set forth below. Note that once a filing fee has been remitted, there are no refunds for incorrectly filed documents or denied applications.
For questions about this notice, please contact Michelle M. Smith, Clerk ofthe Superior Court, by email at michelle.smith@njcourts.gov or by telephone at (609) 421-6100.
Dated: May 6, 2016

Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.
Acting Administrative Director of the Courts
source: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/notices/2016/n160510d.pdf

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

ABA’s “Smart Marketing for Smart Firm Lawyers” a book from the American Bar Association.

 ABA’s “Smart Marketing for Smart Firm Lawyers”  a book from the American Bar Association. My staff implemented many of the ideas to improve our law office. 
Smart Marketing and the Small Firm Lawyer                                               
List Price: $59.95                                                                                          Author(s): Kenneth A Vercammen Sponsor(s): Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division Publisher(s): ABA Book Publishing  ISBN: 978-1-62722-484-0 Product Code: 5150468 2014, 156 Pages, 7 x 10
     Marketing is essential to the growth of any enterprise. There are many low-cost and no-cost opportunities that exist. This video explores today’s marketing landscape and outlines its many facets for you in concise and easy to understand terms.

   Any business owner will tell you that marketing is vital to the success and growth of a venture, and a law practice is no exception! This book thoroughly explores today’s marketing landscape and outlines its many facets for you in concise and easy to understand terms. This ABA book “Smart Marketing for Smart Firm Lawyers” covers:
*Creating a blog for free
*How to leverage a wide array of social networking sites (like Facebook, Martindale Hubble, Yelp, etc.)
*Best practices for marketing within the law office
*Low-cost and no-cost marketing activities
*Tips to increase your efficiency and reach
*And more!
Included with this book is a helpful CD-ROM with digital copies of all the exhibits used in the book and the various websites that are referenced. Learn how to make the most the marketing opportunities that exist with Smart Marketing for the Small Firm Lawyer.
      Praise for Smart Marketing for the Small Firm Lawyer: "Vercammen's new marketing book belongs in the tool box and library of every lawyer regardless of firm size. Ken not only tells the lawyer WHAT to do, he shows the lawyer HOW to do it."       Jay Foonberg      Author of How to Start and Build a Law Practice, 5th Ed
Smart Marketing for the Small Firm Lawyer Order details: http://shop.americanbar.org/eBus/Store/ProductDetails.aspx?productId=214498
Service Hotline800-285-2221
312-988-5000


About the author: Kenneth Vercammen is an Edison, Middlesex County, NJ trial attorney where he  handles Criminal, Municipal Court, Probate, Civil Litigation and Estate Administration matters. Ken is author of the American Bar Association's new book “Criminal Law Forms” and often lectures to trial lawyers of the American Bar Association, NJ State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association.  As the Past Chair of  the Municipal Court Section he has served on its board for 10 years. 
     Awarded the Municipal Court Attorney of the Year by both the NJSBA and Middlesex County Bar Association, he also received the NJSBA- YLD Service to the Bar Award and the General Practitioner Attorney of the Year, now Solo Attorney of the Year.
        Ken Vercammen is a highly regarded lecturer on both Municipal Court/ DWI and Estate/ Probate Law issues for the NJICLE- New Jersey State Bar Association, American Bar Association, and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published by NJ Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, YLD Dictum, GP Gazette and New Jersey Lawyer magazine.  He was a speaker at the 2013 ABA Annual meeting program “Handling the Criminal Misdemeanor and Traffic Case” and serves as is the Editor in Chief of the NJ Municipal Court Law Review.
         For nine years he served as the Cranbury Township Prosecutor and also was a Special Acting Prosecutor in nine different towns. Ken has successfully handled over one thousand Municipal Court and Superior Court matters in the past 27 years.
His private practice has devoted a substantial portion of professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. Appearing in Courts throughout New Jersey several times each week on Criminal and Municipal Court trials, civil and contested Probate hearings.  Ken also serves as the Editor of the popular legal website www.njlaws.com and related blogs. In Law School he was a member of the Law Review, winner of the ATLA trial competition and top ten in class.
       Throughout his career he has served the NJSBA in many leadership and volunteer positions. Ken has testified for the NJSBA before the Senate Judiciary Committee to support changes in the DWI law to permit restricted use driver license and interlock legislation. Ken also testified before the Assembly Judiciary Committee in favor of the first-time criminal offender “Conditional Dismissal” legislation which permits dismissal of some criminal charges. He is the voice of the Solo and Small firm attorneys who juggle active court practice with bar and community activities. Recently, the ABA Solo Division has selected Ken to write its new book on “Marketing for the New and Small Firm Attorney”. In his private life he has been a member of the NJ State champion Raritan Valley Road Runners master’s team and is a 4th degree black belt.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Trusts and Wills

