Leaders in Planning for the Elderly and Disabled

Begley Law Group helps seniors, the disabled and their families make informed choices by guiding them through life’s important decisions and working to protect their legacy.

856.235.8501

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New Jersey Elder Law Attorneys - A Personal Touch

At the Begley Law Group, our dedicated team of New Jersey estate planning lawyers help clients plan for both the inevitable and the unexpected. If you are over 50 or have a family member with special needs, we can help you prepare for your future and the future of your family. Having served clients across New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania for the past 80 years, our strength comes from our experience. Our founder, Thomas D. Begley, Jr. is a Certified Elder Law Attorney, a Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), and a recipient of the NAELA President’s Award. When you choose to work with Begley Law Group, you will have the peace of mind knowing that your family’s financial affairs are in order.

Why Choose Us

We are experienced estate planning and elder law attorneys who serve clients across Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

At the Begley Law Group, our dedicated team of New Jersey estate planning lawyers help clients plan for both the inevitable and the unexpected. If you are over 50 or have a family member with special needs, we can help you prepare for your future and the future of your family. Having served clients across New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania for the past 80 years, our strength comes from our experience. Our founder, Thomas D. Begley, Jr. is a Certified Elder Law Attorney, a Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), and a recipient of the NAELA President’s Award. When you choose to work with Begley Law Group, you will have the peace of mind knowing that your family’s financial affairs are in order.

Our Practice Areas

The strength of Begley Law Group stems from its experienced legal team trained in all areas of Elder and Disability Law.

Our Practice Areas

The strength of Begley Law Group stems from its experienced legal team trained in all areas of Elder and Disability Law.

Making a Change is Easy!

Would you like the ability to receive care in your own home if necessary? We will help you plan out your own unique path to this goal.

Estate Planning

You have worked hard for everything you have. Ensure that your legacy continues to benefit those you love when you are no longer here.

Special Needs Planning & Trusts

When a family member is disabled, your estate can be designed to continue to enrich their lives while still maintaining their eligibility for public assistance.

Estate & Trust Administration

From the probate of your will to the distribution of property to your beneficiaries — let us help you design and implement every detail.

Guardianships

Define your wishes for a minor child, or a loved one who needs special care when you are no longer able to care for them yourself.

Estate & Trust Litigation

Partner with us to protect your interests in the event of an estate dispute.

Our Practice Areas

The strength of Begley Law Group stems from its experienced legal team trained in all areas of Elder and Disability Law.

Long Term Care Planning

Would you like the ability to receive care in your own home if necessary? We will help you plan out your own unique path to this goal.

Estate Planning

You have worked hard for everything you have. Ensure that your legacy continues to benefit those you love when you are no longer here.

Special Needs Planning & Trusts

When a family member is disabled, your estate can be designed to continue to enrich their lives while still maintaining their eligibility for public assistance.

Estate & Trust Administration

From the probate of your will to the distribution of property to your beneficiaries — let us help you design and implement every detail.

Guardianships

Define your wishes for a minor child, or a loved one who needs special care when you are no longer able to care for them yourself.

Estate & Trust Litigation

Partner with us to protect your interests in the event of an estate dispute.

Nearly 75 percent of Americans feel intimidated by the topic of estate planning. We understand. You are not alone.

Our Compassionate Estate Planning Lawyers Work With Clients to Protect Their Legacy

Estate Planning

Estate Planning

Estate planning is the process of designating how assets get distributed upon a person’s death. However, an estate plan does more than specify where assets end up. A comprehensive New Jersey estate plan can also preserve the value of an estate by reducing exposure to Federal estate and state inheritance taxes and limiting the number of assets subject to probate. In Pennsylvania, an in-depth estate plan can reduce the amount of both Federal estate and state inheritance taxes preserving more assets for your beneficiaries.

When someone passes on, there are a variety of ways their assets might get distributed. If the person does not have a will, the New Jersey or Pennsylvania intestate laws will dictate how their assets are allocated among loved ones. Unfortunately, these rigid laws apply without consideration of unique family circumstances, and rarely effectuate a family’s wishes.

