2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817

Kenneth Vercammen is a trial attorney in Edison, NJ. He is a speaker at the annual Nuts & Bolts of Estate Administration & Elder Law program, American Bar Association General Practice Division.

He is a New Jersey trial attorney has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has appears in Courts throughout New Jersey each week litigation and contested Probate hearings.

Mr. Vercammen has published over 150 legal articles in national and New Jersey publications on criminal, elder law, probate and litigation topics. He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation and probate law for the American Bar Association, NJ ICLE, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published in noted publications included New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

NJ Laws Newsletter E435 1. Liability of Owner of Commercial Property for Defects, Snow and Ice Accumulation and Other Dangerous Conditions in Abutting Sidewalks. 2. Recent case-Sometimes in DWI case AIR permitted mid trial where defense did not claim prejudice 3. No 5th amendment claim where suspect did not invoke privilege

NJ LAWS EMAIL NEWLETTER E435
Kenneth Vercammen, Attorney at Law

January 29, 2014
Dear Ken,
In this Issue:
1. Liability of Owner of Commercial Property for Defects, Snow and Ice Accumulation and Other Dangerous Conditions in Abutting Sidewalks. 
2. Recent case-Sometimes in DWI case AIR permitted mid trial where defense did not claim prejudice
3. No 5th amendment claim where suspect did not invoke privilege

1. Liability of Owner of Commercial Property for Defects, Snow and Ice Accumulation and Other Dangerous Conditions in Abutting Sidewalks. 
The law imposes upon the owner of commercial or business property the duty to use reasonable care to see to it that the sidewalks abutting the property are reasonably safe for members of the public who are using them. In other words, the law says that the owner of commercial property must exercise reasonable care to see to it that the condition of the abutting sidewalk is reasonably safe and does not subject pedestrians to an unreasonable risk of harm. The concept of reasonable care requires the owner of commercial property to take action with regard to conditions within a reasonable period of time after the owner becomes aware of the dangerous condition or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have become aware of it.
If there was a condition of this sidewalk that was dangerous in that it created an unreasonable risk of harm for pedestrians, and if the owner knew of that condition or should have known of it but failed to take such reasonable action to correct or remedy the situation within a reasonable period of time thereafter as a reasonably prudent commercial or business owner would have done under the circumstances, then the owner is negligent.
No one plans on being injured in an accident, whether it is a car accident, fall down or other situation. Speak with a personal injury attorney immediately to retain all your rights. The stores are responsible for the maintenance of their premises, which are used by the public. It is the duty of the store to inspect and keep said premises in a safe condition and free from any and all pitfalls, obstacles or traps that would likely cause injury to persons lawfully thereon.
If the unsafe condition is alleged to be snow and ice, N.J.S.A. 40:64-12 and any ordinance adopted by the municipality might be charged as a factor, the jury should consider the reasonableness of the time the defendant(s) has (have) waited to remove or reduce asnow or ice condition from the sidewalk.
What actions must the owner of commercial property take with regard to defects / snow / ice accumulation/ dangerous conditions? The action required by the law is action which a reasonably prudent person would take or should have taken in the circumstances present to correct the defect / snow / ice accumulation/ dangerous condition, to repair it/remove it or to take other actions to minimize the danger to pedestrians (for example, to give warning of it) within a reasonable period of time after notice thereof. The test is: did the commercial property owner take the action that a reasonably prudent person who knows or should have known of the condition would have taken in that circumstance? If he/she did, he/she is not negligent. If he/she did not, he/she is negligent.
If you are injured, after seeking medical treatment and advising the store/mall, CALL KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN, ESQ. 732-572-0500 for an Appointment.

2. Sometimes in DWI case AIR permitted mid trial where defense did not claim prejudice
State v Wolfe  431 NJ Super. 356 (App. Div. 2013)
      The Court affirmed a drunk driving conviction where defendant unsuccessfully sought to block admission of his Alcohol Influence Report (AIR), a report generated by an Alcotest breathalyzer device, because the State did not provide complete discovery after it was requested. During trial, the municipal court required defense counsel to specify the grounds for his objection to the admissibility of the AIR, and the State was then allowed to cure the deficiencies in the foundational evidence pointed out by defense counsel. The Court interpreted Rule 7:7-7(h) to allow this mid-trial discovery where defendant alleges no prejudice and the State did not intend to mislead the defense.

