To schedule a confidential consultation, call (732) 572-0500
Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C. 2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Boy Scouts of America’s, Middlesex County Toast to Scouting Award. Tuesday, December 1

         Tuesday, December 1 at 6:30pm                                                                       Pines Manor 2085 State Route 27, Edison, New Jersey 08817              
Brendan J. Flynn, Sr.
Flynn and Son Funeral Home

Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.
Attorney at Law
Edison, NJ

Walter H. Deutsch II
Vice President
Unity Bank

Michael Blackwell
Executive Director
The First Tee Raritan Valley

Hon. H. James Polos
Middlesex County

Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Pines Manor
2085 Lincoln Highway
Edison, NJ 08817
6:30 pm Dinner and Program
Given on behalf of the
Boy Scouts of America, Patriots’ Path Council

The event will be very deserving, recognizing the efforts and support, over the years, to so many. The dinner will be held on Tuesday, December 1, at the Pines Manor, Edison, NJ.
    This awards dinner will raise funds to support the Scouting program in Middlesex County, with focus on STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering Math, and program support for Scouting.
This STEM initiative, offers over 80 STEM related merit badges, ranging from robotics, inventing, architecture, and many more. The BSA has partnered with institutions like MIT, Carnegie-Mellon and ExxonMobil, to provide our members with relevant skills and experiences in a constantly evolving global economy. The fund raised, will also assist with registration, insurance cost, programing needs, camp and individual scholarships, and a full-time Program Director for our AT-RISK Scouting program.
Individual Dinner Ticket $150

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wills & Power of Attorney Seminar South Brunswick Library November 10

Wills & Power of Attorney Seminar
South Brunswick Library

November 10 at 11:45

SPEAKER: Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. Edison, NJ
                (Author- Answers to Questions About Probate)

     The NJ Probate Law made a number of substantial changes in Probate and the administration of estates and trusts in New Jersey.
Main Topics:
1. The New Probate Law and preparation of Wills    
2. 2015 changes in Federal Estate and Gift Tax 
3. NJ Inheritance taxes on estates over $675,000
4. Power of Attorney               
5.  Living Will                                  
6.  Administering the Estate/ Probate/Surrogate    
7. Questions and Answer          

      COMPLIMENTARY MATERIAL: Brochures on Wills, "Answers to Questions about Probate" and Administration of an Estate, Power of Attorney, Living Wills, Real Estate Sales for Seniors, and Trusts.
       South Brunswick Library  732-329-4000  x 7637
110 Kingston Lane        
Monmouth Junction NJ 08852

Can’t attend?  We can email you materials Send email to

Free Will Seminars and Speakers Bureau for Groups
         10 years ago the AARP Network Attorneys of the Edison/Metuchen/Woodbridge area several years ago established a community Speakers Bureau to provide educational programs to AARP and senior clubs, Unions and Middlesex County companies. Now, volunteer attorneys of the Middlesex County Estate Planning Council have provided Legal Rights Seminars to hundreds of seniors, business owners and their employees, unions, clubs and non-profit groups. These quality daytime educational programs will educate and even entertain. Clubs and companies are invited to schedule a free seminar.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


By Kenneth A. Vercammen, Esq

            As times change, often people buying houses are not the traditional husband and wife couple. Mortgage companies are now usually willing to grant mortgage to boyfriend-girlfriend relationships or gay couples. However, if there is a breakup of relationships, a divorce complaint cannot be filed to compel the sale or division of assets. Instead, a partition suit can be filed in the Superior Court-Chancery Division - General Equity.
         The partition suit originated from the English common law. Centuries ago, most property simply were farms. If co-owners could not voluntarily agree on a buy-out, or sole ownership, the Chancellor (an English Judge) could simply order the property/farms divided, or partitioned down the middle. In modern days, houses, condos and most land cannot be divided down the middle. Therefore, in a partition suit, the Superior Court Judge is usually asked to order the house sold and net proceeds divided.
         A partition suit is usually started by having your attorney file a verified complaint for partition, signed by both you and the attorney. In addition, an Order to Show Cause is filed. This is a proposed order to be signed by the judge, compelling the defendant / the property owner to appear with their attorney and answer why the court should not award the relief requested with the original complaint. The defendant is also provided with time to file an answer plus counter-claim.
         When there are issues other than an equal division of real property, the property owner, through their attorney, may conduct discovery. The three main methods of discovery under the New Jersey court rules are:
         1) Interrogatories
         2) Request for documents and
         3) Deposition-which is live questioning under oath in front of a court reporter.
         In partition suits, financial records may have to be produced to the court indicating who paid for household improvements, mortgage payments, taxes, utilities, etc. It is important to keep accurate records. If you don't have records, you will have to recreate records. Partition suits are often similar to divorce cases in which the parties have deep emotional feelings. However, often the bottom line is money. How much will be left after mortgage, taxes and any lien are satisfied is really the main issue.

Partition actions in New Jersey are governed by NJSA 2A:56-1:
2A:56-1. "Cotenant" ; executor or administrator with will annexed; definition and construction
 As used in this chapter:

 "Court" means the superior court.