Wills

Using Wills to Maintain a Legacy

A will is an essential element of a New Jersey or Pennsylvania estate plan. A well-drafted will should contain detailed instructions as to how an individual’s assets should be divided among beneficiaries. In addition, a will should name an executor, who will carry out the directives contained in the will. If effectively drafted, a will can ensure that a family maintains full control over familial assets for future generations. Wills, however, have limitations.

Importantly, wills do nothing to avoid the probate processor estate taxes. Probate refers to the formal process in which the court validates a deceased person’s will. Once the will is probated, the surrogate’s court provides short certificates to allow the executor access to the decedent’s accounts. Although New Jersey does not currently have its own estate tax, some beneficiaries must pay an inheritance tax. For larger estates, reducing the federal estate-tax liability may also be an essential consideration.

Trusts

Creating a Trust to Preserve an Estate’s Value

Through the use of a trust, families may be able to reduce an estate’s exposure to estate and inheritance taxes and decrease the number of assets that must go through the probate process. A trust refers to a legal relationship in which one person, the grantor, places property in the care of another person, the trustee, for the benefit of a third party, the beneficiary. Trusts are commonly used to transfer assets to loved ones upon the owner’s death, avoiding the probate process. Irrevocable trusts can also limit the amount of estate and inheritance taxes by transferring ownership of certain assets to the trust before the owner’s death. Trusts should always be considered if you own out of state real estate in order to avoid probate in the other state in which the real estate is located.

Trusts can also be used to protect assets if an individual requires long term care.

End-of-Life Decisions

Powers of Attorney and Living Wills

Families should consider planning for sudden and unexpected incapacity by drafting powers of attorney. A General Durable Power of Attorney authorizes named individuals to make financial decisions on behalf of the Principal. Separate powers of attorney can be established for banking and security which makes it easier for your agent to use.

The final element of an estate plan relates to later-in-life and end-of-life decisions. By creating a living will, families can clarify their desires regarding the use of life-supporting medical treatments. Having such a plan in place can significantly ease what is undoubtedly a challenging time for loved ones. It is important to provide your living will to your primary care physician, so it is available if needed in case of an emergency. At Begley Law Group, we do this for you upon execution of your living will. Absent a General Durable Power of Attorney and Living Will, a person must file a court action to obtain legal guardianship over an individual to make these important decisions and act on their behalf.

Trust Administration

Helping Families Administer Estates and Trusts

Ensuring the proper administration of an estate can be complex, and at times, the decedent’s intentions may not be clear. It is in these situations that the possibility of litigation may arise. When the threat of litigation looms, it is imperative individuals retain an experienced New Jersey trust and estate lawyer to help protect their interests.

The inherent structure of a trust places legal title to trust assets with the trustee. However, the trustee owes all beneficiaries a fiduciary duty, including a duty of loyalty, a duty of prudence and subsidiary duties. A trustee can be held liable for a breach of their fiduciary duty, and beneficiaries can recover improperly distributed assets if they are traceable back to the trust.

At Begley Law Group, we skillfully represent beneficiaries, executors and trustees in all types of estate and trust disputes.

 

Compassionate Estate Planning Lawyers Work With Clients to Protect Their Legacy

 

Estate planning refers to the process of designating how assets get distributed upon a person’s death. However, an estate plan does more than specify where assets end up. A comprehensive New Jersey estate plan can also preserve the value of an estate by reducing exposure to Federal estate and state inheritance taxes and limiting the number of assets subject to probate. In Pennsylvania, an in-depth estate plan can reduce the amount of both Federal estate and state inheritance taxes preserving more assets for your beneficiaries.

When someone passes on, there are a variety of ways their assets might get distributed. If the person does not have a will, the New Jersey or Pennsylvania intestate laws will dictate how their assets are allocated among loved ones. Unfortunately, these rigid laws apply without consideration of unique family circumstances, and rarely effectuate a family’s wishes. By creating a will; however, an individual can maintain control over their assets after they pass.