3. US Supreme Court says No 5th amendment claim where suspect did not invoke privilege Salinas v. Texas 133 S. Ct. 928 (2013)
When defendant had not yet been placed in custody or received Miranda warnings, and voluntarily responded to some questions by police about a murder, the prosecution's use of his silence in response to another question as evidence of his guilty at trial did not violate the Fifth Amendment because petitioner failed to expressly invoke his privilege not to incriminate himself in response to the officer's question.

Editorial Assistance provided by Sara Quinlan.  Ms. Quinlan currently attends Mercer County Community College and is participating in Kenneth Vercammen's Winter Internship Program.

NJ Laws Newsletter E432: 1. Ken Vercammen, family & dog wish you Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas 2.2. Holiday Gift Idea! .....Gift Certificates for Wills or Power of Attorney 3.3. Press Release FREEZING COLD HASH RUN & PARTY 3 & 5 MILE GROUP RUN Sat. Jan. 4, 2014 10am 4. 2014 Update Wills and Estate Planning - Free Seminar

NJ LAWS EMAIL NEWLETTER E432
Kenneth Vercammen, Attorney at Law


December 23, 2013
Dear Ken,

1. Ken Vercammen, family & dog wish you 
 Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas
 
        In the true spirit of the holiday and Christmas season, may we all be thankful and share in the hope for peace on earth and goodwill toward all.  

    One of the pleasures during the holidays is the opportunity to thank our friends for their friendship. We are also thankful for the confidence clients have shown in us, and the friends who have referred people to our office.
2. Holiday Gift Idea! .....Gift Certificates for Wills or Power of Attorney
      
     During the Holiday season, we often buy gifts for our family and friends. May we suggest a holiday gift, which truly shows how much you care? Purchase a Will Gift Certificate for loved ones. Secure their interests and make sure proper planning is done.

          The Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen's Holiday special includes:
*A Simple Will without Trust
* Follow up legal advice
*A 2-year subscription to the NJ Laws Email News
- All for only $350.00! -
Call 732-572-0500 for the Gift Certificate

Details on Wills:

Power of Attorney:

3. Press Release FREEZING COLD HASH RUN & PARTY 3 & 5 MILE GROUP RUN Sat. Jan. 4, 2014 10am 
   
FREEZING COLD HASH RUN & PARTY 3 & 5 MILE GROUP RUN

Sat. Jan. 4, 2014 10am  Edison, NJ

         Tired of the same old neighborhood roads, traffic, bad drivers? Join the off-road runners for a great and unusual training run. See the swamps and wooded areas saved from development. The Rumson Hash House Harriers again return to the woods and marsh of Edison. Hashing is not a race but a non-competitive group run which follows an off-road course laid out with baking flour. If you like trail running without the competition of a formal race, this will be a fun switch for you. This is a complex and different course through woods, grass, swamp and marsh.  Wear old running shoes.
        
$20.00 TO RUN.   $25.00 DAY OF EVENT. 
PLEASE BRING A CAN FOOD DONATION FOR THE ST. JAMES FOOD BANK. POST RUN SOCIAL HELD AT THE GREEN DERBY BAR, SITE OF THE "ON-ON" BREWS.  More info at:  www.njlaws.com/FREEZING_COLD_HASH_RUN.htm 
Run starts at Kenneth Vercammen Law Office
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817

If anyone wants to help or volunteer, even if running, let me know.
       Volunteers needed Freezing Cold Hash for T-shirt pick up:

Dec 30 12pm 5pm   T-shirt and goodie bag & skull wristband pick up Ken's Office 2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Dec 31 12pm -3pm   T-shirt and goodie bag & skull wristband pick up Ken's Office 2053 Woodbridge Ave.

Jan 2 11am-5pm   T-shirt and goodie bag & skull wristband pick up Ken's Office 2053 Woodbridge Ave. Thursday, Jan 2 Volunteers decorate basement and set up downstairs "changing rooms"

Jan 3 11am-6pm   T-shirt and goodie bag & skull wristband pick up Ken's Office

Volunteers also needed:

Jan 2 Thurs 1pm-4:30 individuals not running, they can help put flour the trail. [need volunteers to help mark trail] Free lunches for all volunteers
Thurs At 6pm help decorate the Green Derby.