 "Cotenant" means and includes a tenant in common, joint tenant or coparcener, but not a tenant by the entirety.

 An executor or administrator with the will annexed, having, by the terms of the testator's will, power to sell any real estate or any undivided interest in any real estate of which his testator died seized, shall have the same power to bring an action to effect a partition of such real estate as such testator might have brought if living, and cotenant as used in this chapter shall include such an executor or administrator so far as may be requisite for such purposes.

2A:56-2. Partition through sale
 The superior court may, in an action for the partition of real estate, direct the sale thereof if it appears that a partition thereof cannot be made without great prejudice to the owners, or persons interested therein.

2A:56-3. Division of part of real estate and sale of residue
 In any action for partition in the superior court, part of the real estate included in the application may be divided and the remainder sold when it appears by the report of the commissioner or commissioners, which shall designate the lands to be divided and those to be sold, and by other satisfactory evidence that the whole of the real estate cannot be divided among the owners and proprietors without great prejudice to their interest.

         Court Rule 4:63-1.  permits courts to order the Sale of a property.
Rule  4:63-1- Partition; Dower; Curtesy
         If in an action for partition or for the admeasurement of dower or curtesy, the court shall be satisfied that a division of the real estate can be made without great prejudice to the owners thereof, it may appoint one or more persons as commissioners to ascertain and report in writing the metes and bounds of each share; if not so satisfied, it may direct a sale or, in its discretion, if the action is one for dower or curtesy, an assignment from the rents and profits.

         Zudiak v Szuryk  93 NJ Eq. 559, 561 (Chan 1922) established the power of the Court to order the sale of land if actual partition cannot be made.

         Many counties in New Jersey have set up mediation panels to attempt to help parties resolve issues and avoid trials. The mediators are licensed attorneys volunteering their time to help the superior court. Most cases settle without an expensive lengthy trial. Hopefully, parties can put their emotional feelings aside, cut their court costs and settle without a trial.

Trusts v Wills

Trusts v Wills

         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 in other states.  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.   

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. 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 exceed $3,000.

         Some persons set up trusts for children under age 21 for the following reasons:
-Child has disabilities and cannot own property themselves or otherwise lose government assistance. You would have to hire an attorney for a Special Needs Trust
-Substance abuse problems
- credit problems
-bad marriage
-Wastes money

         Example of language in the Will:
         Any portion of my residuary estate, which becomes distributable to _____, shall be held as a separate trust by my Trustee. The Trustee shall apply such amounts of income and principal as they, in their sole discretion, deem proper for the health, maintenance, education, welfare, or support of such beneficiary and shall accumulate any unexpended income not needed for the above purpose, paying and transferring the portion held in trust to the beneficiary upon his or her attaining the age of ______ years.  Prior to his or her attaining the age of _____ years, my Trustee may apply such income or principal for the benefit of such beneficiary directly or by payment to the person with whom such beneficiary resides or who has the care or control of such beneficiary without the intervention of a guardian.  My Trustee shall not be obligated to supervise or inquire into the application of such amounts by such person, and the receipt of such person shall be a complete release of my Trustees.

         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 Revocable Living 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 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.

Marital Tax Deductions
         Federal estate taxes must be paid on any estate worth more than $3,500,000 in 2009 beginning at a tax rate of 37%.  Your estate includes not only the current value of your real estate, but also the face value of any life insurance policies, pension or retirement benefits, IRA accounts, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, etc.  When you add these all together, and subtract your debts, your might have imagined.

         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 $5,000,000 in 2009 tax exemption.  The first $5,000,000 in 2011 goes to your beneficiaries free of estate tax.

         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.

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.

         Avoid Medicaid and nursing home liens by settling up an Irrevocable Trust and waiting 60 months to apply for 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. Medicaid is handled in NJ by the County Board of Social Services, which is the Welfare Office.

         Medicaid typically has a lien on assets you own.

         A federal court has ruled that assets held in irrevocable trusts should not be factored into determinations of Medicaid benefit eligibility in a major victory seniors and others faced with difficult financial and healthcare issues.

Irrevocable trusts with limited power of appointment have long been a common estate-planning tool.

Kenneth A. Vercammen is an Edison, Middlesex County, NJ trial attorney who has published125 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. 
He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation issues for the American Bar Association, ICLE, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published by New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer.  He is the Editor in Chief of the New Jersey Municipal Court Law Review. Mr. Vercammen is a recipient of the NJSBA- YLD Service to the Bar Award.
               He has served as a Special Acting Prosecutor in nine different cities and towns in New Jersey and also successfully handled over One thousand Municipal Court and Superior Court matters in the past 18 years.
In his private practice, he has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters.  He has appeared in Courts throughout New Jersey several times each week on Criminal personal injury matters, Municipal Court trials, and contested Probate hearings.  He serves as the Editor of the popular legal website

2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
(Phone) 732-572-0500
(Fax)    732-572-0030