Trusts and Wills


Probate is defined as the procedure by which an Executor proceeds to admit a Will to the jurisdiction of the Surrogate Court, which is proved to be valid or invalid. The term generally includes all matters relating to the administration of estates.
There are instances where Surrogate Court monitoring of the estate is desirable. Much has been written about the disadvantages of probate.
Following are just a few of the problems associated with probate.
Lack Of Privacy
Documents filed with the Surrogate Court are public information. They are available for inspection to anyone who asks. In large estates which require an accounting, your probate file will contain a complete list of all assets devised by your Will including business assets. This lack of privacy may lead to problems among family members who now know the plan of distribution and may then contest any provisions with which they disagree. Disinherited relatives and creditors are notified and given time by the Court to contest the Will distribution.
Time Consuming
The probate of an estate may take several months to several years to complete. During that time family members may have to apply to the Surrogate Court for an allowance.
Fragmentation - Real Estate
If you own real property in more than one state, probate rules must be followed in each state in which real property is located. The cost and time may be increased. REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST
A Revocable Living Trust is a legal device that allows you to maintain complete control over your assets and AVOIDS PROBATE. Because there is no probate of a Living Trust, your private financial matters remain private, there are no probate costs, no long delays and loss of control, and no fragmentation of the estate.
You Maintain Complete Control Over Your Property In Trust
The principle behind a Revocable Living Trust is simple. When you establish a Living Trust, you transfer all your property into the Trust, and then name yourself as trustee, or you can name you and your spouse as co-trustees of the Trust.
The trustees maintain complete control over the property, the same control you had before your property was placed in trust You can buy, sell, borrow, pledge, or collateralize the trust property. You can even discontinue the Trust if you choose. That is why it is called a Revocable Living Trust. We will explain the Irrevocable Trust at the end of the article.
Transferring Property Into The Trust
The transfer of title to property into the Trust is a relatively simple matter. Anywhere you have assets, you will get help in transferring your property into the Trust. Your attorney, securities investor, etc., will provide you with assistance needed to transfer your property into your Revocable Living Trust. Your attorney will provide all the information and assistance you need to properly fund your Trust.
Complete Privacy
Probate records are public, your Revocable Trust documents are private. A Revocable Living Trust will safeguard the privacy of your family and your private financial matters.
Naming A Trustee
Most people name themselves and their spouse as the initial Trustees of their Trust. This is usually true unless one spouse is incapacitated to the point that he or she is not able to manage your assets in the same way you do now.
Gifts To Religious And Charitable Organizations
Many people wish to give a portion or sometimes all of their assets to a religious or charitable organization in order to carry on the work of those organizations that have given them comfort or peace of mind during their lifetimes. This is easily accomplished with a Revocable Living Trust.
Trusts to avoid probate and sometimes reduce NJ Estate Tax

        Compiled by Kenneth Vercammen

        Probate is defined as the procedure by which an Executor proceeds to admit a Will to the jurisdiction of the Surrogate Court, which is proved to be valid or invalid. The term generally includes all matters relating to the administration of estates.  There are instances where Surrogate Court monitoring of the estate is desirable.  Much has been written about the disadvantages of probate.  Following are just a few of the problems associated with probate and why certain people set up Trusts in addition to Wills.

Lack Of Privacy
        Documents filed with the Surrogate Court are public information.  They are available for inspection to anyone who asks. In large estates, which require an accounting, your probate file will contain a complete list of all assets devised by your Will including business assets.  This lack of privacy may lead to problems among family members who now know the plan of distribution and may then contest any provisions with which they disagree.  Disinherited relatives and creditors are notified and given time by the Court to contest the Will distribution.  

Time Consuming
        The probate of an estate may take several months to several years to complete.  During that time family members may have to apply to the Surrogate Court for an allowance.

Fragmentation - Real Estate
        If you own real property in more than one state, probate rules must be  followed in each state in which real property is located. The  cost and time may be increased.