 

Using Wills to Maintain a Legacy

 

A will is the essential element of a New Jersey or Pennsylvania estate plan. A well-drafted will should contain detailed instructions as to how an individual’s assets should be divided among the individual beneficiaries. In addition, a will should name an executor, who will carry out the directives contained in the will. If effectively drafted, a will can ensure that a family maintains full control over familial assets for future generations. Wills, however, have limitations.

Importantly, wills do nothing to avoid the probate processor estate taxes. Probate refers to the formal process in which the court validates a deceased person’s will. Once the will is probated, the surrogate’s court provides short certificates to allow the executor access to the decedent’s accounts. The executor will gather all the assets, pay any expenses including any tax, and distribute the estate assets according to the terms of the will. Currently in New Jersey, there is no estate tax. This may be reinstated bringing estate tax back to New Jersey. This can be costly to your estate if you do not have a properly written will to minimize such tax. Although New Jersey does not currently have its own estate tax, some beneficiaries must pay an inheritance tax. For larger estates, reducing the federal estate-tax liability may also be an essential consideration.

 

Creating a Trust to Preserve an Estate’s Value

 

Through the use of a trust, families may be able to reduce an estate’s exposure to estate and inheritance taxes and decrease the number of assets that must go through the probate process. A trust refers to a legal relationship in which one person, the grantor, places property in the care of another person, the trustee, for the benefit of a third party, the beneficiary. Trusts are commonly used to transfer assets to loved ones upon the owner’s death, avoiding the probate process. Irrevocable trusts can also limit the amount of estate and inheritance taxes by transferring ownership of certain assets to the trust before the owner’s death. Trusts should always be considered if you own out of state real estate in order to avoid probate in the other state in which the real estate is located.

Trusts can also be used to protect assets if an individual requires long term care.

 

Powers of Attorney and Living Wills

 

Families should consider planning for sudden and unexpected incapacity by drafting powers of attorney. A General Durable Power of Attorney authorizes named individuals to make financial decisions on behalf of the Principal. A General Durable Power of Attorney is quite long.

Separate powers of attorney can be established for banking and security which makes it easier for your agent to use. The final element of an estate plan relates to later-in-life and end-of-life decisions. For example, by creating a living will, families can clarify their desires regarding the use of life-supporting medical treatments. Having such a plan in place can significantly ease what is undoubtedly a challenging time for loved ones.

It is important to provide your living will to your primary care physician, so it is available if needed in case of an emergency. At Begley Law Group, we do this for you upon execution of your living will. Absent a General Durable Power of Attorney and Living Will, a person must file a court action to obtain legal guardianship over an individual to make these important decisions and act on their behalf. This is often time consuming and costly.

At Begley Law Group, our compassionate New Jersey and Pennsylvania estate planning lawyers work closely with our clients to ensure that their wishes are properly documented. With over 80 years of experience helping families preserve their legacies, we are a trusted resource for anyone with estate planning needs.

 

Helping Families Administer Estates and Trusts

 

The purpose of estate planning is to avoid the uncertainties that can lead to disagreements among family members. However, ensuring the proper administration of an estate can be complex, and at times, the decedent’s intentions may not be clear. It is in these situations that the possibility of litigation may arise.

When the threat of litigation looms, it is imperative individuals retain an experienced New Jersey trust and estate lawyer to help protect their interest. The inherent structure of a trust places legal title to trust assets with the trustee. However, the trustee owes all beneficiaries a fiduciary duty, including a duty of loyalty, a duty of prudence and subsidiary duties. A trustee can be held liable for a breach of their fiduciary duty, and beneficiaries can recover improperly distributed assets if they are traceable back to the trust.

At Begley Law Group, we skillfully represent beneficiaries, executors and trustees in all types of estate and trust disputes. With over 80 years of collective experience, our team of New Jersey trust and estate lawyers have unrivaled knowledge.

What Our Clients Are Saying

Mr. Begley, as founder of Begley Law Group, you win the gold medal for leadership, dedication and insight. You, Ms. Caruso and your staff are incomparable in your commitment to families — it goes so far beyond anything I have ever seen in my entire life. Words cannot describe feeling of gratitude we have for absolute kindness we received from every single person at Begley Law Group...

