A few months ago I was able to do something a little different for an Elder Law attorney. I got to put through an Adult Adoption of an individual who essentially was a “child” to a couple but was not officially so. Doing this had some very strong upside for the couple’s estate planning in light of New Jersey’s Inheritance Tax, which treats spouses, children and grandchildren differently than other inheritors who would have to pay tax on their bequests. It also is a way to cement the bonds of family. The court action was a joy for one and all; even the judge was a little giddy when we were done.
A lot of people want to leave estates to those they think of as kin but don’t have that official status. Unless an heir is classified as a child, New Jersey Inheritance tax will reduce an inheritance. Additionally, there are some planning options for Medicaid that only inure to children. This is when you need to consider Adult Adoption. Adult Adoption has to be what both the adoptive parent and adoptive child want, everyone must be of good moral status, and there must be at least a ten year age different between adopter and adoptee. There are other notice requirements and the matter is filed in the probate part of Superior Court. It’s an option that must be exercised judiciously, but it’s an important option to be aware of. And sometimes, it’s also a very happy occasion!
Call us for advice about your special family planning concerns …. 732-382-6070