Friday Jan 3 in afternoon 12noon-4 Volunteers finish setting up basement Also if individuals not running, they can help put flour the trail.

Friday 1pm-4:30 individuals not running, they can help put flour the trail. [need volunteers to help mark trail]
Friday

Fri Jan 4:45 decorate garage and bring up items for open bar and registration

Fri 5pm-7pm- Help set up the refreshment stand and decorate garage and basement party room.   Free beer for helpers. At 6pm finish decorate the Green Derby for the last time

Fri   7:30 pm finish decorating Green Derby
Saturday Volunteers needed day of event -Must be at building by 8am. Ok to park on grass.

4.  2014 Update Wills and Estate Planning - Free Seminar
                        
Tuesday;  January 14, 2014 12:15 - 1:00PM 
and also
Wednesday; January 15, 2014  5:15PM - 6PM

Law Office of Kenneth Vercammen, 
2053 Woodbridge Ave, Edison, NJ 08817

       Invited: Clients, Friends, Accountants, Business Owners, HR staff, Financial Planners, Insurance Agents, Nursing Home Staff, Hospital and Nursing Home Social Workers, Office on Aging Personnel, Senior Club Presidents, and Medicaid Workers,

COST: Free if you pre-register.Complimentary materials provided at 12:00 sharp. We previously held this seminar for the Metuchen and Edison Adult schools. This program is limited to 15 people. Please bring a canned food donation, which will be given to the St. James Food Bank located on Woodbridge Avenue in Edison, NJ. Please email us if you plan on attending or if you would like us to email the materials.

SPEAKER: Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.
                
(Author- Answers to Questions About Probate)
The new NJ Probate Law made a number of substantial changes in Probate and the administration of estates and trusts in New Jersey.

Main Topics:
1. The New Probate Law and preparation of Wills                  
2. 2014 changes in Federal Estate and Gift Tax exemption
3. NJ Inheritance tax $675,000
4. Power of Attorney                         
5. Living Will                                          
6. Administering the Estate/ Probate/Surrogate                       
7. Question and Answer                   

       COMPLIMENTARY MATERIAL: Brochures on Wills, "Answers to Questions about Probate" and Administration of an Estate, Power of Attorney, Living Wills, Real Estate Sales for Seniors, and Trusts.

       Co-Sponsor: Middlesex County Estate Planning Council

To attend or for Information: Mike McDonald 732-572-0500
or email: VercammenLaw@Njlaws.com

Can't attend? We can email you materials
Send email to: VercammenLaw@Njlaws.com

NJ LAWS EMAIL NEWLETTER E431 Kenneth Vercammen, Attorney at Law In this Issue: 1. Investigator violated rules by destroying notes. 2. Cellphone can't be tracked without warrant. 3. Landlord could call police to advise saw drugs. 4. Next Events, Reminder: Holiday Happy Hour & Networking Social, Friday, December 6, 2013; 5:00PM - 7:00PM Bar A, Belmar



NJ LAWS EMAIL NEWLETTER E431
Kenneth Vercammen, Attorney at Law

In this Issue:

1. Investigator violated rules by destroying notes.

2. Cellphone can't be tracked without warrant.

3. Landlord could call police to advise saw drugs.

4. Next Events, Reminder: Holiday Happy Hour & Networking Social, Friday, December
6, 2013;  5:00PM - 7:00PM Bar A, Belmar


1. Investigator violated rules by destroying notes. State v. Dabas __ NJ __ (2013)(A-109-11)

The prosecutor's office violated its post-indictment discovery obligations under
 Rule 3:13-3, when its investigator destroyed his notes of a two-hour pre-interview
of defendant. The trial court abused its discretion in denying defendant's request
for a charge that would have allowed the jury to draw an adverse inference from
the destruction of the interview notes more than a year after the return of the
indictment.

2. Cellphone can't be tracked without warrant State v. Earls __ NJ __ (2013)( A-53-11)

Article I, Paragraph 7 of the New Jersey Constitution protects an individual's privacy
interest in the location of his or her cell phone. Police must obtain a warrant
based on a showing of probable cause, or qualify for an exception to the warrant
 requirement, to obtain tracking information through the use of a cell phone.