What Our Clients Are Saying

Mr. Begley, as founder of Begley Law Group, you win the gold medal for leadership, dedication and insight. You, Ms. Caruso and your staff are incomparable in your commitment to families — it goes so far beyond anything I have ever seen in my entire life. Words cannot describe feeling of gratitude we have for absolute kindness we received from every single person at Begley Law Group...

Many families with a child who has special needs face the difficult prospect of not knowing who will care for their loved one when they no longer can. We understand. We will help ensure your child is cared for.

Providing for the Ongoing Support of Loved Ones With Special Needs

For those families with a loved one who has special needs, proper planning is necessary. When planning for the future of a child with special needs, several factors must be considered.

  • Government Benefits

    Many adult children with disabilities who cannot work receive critical benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). At the same time, many families with the means to do so want to provide additional support to their children. However, leaving a child a significant inheritance could cause them to become ineligible for government benefits.

  • Income Limits

    Both the SSI and Medicaid programs use strict asset and income limits when determining eligibility. If a recipient suddenly inherits a significant amount of money, they will likely be thrust over the asset limit, potentially resulting in their benefits being cut off. Families can use special needs trusts to help solve this common problem.

  • Special Needs Trusts

    A special needs trust is a specific type of trust that a family can fund, and from which a qualifying beneficiary can draw to pay for their supplemental needs. This is called a third-party special needs trust. Assets contained in a third-party special needs trust do not count toward Medicaid or SSI eligibility, provided they are used for an appropriate purpose.

What Are Allowed Expenditures?

When setting up the trust, the document must name a trustee who will oversee all disbursements from the trust. The trustee must be both trusted
and knowledgeable because an improper disbursement will count as income for benefit eligibility. Allowed expenditures include any “supplemental need” for the beneficiary, including:

  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Assistive technology
  • Computers
  • Travel expenses
  • Vehicles
  • Entertainment
  • Caregiving expenses
  • Home renovations to improve accessibility
  • Medication that is not covered by Medicaid
  • Necessary services, such as cell phones and internet

At the Begley Law Group, our special needs planning team understands the nuances of government-benefit eligibility and how to effectively use special needs trusts to provide ongoing support for a loved one with special needs.

What Are Allowed Expenditures?

When setting up the trust, the document must name a trustee who will oversee all disbursements from the trust. The trustee must be both trusted and knowledgeable because an improper disbursement will count as income for benefit eligibility. Allowed expenditures include any “supplemental need” for the beneficiary, including:

  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Assistive technology
  • Computers
  • Traveling
  • Vehicles
  • Entertainment
  • Caregiving expenses
  • Home renovations to improve accessibility
  • Medication that is not covered by Medicaid
  • Necessary services, such as cell phones and internet

At the Begley Law Group, our special needs planning team understands the nuances of government-benefit eligibility and how to effectively use special needs trusts to provide ongoing support for a loved one with special needs.

What Are Allowed Expenditures?

When setting up the trust, the document must name a trustee who will oversee all disbursements from the trust. The trustee must be both trusted
and knowledgeable because an improper disbursement will count as income for benefit eligibility. Allowed expenditures include any “supplemental need” for the beneficiary, including:

  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Assistive technology
  • Computers
  • Traveling
  • Vehicles
  • Entertainment
  • Caregiving expenses
  • Home renovations to improve accessibility
  • Medication that is not covered by Medicaid
  • Necessary services, such as cell phones and internet

At the Begley Law Group, our special needs planning team understands the nuances of government-benefit eligibility and how to effectively use special needs trusts to provide ongoing support for a loved one with special needs.

What Our Clients Are Saying

I want you to know what a pleasure it’s been doing business with you and your team. In this day and age, it’s rare to find a group of dedicated professionals like yours.

What Our Clients Are Saying

I want you to know what a pleasure it’s been doing business with you and your team. In this day and age, it’s rare to find a group of dedicated professionals like yours.

Planning for the Potential Need for Long-Term Care and Medicaid Eligibility

According to recent statistics, 70 percent of people will need long-term care at some point in their life.

