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I’m not wealthy — Why do I need an estate plan?

Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to have a fat bank account and a mansion house at the Shore to need a sound estate plan – the area of law that covers wills, trusts, and probate. How much money you have is only one factor out of many that you need to consider when planning for the future. If you already have an up-to-date will, that’s a good and necessary start. But in many cases, it will not cover all the bases that should be considered ahead of time to make things easier for your heirs if you die...

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June is National Safety Awareness Month – 8 Social Safety Awareness Strategies for Children with Special Needs

By Jayne M. Wesler, Esq.   Studies show that children with disabilities, particularly those with emotional or behavioral disabilities, have a significantly higher risk of injury than those with no disabilities. Children with special needs experience the same types of injuries as other children, but with more frequency. So, with the spotlight on safety this month, it’s especially important to ask what safety awareness means for children with special needs and to focus on how preventive measures can help lower the risk of injury for your child. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health assessed injuries among children in the...

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Why DIY Estate Planning Is a Really Bad Idea

The do-it-yourself approach may work for some jobs, but providing for your family after you’re gone is too important to risk making mistakes -- mistakes that could put your loved ones in the legal weeds just when they need the most support and ease of mind. Here are some top reasons NOT to be an estate plan “do-it-yourselfer”: • While internet sites can provide you with boilerplate documents, they do not reflect specifics of your financial and personal life and may be questioned or disputed later. • The requirements for a validly written document(s) vary from state to state. • A valid estate plan...

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Children’s Mental Health: Statistics are Staggering and It’s on the Rise

By Jayne M. Wesler, Esq. May is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month. The worldwide pandemic starting in March 2020 has been hard for adults and children alike. For children, however, the challenges have been magnified since they often have little control over their lives, and most are not developed or mature enough to recognize what is happening to them. While statistics show that mental health challenges have been rising for our student population in the last decade, COVID-19 has multiplied the problems. How widespread are the issues? Almost half of all parents in the United States report that their children have struggled with...

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Over 18? Don’t Wait. Estate Planning Is for Everyone

You may think that estate planning is something you can put off until you’re older – maybe a lot older. But if you’re over 18, it’s never too soon to take this important step toward safeguarding the future for yourself and those you love. At Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler, we place great importance on estate planning for all our clients, and we’re ready to help you take this essential step. It’s easier than you think! Here are some estate planning facts you may not know: • It may be surprising to learn that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to greater awareness...

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April is Autism Awareness Month and Auditory Processing Awareness Month

By Jayne M. Wesler, Esq. Why are these two conditions highlighted together?   Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder often have Auditory Processing Disorder as well. In fact, up to 80% of children with Autism also process sound in irregular ways. Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is characterized by impairments in social communication, cognition, and in restricted and repetitive behaviors. Auditory Processing Disorder, also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder or CAPD, is a neurologic condition characterized by difficulties in processing sound. People with CAPD do not have impaired hearing. Instead, the source of their difficulties lies in the brain. • According...

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DD and the “Different” Brain – Recognizing Developmental Disabilities

Jayne M. Wesler, Esq. Imagine you’re a ninth-grade student. It’s early morning and the alarm clock rings, jarring you awake. You look at the time. It’s 8 o’clock. ‘OMG!’ your brain shrieks. ‘I’m supposed to be at school.’ You leap from your bed, grab some clothing, pull it on, and run out the door. You arrive at school late, disheveled, and without any breakfast or lunch. What on earth just happened? Welcome to the brain. In this case, your brain has attention-deficit disorder, and it works a little differently than a “normal” brain. You’re often easily distracted, forgetful, don’t pay attention to details, and...

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Here Comes the IRS: Consider the Advantages of a Trust

With tax season upon us, we thought March would be a good time to share a brief overview of some tax benefits that come with the main types of trusts. In general, one of the main tax benefits of trusts is that the beneficiary is not subject to a large amount of inheritance or estate taxes. Family Trust (Revocable Living Trust) You don’t have to be among the super-wealthy to take advantage of a Family Trust, also known as a revocable living trust. Even if you have ordinary assets, such as owning your own home, this type of trust can be a...

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The Best Valentine Gift May Not be Flowers or Candy – Give Your Loved Ones Peace of Mind

This year, consider showing your love for your partner and family members by getting your estate in order. Why? Begin with the pain caused by the loss of you as a beloved partner, parent, and provider. Now add sorting through boxes, calling banks, looking for an attorney or accountant, and dealing with the courts. People who die intestate leave behind a mountain of bureaucratic navigation and hoops to jump through before the estate can be settled. A quality estate plan is an important legal document that saves your friends and family time, money, and anxiety about the future. It’s also a way of expressing...

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Chocolate, Nuts, Soy, Dairy . . . Ways to Ensure Your Child’s Valentine’s Day is Food Allergy Safe

By Jayne M. Wesler, Esq. Allergy awareness has increased significantly over the last decade. The number of students with life-threatening allergies continues to expand. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection team notes that, in recent years, the number of people with food allergies has doubled. At this point, there are approximately two students in every classroom in the United States with an identified food allergy. That is the equivalent of about six million children. Allergies are actually a disease caused by hypersensitivity of the immune system to substances in the environment that are often harmless to most of the population. Many of...

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