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Camden NJ Business & Commercial Law Blog

Intellectual property dispute centers around Halloween costume

Intellectual property in New Jersey and throughout the U.S. is taken very seriously. It can mean a lot of revenue for a business if it has a product that will be unique and sell well. This is especially true if the item is generally perceived as seasonal. If a person or a company has created a product and there is an issue with its ownership and rights, it is sometimes necessary to move forward with business litigation. Having legal help is vital toward that end and trying to get a satisfactory result.

With Halloween approaching, costumes are major business. One is a banana costume. In a disagreement between companies that manufacture these costumes, one filed a lawsuit in New Jersey federal court. The manufacturer, which has contracts with several large department stores, asserts that there has been unfair competition, copyright infringement and trade dress infringement. The company had sold the costumes to Kmart since 2008. However, the sides could not agree to a new contract for 2017 and the store selected another vendor. The vendor provided what the original manufacturer believes is a violation of the law by using a similar design.

Actor's death shows how trusts can provide privacy

When a New Jersey resident is moving forward with estate planning, there will be many different aspects of the process that will take precedence. One that they might forget about is how a trust can provide privacy that wills do not. A will is a public document that can be seen by anyone when probate starts. That is not the case with a trust. People who are concerned about their privacy should think about the case of the late actor Jerry Lewis and how his estate plan is now part of the public record and rife for discussion among people who did not know him and are questioning decisions he made that are not their concern.

In Mr. Lewis' will, it was stated that five of his children and their descendants should receive nothing from his estate. In the statement in his will, Mr. Lewis made clear that he did this on purpose by using the word "intentionally." This might have been an attempt on his part to make certain that no litigation would take place regarding his estate plan. Or it could have been done for some other reason. While those who look at the will are likely going to wonder what happened between Mr. Lewis and his family that he decided this was the course to take, in truth, it was his choice and his business.

Certain types of trusts in an estate plan can help protect wealth

It is important for New Jersey residents to ensure they protect their assets in the future by understanding the key aspects of estate planning. This applies to everyone, but it is especially important for those who have generated wealth and have a business they would like to pass on to their heirs. For those who have a business and are concerned about the inheritance tax and how their heirs will move forward after the testator has passed on, there are certain strategies that can be beneficial.

When putting together an estate plan, it is essential to account for a business being given to heirs and mitigating the costs with gift taxes and estate taxes. A specialized trust can be useful towards this end. A successful business that is set to be sold by the testator will be subject to various taxes. If, however, the business owner uses a trust in a wise manner, this can be significantly lessened.

Legal assistance is essential with business sales in New Jersey

When building a business in New Jersey, there are numerous issues to consider from the start. Those who are in the middle of making a business a success might never consider selling it, but as time passes and circumstances change, this is often a decision that business owners will make. There are legal matters that must be accounted for when selling a business and that is what a qualified attorney is for.

Whether it is to retire, start a new business in a similar category or move into a different area entirely, having legal assistance when selling a business in essential. This is to ensure that the sale of a business is done according to the law, the exit strategies are adhered to and the sale concludes favorably for the owner. Much like the building of the business, its sale is not a simple matter of just signing a few papers and handing it over. There are certain requirements for the sale to be legal.

Changes to the estate tax will affect New Jersey's wealthy

For New Jersey residents who have significant assets, the United States government's plans regarding the estate tax will never be far from their minds. When crafting an estate plan, this is one of the most important issues they must confront. The amount that is shielded from the federal estate tax is constantly up for debate, and it is imperative to keep track of certain changes and proposals to ensure that the estate plan addresses this.

The latest information indicates that heirs can be protected from the estate tax in 2018 if a couple receives $11 million or if an individual receives $5.6 million. Regarding the annual gift tax exclusion, this will rise for the first time in five years to $15,000 in 2018. People who are formulating their estate plan will inevitably try to keep their estates and gifts below these thresholds to protect heirs from paying the 40 percent federal estate tax. A strategy for this is to transfer the wealth while they are alive and by donating to charity.

Taking care of your health care with a health care proxy

It is impossible to know and control the future, but there are certain steps you can take to ensure that you have protected your interests for the months and years ahead. You may know that you could benefit from a will and other estate planning tools, but you would be prudent to consider a health care proxy as part of your plan.

With a health care proxy, you can have more control over your health care in the event that you face incapacitation due to illness or injury. New Jersey readers may know that a health care proxy may also go by the name of durable medical power of attorney or health care surrogate.

Many fail to protect their estates with an estate plan

A frequently forgotten document for even the most conscientious people in New Jersey is an estate plan. Most people will organize everything including insurance, health coverage and more, the estate plan is left in the background. Perhaps it is something they think can wait. It might be a pure lack of willingness to admit that the inevitable will occur and the inheritance for loved ones through an estate plan must be accounted for after death. Regardless, it is imperative to think about wills, trusts and other alternatives with an estate plan as soon as possible.

Statistics show that around 42 percent of people in the U.S. have an estate plan. That is a worryingly low number. For people who have children under 18, that reduces to 36 percent. Close to half say that they have failed to take care of this important issue because they simply have not "gotten around to it." The combination of not wanting to admit that they will die and thinking there is plenty of time to do it are factors in this decision.

Wealthy people should update their estate plans regularly

The importance of an estate plan should be clear to everyone regardless of their assets and financial situation. However, people in New Jersey who have substantial assets have more to think about because there is more at stake. An estate plan governs who will receive the inheritance, how much they will get and other factors. It is a mistake to think that an estate plan is final when it is first completed. Changes will inevitably be necessary.

Failure to account for this with properly crafted wills is a mistake that people with even large portfolios often make. Without a will or some other estate planning device, the assets will be allocated by the government with no control to the testator. Even if there is an estate plan, a key omission is a failure to update it on a regular basis. Everyone's life has certain changes that occur. The estate plan should be updated to account for this. Some of these changes are governmental and tax-related. Taking advantage of or protecting one's interests is part of a comprehensive estate plan.

What should I know about reverse mergers?

New Jersey businesses that are seeking capital have a variety of alternatives. A common way for these businesses to gain access to large financial sums - one that is gaining popularity in today's world - is an initial public offering (IPO). However, that might not be feasible for a smaller business. For them, reverse mergers might be preferable. Knowing what a reverse merger is and how it works is essential before taking the necessary steps with it.

A private company merging with a publicly traded shell company is known as a reverse merger. When this happens, the private company will become publicly traded through the merger with the shell company. The private company will retain its management scheme once it has merged. And the money that comes in via investors will provide shares in the new company, so there will be a way to exit the investment if they choose to do so.

How is a valid will created in New Jersey?

Most people in New Jersey will be aware of the importance of will planning as they cobble together an estate plan. However, a great many will not be fully cognizant of what makes the will legal in the first place. It is a frequent occurrence for a will to be called into question or for there to be a will contest because the testator failed to take the steps to make it a valid will. To avoid this eventuality and the issues that go along with it, it is imperative to know how to make a will that is valid.

In New Jersey, there are certain basic requirements when creating a will. The person must be at least 18-years-old. There must be legal competence meaning that the person is of sufficiently sound mind to understand what the will is and what it does. They must know the nature and the extent of their property. A person who has a mental disability preventing them from understanding a will's purpose will make a will invalid. The requirement will be satisfied if the person knows the extent of the property and the purpose of the will. There must be two people who witness the testator signing a typed will.

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