        Revocable Living Trust & Irrevocable Trusts
        
        A Revocable Living Trust is a legal device that allows you to maintain complete control over your assets and avoids Probate.  However, a Revocable Trust does not reduce Estate Tax and does not protect your assets from nursing home fees.
        Because there is no probate of a Revocable Living Trust, your private financial matters remain private, there are no probate costs, no long delays and loss of control, and no fragmentation of the estate. However, since you still control the trust, it cannot shield assets from Nursing Home, Medicaid or Estate Taxes. To do that, you will need to hire an attorney to prepare an Irrevocable Trust. Fees are minimum $3,000- $5,000 for trusts.

        A Revocable Living Trust can easily be structured to automatically create separate Trusts upon the death of either your spouse.  Here's how it works.  If the wife dies first, the husband has total control of his Trust. Also, for the remainder of his life, he receives all income from her Trust and has the use of the assets whenever needed for living expenses.  When he dies, each Trust will claim its tax exemption, and some will go tax-free to their children, or any other beneficiary they designate, without having to go through probate. 

Irrevocable Trust:
        A Trust, which cannot be changed or canceled once, it is set up without the consent of the beneficiary. contributions cannot be taken out of the trust by the grantor. Irrevocable trusts offer tax advantages that revocable trusts don't, for example by enabling a person to give money and assets away even before he/she dies. Opposite of revocable trust.

You Maintain Complete Control Over Your Property In a Revocable Living Trust 
        The principle behind a Revocable Living Trust is simple.  When you establish a Living Trust, you transfer all your property into the Trust, and then name yourself as trustee, or you can name you and your spouse as co-trustees of the Trust.  The trustees maintain complete control over the property, the same control you had before your property was placed in trust  You can buy, sell, borrow, pledge, or collateralize the trust property.  You can even discontinue the Trust if you choose.  That is why it is called a Revocable Living Trust. We  will explain the Irrevocable Trust at the end of the  article.

Transferring Property Into the Trust
        The transfer of title to property into the Trust is a relatively simple matter when you hire an attorney. Anywhere you have assets, you will get help in transferring your property into the Trust.  Your attorney, securities investor, etc., will provide you with assistance needed to transfer your property into your Revocable Living Trust.  Your attorney will provide the information and assistance you need to properly fund your Trust.

Complete Privacy  
        Probate records are public, your Trust documents are private.  A Trust will safeguard the privacy of your family and your private financial matters.

Naming A Trustee
        Most people name themselves and their spouse as the initial Trustees of a Revocable Trust. This is usually true unless one spouse is incapacitated to the point that he or she is not able to manage your assets in the same way you do now. However, for an Irrevocable or Medicaid trust, the spouse cannot be the trustee.

Gifts To Religious And Charitable Organizations
        Many people wish to give a portion or sometimes all of their assets to a religious or charitable organization in order to carry on the work of those organizations that have given them comfort or peace of mind during their lifetimes.  This is easily accomplished with a Revocable Living Trust.

NJ Estate Tax
                A New Jersey estate tax return must be filed if the decedent's gross estate plus adjusted taxable gifts exceeds $675,000. It must be filed within nine months of the decedent's death (nine months plus 30 days if the Form 706 method is used).
        Current Federal tax laws allow you to leave an unlimited amount to a spouse, tax-free. When your spouse dies, the estate is entitled to a $5,250,000 tax exemption. The first $5,250,000 goes to your beneficiaries free of estate tax. However, the NJ Estate Tax starts at $675,000.

     The NJ Estate Tax is in addition to any NJ Inheritance Tax.

Who Must File
        A New Jersey estate tax return must be filed if the decedent’s Gross Estate exceeds $675,000. There is a substantial tax that must be paid after the 2nd spouse dies on amounts over $675,000.  You can hire an attorney to set up Trusts to try to reduce taxes due. A separate stand alone Trust has a minimum fee for $2,000. We charge a minimum fee of $600 for each Trust within a Will.