3. Landlord could call police to advise saw drugs State v Wright __ NJ Super. __
 (App. Div. 2013) A-4813-10T1

This appeal concerns the "third-party intervention" (or "private search") doctrine,
which courts have applied in authorizing the police to inspect or search a defendant's
property in certain instances without a warrant, so long as the police do not exceed
the scope of the private actor's intrusion that led to the police's involvement.

The trial court relied upon this doctrine in denying defendant's motion to suppress
drugs and other incriminating evidence seized by the police from his girlfriend's
apartment. The landlord had entered the apartment at the girlfriend's request to
 repair a leak. While he was there, the landlord observed drugs on a nightstand
and, in fear, he called the police. The police responded to the scene, were let
into the apartment by the landlord, and confirmed his observation of the drugs and
other contraband in open view. The girlfriend then arrived and the police secured
her consent to a search of the apartment, through which they found a gun and other
evidence of criminal conduct.

Given the heightened constitutional protection that the Fourth Amendment of the
United States Constitution and Article 1, paragraph 7 of the New Jersey Constitution
accord to the privacy of residential premises, the court joins with several other
courts in limiting the extent to which the third-party intervention doctrine may
 authorize warrantless police searches of private residences. In particular, the
 court holds that, at the very least, the doctrine does not apply in situations
where the third party who provides the police with access to a dwelling has entered
it unlawfully or otherwise in violation of the resident's property rights or her
 reasonable privacy expectations. Apart from that limitation, the doctrine also
should not apply if the totality of the intrusion by the private party and law enforcement
officials is objectively unreasonable.

Because these residency-related limitations were not violated here, the court affirmed
the denial of the suppression motion and defendant's ensuing conviction.

4. Next Events

Tue, Dec 10 @ 6:00p

Annual Young Lawyers Holiday Brew Ho-Ho [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=ze9oujpab.0.0.ijlzbhpab.0&id=preview&r=3&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mcbalaw.com%2Fcde.cfm%3Fevent%3D391362]

Mike's Courtside Tavern

1 Elm Row

New Brunswick

Heavy Hors D'oeuvres, Open Bar, Games, Co-Sponsored by the NJSBA Young Lawyers Lawyers
Division

Cost: $20 Law Clerks; $30 Young Lawyers; $40 MCBA Members; and $60 All Others

_________________________________________________

REMINDER:
Clients,
Friends, Attorneys Professionals, Business owners and their staff invited to Holiday
Happy Hour & Networking Social
Friday, December 6, 2013
5:00PM - 7:00PM
at Bar Anticipation
703 16th Avenue
Lake Como/ Belmar, NJ 07719
Free !
5-7PM Hot & Cold Buffet with carving station

The reduced price Happy Hour is 6-7PM with $1 House Drink, Bud/BudLt draft & House
Wine Special
Sorry if this is a Duplicate but we did not want to miss anyone

Please bring a canned food donation for the St. James Food Bank Hands of Hope, continuing
providing food and help to individuals in need.

Email Ken Vercammen's Law Office so we can put your name on the VIP list for wristbands
@ VercammenLaw@Njlaws.com
Https://www.facebook.com/events/595540683835671/

Co-Sponsored by this year the NJSBA Municipal Court Section, Solo & Small Firm Division,
Criminal Law Section, Young Lawyers Division, Family Law Section, Entertainment
Arts & Sports Law Section, Banking Law Section, Women in the Profession Section,
 Minorities in the Profession Section, LGBT Rights Section, Government & Public
Sector Lawyers Special Committee.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

E434 NJ Laws Email Newsletter E434 Kenneth Vercammen, Attorney at Law January 22, 2014 1. Federal Estate Tax exemption now permanently increased so no tax for Estates under $5,340,000, and will be adjusted annually for inflation. However, New Jersey taxes estates over $675,000. 2. Gifts permitted without Federal Estate & Gift tax was increased to $14,000 per person. 3. We recommend Self- Proving Wills since witnesses often move or pass away 4. Non-formal writings could be Wills under the New Probate Law 5. Undue influence: Recent cases can void Will signed under suspicious circumstances 6. NJ Inheritance tax 7. Power of Attorney 8. Federal Health Privacy Law (HIPAA) 9. Competency required to sign a Will or Power of Attorney

NJ LAWS EMAIL NEWLETTER E434
Kenneth Vercammen, Attorney at Law

January 22, 2014

2014 update Wills and Estate Planning Seminar materials
       
1. Federal Estate Tax exemption now permanently increased so no tax for Estates under $5,340,000, and will be adjusted annually for inflation. However, New Jersey taxes estates over $675,000.