The already high cost of long-term care in Pennsylvania and New Jersey is increasing at a rapid rate. The cost of long-term care in New Jersey is currently about $28.00 an hour for home care, $6,000 to $10,000 per month for an Assisted Living Facility and $12,000 to $14,000 per month for a nursing home.

Medicare

Medicaid

Medicare pays for only a small portion of long-term care costs.

  • Medicare pays for home care only for a short period of time and only for care that is skilled and intermittent.
  • Typically, Medicare will pay for home care for 2 hours a day, 2 or 3 times per week for roughly 6 weeks provided the patient is receiving “skilled care.”
  • For nursing home care, Medicare will only pay if the patient is first confined to a hospital for 3 or more days of skilled care and then receives skilled care in a nursing home. Assuming the patient is making progress with the skilled care, Medicare will pay the first 20 days in full.
  • Thereafter, Medicare pays approximately 80 percent of day 21 through 100 but only if the patient is still making progress with the skilled care and Medicare pays nothing after the 100 days expires.

Medicaid may cover the cost of home care, assisted living and nursing home care.

  • Medicaid is a program for those with few or no assets and has strict income and asset limits that many families will initially exceed. This may result in the need to “spend down” assets to qualify. However, if only one spouse needs long-term care, spending down assets can leave the other spouse unable to maintain their current standard of living.
  • Alternatively, or in combination with spend down, clients can transfer assets to family or friends and incur a Medicaid penalty. A Medicaid penalty is simply a period of ineligibility which is based on the amount of assets that were transferred.
  • When someone applies for Medicaid, the government will review the previous five years of financial transactions, known as the lookback period, to determine whether the applicant transferred any assets counted toward the asset limit. If Medicaid identifies a prohibited transfer, the applicant may have their eligibility delayed.

Fortunately, families who plan ahead can avoid the five-year lookback period and reduce the economic impact of long-term care. By creating trusts, by gifting assets within allowable limits and by strategically structuring property ownership interests, a family can reduce or eliminate the need to spend down their assets.

New Jersey and Pennsylvania Estate Planning Lawyers With Experience

Experienced Team of Attorneys

Our experienced and dedicated legal team of attorneys and support staff makes Begley Law Group uniquely qualified to deliver the legal expertise you need. We are proud of our reputation as a law firm dedicated to the legal needs of the elderly and disabled.

When it comes to planning for the future of your family, few things are more important. At Begley Law Group, we prioritize reducing the stress associated with the estate planning process.

The Begley Law Promise

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

At Begley Law Group, we know that deciding which New Jersey estate planning law firm to work with is an important decision for you and your family. To help you feel confident that you are making the right choice when choosing to work with us, we created the Begley Law Group Promise

Depending on your specific needs, when you allow Begley Law Group to help, you will be getting the following:

promise
  1. A consultation lasting between 90 minutes to 120 minutes, including a thorough conversation about your family’s goals and priorities.
  2. An in-depth review of the varying strategies that can help your family save on estate taxes, avoid probate and protect your legacy.
  3. A complete, no-pressure explanation of all estate planning instruments, their benefits and limitations.
  4. A comprehendible discussion regarding guardianship options and end-of-life decision-making.

Contact Begley Law Group to Schedule a Consultation Today

To learn more and set up a time for your consultation, call 856-235-8501 or toll-free at 800-533-7227.

By creating an estate plan, you can preserve your family’s legacy and ensure that your loved ones are provided for. The skilled New Jersey and Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys at Begley Law Group command an in-depth knowledge of all estate planning and special needs planning principles and put this knowledge behind clients we serve. We also handle veteran’s benefits, guardianship, Medicaid planning and other issues related to the practice of New Jersey elder law.

Recognized Excellence

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Begley Law Group News

A Third Party Special Needs Trust is generally established by parents or grandparents of a child with special needs to ensure that important public benefits can be accessed in the future or can be maintained if they are already available.  The trust also is designed to see that monies are properly invested and utilized for the benefit of the child with disabilities in the most appropriate manner.

September 2020

Live Webinar

"Financial Planning Involving Children and Grandchildren"

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Thomas D. Begley, Jr., CELA                           
Begley Law Group

Join us for this FREE Live Webinar

Wednesday, September 30th at 12pm