               Even if your net worth is well below the Federal threshold where the federal estate tax becomes an issue, the New Jersey Estate Tax may still be a problem. The New Jersey Estate Tax affects any person or married couple with net worth over $675,000. There is no exemption for assets you leave to your children; those assets are fully taxed. There is also no exemption for the value of your home and life insurance, so it is easy to hit the $675,000 threshold very quickly.
        If you have assets such as bank accounts in joint names, or bank accounts payable upon death, these go directly to the beneficiary. Your Will cannot change who the beneficiary is on a joint account, payable upon death accounts, or other assets such as Life Insurance policies. You would have to directly contact the bank or company where the assets are held and either direct that they change the beneficiary or not list any beneficiary at all other than your Estate.  Therefore, if you have $1,200,000 in assets, you can change the ownership and beneficiary of assets so the husband owns $600,000 and the wife owns the other $600,000.

Examples of NJ Estate Tax due if no estate planning
Estate of  $800,000
Your Estimated Federal Estate Tax:  0.00

Your State Taxable Estate Value:  $740,000.00

Your Estimated State Estate Tax:  $22,799.60







If Estate Value:  $900,000.00





  Your Estimated Federal Estate Tax:  $0.00



Your State Taxable Estate Value:  $840,000.00


Your Estimated State Estate Tax:  $27,600.00





WHAT IS CREDIT SHELTER TRUST IN A WILL?
       The Credit Shelter Trust (sometimes referred to as a “Bypass Trust” or an “A/B Trust”) is a popular estate planning technique used by married couples with combined assets in excess of $675,000. The purpose of the Credit Shelter Trust is to avoid the wasting of federal and state exemptions on the death of the first spouse. Instead of leaving all assets to the surviving spouse and thereby exposing the surviving spouse’s estate to more tax, both spouse’s Wills are drafted to establish a Credit Shelter Trust to come into existence and be funded on the first spouse’s death.
           In a typical Credit Shelter Trust, the surviving spouse is entitled to receive all of the income from the Trust for his or her lifetime, and has the right to demand principal distributions for his or her health, education, support and maintenance in his or her accustomed manner of living. Distributions in excess of that standard require the cooperation of a Co-Trustee – often an adult child of the surviving spouse or a trust department of a bank.
         The amount, which funds a typical Credit Shelter Trust, varies according to a particular Client’s financial and family circumstances. For Federal Estate Tax purposes, a Credit Shelter Trust can be funded with the Decedent’s remaining federal estate tax exemption ($5.2 million as of 2014 if no prior gifts have been made). However, in New Jersey, since the state estate tax exemption is only $675,000, if the Credit Shelter Trust is funded with more than $675,000, this will cause some New Jersey Estate Tax to be paid. For example, if the $2 million is funded, the tax to the State of New Jersey is $99,600. Because of this, many Clients choose to fund the Credit Shelter Trust with only $675,000.  
      If the Credit Shelter Trust technique is implemented as part of a Client’s Estate Plan, you can hire the attorneys for a separate fee  to assist the Client in re-titling his or her assets so that assets are available to fund the Credit Shelter Trust. Re-titling is necessary because most Clients tend to hold assets jointly with right of survivorship and assets must be titled individually in a person’s name in order to be eligible to fund a Credit Shelter Trust. We work with a tax attorney to help our clients.

        Irrevocable Trust Accounts: Irrevocable trust accounts are deposits held by a trust established by statute or a written trust agreement in which the grantor (the creator of the trust - also referred to as a trustor or settlor) contributes deposits or other property and gives up all power to cancel or change the trust.
        An irrevocable trust also may come into existence upon the death of an owner of a revocable trust. The reason is that the owner no longer can revoke or change the terms of the trust. If a trust has multiple owners and one owner passes away, the trust agreement may call for the trust to split into an irrevocable trust and a revocable trust owned by the survivor. Because these two trusts are held under different ownership types, the insurance coverage may be very different, even if the beneficiaries have not changed.

WHAT IS MEDICAID..........
        Medicaid is a Federal medical bills assistance program that pays medical bills for eligible, needy persons. It is administered by each state. All payments are made directly to the providers of medical and other health care services. The Medicaid-eligible person does not pay the health care provider for services. The only exception is a patient in a Medicaid-approved nursing facility who may be required to contribute part of his/her income toward the cost of care.

        It is important to note Medicaid typically has a lien on assets you own.

        Someone can avoid Medicaid and nursing home liens by settling up an Irrevocable Trust and waiting 60 months to apply for Medicaid. 

Kenneth A. Vercammen is an Edison, Middlesex County, NJ trial attorney who has published 125 articles in national and New Jersey publications on business and litigation topics. He often lectures to trial lawyers of the American Bar Association, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association.