2. Gifts permitted without Federal Estate & Gift tax was increased to $14,000 per person.

3. We recommend Self- Proving Wills since witnesses often move or pass away

4. Non-formal writings could be Wills under the New Probate Law

5. Undue influence: Recent cases can void Will signed under suspicious circumstances
6. NJ Inheritance tax
7. Power of Attorney
8. Federal Health Privacy Law (HIPAA)
9. Competency required to sign a Will or Power of Attorney

1. Federal Estate Tax exemption is now permanently increased so no tax for Estates under $5,340,000, and will be adjusted annually for inflation. However, New Jersey taxes estates over $675,000.
Federal Exemption Amount for Non-Citizen Spouses is $145K up from $143K.
        New Jersey has an Estate Tax on amounts over $675,000. So, even if no Federal Estate Tax due, the estate must still file a Federal Estate Tax Return, plus NJ Estate Tax Return.
          So, for an unmarried or widowed person with assets of $1,000,000, there is No Federal Estate Taxes, but the Estimated State Estate Tax: $33,200.00   For an unmarried or widowed person with assets of $1,500,000, estimated NJ Estate Tax is over $60,000. The Federal Tax rate on estates over $5,340,000 has been increased from 35% to 40%.
          How to avoid NJ Estate Tax- hire an attorney to set up a personal residence trust or irrevocable trust and have the assets taken out of your name and put into a trust or given to children and grandchildren in the trust. Minimum fees for trust are $3,000. This is probably not something a non-attorney can do on their own. It is illegal for a non-attorney to provide legal advice or prepare most legal documents.
2. Gifts permitted without Federal Estate & Gift tax was increased to $14,000 per person.          
However, the amount permitted for Medicaid transfers is zero.  
3. We recommend Self- Proving Wills since witnesses often move or pass away
        An old New Jersey Probate law required one of the two witnesses to a Will to travel and appear in the Surrogate's office and sign an affidavit to certify they were a witness. This often created problems when the witness was deceased, moved away, or simply could not be located. Some witnesses would require a $500 fee to simply sign a surrogate paper. My Grandmother's Will was not self- proving, and the witness to Will extorted a $500 fee.
        The New Jersey Legislature later passed a law to create a type of Will called a "Self-Proving Will." In such a Will, the person for whom the Will is made must sign. Then two witnesses sign. Then the attorney or notary must sign; with certain statutory language to indicate the Will is self-proving. Beware of online documents not prepared by an attorney
           When done properly, the executor does not have to locate any witnesses. This usually saves time and money. If your Will is not "self-proving" or if you are unsure, schedule an appointment with an elder law attorney. Some law offices ignore the revised law, and fail to prepare self proving Wills. Do not use a law office that follows old methods and does not do a self-proving Will.

4. NJ SENATE Law No. 708 made a number of substantial changes to the NJ Probate Law.
     Non-formal writings could be Wills under the Revised provisions governing the administration of estates and trusts in New Jersey. So make sure you have a Formal Will drafted by an estate attorney.

     The law expanded situations where writings that are intended as Wills would be allowed, but requires that the burden of proof on the proponent would be by clear and convincing evidence. Possibly a Christmas card with handwritten notes could be presented as a Will or Codicil.
  To present a non-formal Will or writing requires an expensive Complaint and Order to Show Cause to be filed in the Superior Court, and a hearing in front of a Superior Court Judge.
  Be careful; have a Will done properly by an experienced attorney.

   Beware of the "Elective share" rights of a new spouse. Have a Prenuptial Agreement if entering into a 2nd marriage
        The elective share provisions of the present Code has still not been changed yet. Currently, the new spouse who is not given money in a Will can challenge the terms of the Will. This is called "electing against the Will by a spouse". A spouse could receive up to 1/3 of the estate, even if only married for 2 weeks. The spouse must file a Caveat or lawsuit in Superior Court. We suggest a formal prenuptial agreement in 2nd marriage situations.
           A Testator now means both male and female individuals, removing the term "Testatrix". Will forms that say executrix should not be used.
       The law provides a statute of limitations with respect to creditor claims against a decedent's estate. There is no longer a need to publish a Notice Limiting Creditors.

