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Camden NJ Business & Commercial Law Blog

Navigating your way through the probate system in New Jersey

There aren't too many people in New Jersey, outside of attorneys and those in the finance industry, who are likely to have a great deal of familiarity with the probate system. However, this is one area of the law that almost everyone will probably encounter at some point in life. When loved ones die, leaving behind a will that delineates the distribution of their assets and establishes other terms in regards to their property, most cases will go through the probate court system.

However, New Jersey residents don't need to be intimidated by this court process. Yes, there can be some confusing terms or requirements, but, with the right approach, most people will be able to get through the probate process relatively painlessly.

Do you need to plan for estate taxes in New Jersey?

Many of our readers are probably familiar with terms like "death tax," which is an unfortunate reference to state and federal estate taxes. Under federal tax law, there are certain estates that will be subject to taxation if they exceed a designated dollar amount. However, there are also many states that institute their own estate taxes. So, do New Jersey residents need to plan for estate taxes?

The short answer is "yes," and this type of tax planning may be a bigger part of a comprehensive estate plan for New Jersey residents than it might be for residents of other states. Why? Well, it is because New Jersey has some of the imposing estate taxes of all the states in the country.

Adjusting your business planning around current events

In general, businesses in New Jersey like to be able to predict upcoming events that may have an impact on the company's profitability, if at all possible. When President Trump recently announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, it might have been foreseeable to some. In New Jersey, so-called "clean" energy companies, like those in the business of producing solar panels, are still planning on society marching forward toward renewable energy all the same.

A recent article noted that even though the United States will no longer be party to the climate treaty, businesses in the renewable energy sector are still seeing signs that their products will continue to be in demand. They believe that this area will be a great source of job creation going forward and that many people are becoming more aware of environmental concerns.

Unfair competition and New Jersey business law

Many small companies in New Jersey are primarily concerned with maintaining profitability. Large companies have this concern as well, but they may face even larger issues, such as international business disputes or other issues with foreign companies. However, no matter how large or small a company is, at times there may be issues of unfair competition that need to be addressed.

What is unfair competition? Well, in New Jersey, the law specifically defines some practices that would constitute unfair competition methods. These practices include the use of another company's trademarks or brand names, as well as doing business off of another company's reputation or goodwill.

Business purchases can be major transactions

When businesses in New Jersey begin to make plans to expand, they often consider the benefits and risks of purchasing another business. This type of acquisition can be fruitful for all parties involved, if undertaken carefully. The acquiring company will need to do its due diligence, making sure that the company that is targeted for acquisition has products, brand names and employees who will be of use.

But, beyond investigating the target company to ensure that no unforeseen problems could pop up, companies will also need to consider other legal matters, such as potential regulatory hurdles or tax concerns. There is no doubt about it: business purchases can be fraught with potential problems.

What steps should you take in the dissolution of a business?

New Jersey residents start businesses to make a profit. However, not all businesses stay open for decades at a time. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to close a business down, also known as "dissolving" or "winding up" the business. This isn't always a bad thing, as in some cases it means that the inventory of the business has been sold and the business owner is all set to retire. Or, maybe it is because the assets and employees of the company will merge with another company in a business purchase.

But, what do business owners need to know about business dissolution? Well, as our readers can probably imagine, there are quite a few steps to consider in this process. And most of those steps have to do with finances.

Lawsuit in New Jersey involving prescription drug company settles

Businesses in New Jersey are bound to run into legal problems eventually. For some, the only option is to fight the case all the way to a jury trial. But, for others, it can be more economical to settle out of court. For one company with pending business litigation in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, the latter was the option that was chosen.

According to a recent report, Omnicare, a prescription drug company, settled a whistleblower claim for $8 million. The claim had originated from allegations that arose from two pharmacists in Pennsylvania, who stated that the company was engaging in a scheme to bill both Medicaid and Medicare falsely for prescription drugs. The report indicates that when the two pharmacists informed Omnicare of the alleged scheme, they were fired.

Leaving your business in good hands

As a New Jersey small business owner, you know how difficult it can be to keep everything afloat. From daily expenses to future planning, there are many things for you to manage, control and carry out. It is normal to become wrapped up in the present, but it is also crucial for the longevity of your business to plan for the future as well. 

If you have not yet made plans for business succession, now is the time. Whether it is through retirement or your death, something will happen to your business beyond the role you currently play, and you have the right to decide what that is.

The different power of attorney documents

When considering the options in an estate plan, such as different types of trusts, a will and other options to pass on assets, some New Jersey residents may not be focused on a particular document that could help them now: a power of attorney document. But, there are different types of power of attorney documents to consider.

First, the most common use of a power of attorney document is to appoint a designated person to handle certain affairs in the absence of capability on the part of the person who makes the designation. One important designation is a person to handle financial issues in the event of incapacity. This allows the designated individual to pay bills, manage investments and make sure taxes get paid.

Make the right choice when it comes to trust planning

Why do New Jersey residents make the choice to include a trust in their estate plan? Well, for starters, as previous posts here have mentioned, a trust can be a great way to make sure that your assets are passed on in the most efficient way. For some, the main goal is to avoid probate court. For others, it is to minimize tax exposure. Whatever the reason, in many cases trusts can be a great tool to include in an estate plan.

But, when it comes to trusts, it is important to make the right choice. If a mistake is made, say, with an irrevocable trust, you may not have an opportunity to correct that mistake. And, as our readers probably know, there can be quite a few options when it comes to trusts, not only in deciding between irrevocable or revocable trusts, but also in choosing between options like spendthrift trusts, testamentary trusts, constructive trusts or charitable trusts.

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