5. NJ Supreme Court has held a Will could be void if signed under suspicious circumstances
           When there is a confidential relationship coupled with suspicious circumstances, undue influence is presumed and the burden of proof shifts to the Will proponent to overcome the presumption.
       If there is undue influence in making of Will and transfer by Deed of a house by persons in Confidential relationship, this could subject those persons to punitive damages in some instances, plus voiding of the Will. In the Matter of the Estate of Madeleine Stockdale, Deceased 196 NJ 275 (2008)

        A grievance based upon undue influence may be sustained by showing that the beneficiary had a confidential relationship with the party who established the account. See Estate of DeFrank, ___ N.J. Super. 
Accordingly, if the challenger can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the survivor had a confidential relationship with the donor who established the account, there is a presumption of undue influence, which the surviving donee must rebut by clear and convincing evidence.

[Estate of Ostlund v. Ostlund391 N.J. Super. 390, 401 (App. Div. 2007).]

        Although perhaps difficult to define, the concept "encompasses all relationships 'whether legal, natural or conventional in their origin, in which confidence is naturally inspired, or, in fact, reasonably exists.'" Pascale v. Pascale113 N.J. 20, 34 (1988) (internal citation omitted). "And while family ties alone may not qualify, parent-child relationships have been found to be among the most typical of confidential relationships." DeFranksupra, slip op. at 13 (citing Ostlundsupra, 391N.J. Super. at 401).
        In the context of inter vivos gifts, "a presumption of undue influence arises when the contestant proves that the donee dominated the will of the donor or when a confidential relationship exists between the donor and donee." Pascalesupra, 113 N.J. at 30 (internal citations omitted). "Where parties enjoy a relationship in which confidence is naturally inspired or reasonably exists, the person who has gained an advantage due to that confidence has the burden of proving that no undue influence was used to gain that advantage," In re Estate of Penna,322 N.J. Super. 417, 423 (App. Div. 1999), and "the donee has the burden of showing by clear and convincing evidence not only that 'no deception was practiced therein, no undue influence used, and that all was fair, open and voluntary, but that it was well understood.'" In re Estate of Mosery349 N.J. Super. 515, 522-23 (App. Div. 2002) (citing In re Dodge50 N.J. 192, 227 (1967)).

The person receiving gifts and greater benefit had a burden to show no deception was practiced and that all of the transactions were fair, open and voluntary, and that they were well understood.

        Wills should be prepared without undue influence. No one other than the person who is signing the Will should be in the room. We usually request the person who wants the Will to fill out the interview form themselves.

6. NJ Inheritance tax
      The NJ Inheritance Tax Return instructions and NJ Estate Tax Forms were revised. Don't use old forms. Even if no inheritance tax due, a Tax Waiver on a house must still be obtained and filed if the house was not co-owned by the spouse.

7. Power of Attorney -Do not use a form purchased online. A Power of Attorney should contain reference to the NJ statute requiring banks to honor the Power of Attorney. Section 2 of P.L. 1991, c. 95 (c. 46:2B-11).

8. Federal Health Privacy Law (HIPAA) Have a New Living Will Signed.
        The federal regulation known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was adopted regarding disclosure of individually identifiable health information. This necessitated the addition of a special release and consent authority to all healthcare providers before medical information will be released to agents and interested persons of the patients.    
       The effects of HIPAA are far reaching, and can render previously executed estate planning documents useless, without properly executed amendments, specifically addressing these issues.
       Any previously executed Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, and certainly all Medical Directives now require HIPAA amendments.  
        Powers of attorneys and Living Wills should be updated to reference this new law. More information on the HIPAA law athttp://www.njlaws.com/hipaa.htm
        After you sign the Living Will in your attorney's office, provide a copy to your doctor and family.

9. Competency required to sign a Will or Power of Attorney
        My law office cannot prepare a Power of Attorney, Will or any other legal document unless a person is mentally competent. If someone is unable to come into our office, we require the client or client's family to have the treating Doctor sign the "Doctor Certification of Patient Capacity to Sign Legal Documents" It is the client or client's family's responsibility to contact the doctor, obtain the signed Certification at the clients' expense, and then provide the law office with the original signed Certification. The law office cannot accept phone calls stating someone is competent. Therefore, it is wise do have your documents drafted while you can drive and are healthy.


More information on Wills and Probate at