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Buying New Jersey Residential Real Estate: 4 Tips

Buying a home is often one of the biggest decisions that a person will ever make. Between choosing your neighborhood, determining your budget, obtaining financing, and actually closing the deal, the entire process can be confusing and stressful. Here are 4 things that consumers should keep in mind during the home buying process.

Start with a Pre-Approval

Talk to a mortgage company or a bank about getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This will ensure that you have a realistic idea regarding your budget and can shop appropriately. It is important to understand, however, that a pre-approval is not the same as an approval and the amount of financing you are able to obtain may change.

Do Not Underestimate the Value of a Real Estate Agent

Finding the right home for yourself or your family can be a daunting task, and working with a real estate agent can make the process significantly easier. A real estate agent will help you find homes that suit your needs and also will have knowledge about issues like local taxes, school districts, and services in the area. Your agent will also help you determine how much your first offer should be and can conduct price negotiations on your behalf.

Retain an Attorney

While New Jersey law does not require home buyers to retain an attorney, it is highly advisable to do so. A lawyer who understands real estate law will ensure that your interests are protected and will guide you through the entire process.

Make Sure Your Attorney Comes to the Closing

A real estate closing is the point at which the actual transfer of ownership takes place. They involve a significant amount of complicated paperwork, some of which will be provided by your mortgage lender. These documents can impose significant rights and responsibilities on you as a buyer, so it is critical to have your lawyer review them before you sign.

Call 732-422-1000 today to schedule a case evaluation.

If you are considering buying a home or a piece of property, you should speak with an experienced New Jersey real estate transactions lawyer as soon as you can. An attorney will protect your rights and make sure that your purchase goes as smoothly as possible. To learn more about how an attorney can help, call Borrus, Goldin, Foley, Vignuolo, Hyman & Stahl, PC today at 732-422-1000 or contact us online.

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The Potential Consequences of a New Jersey Criminal Conviction

If you have been accused of a crime, your first priority probably minimizing the immediate consequences you are facing. Even relatively minor crimes can result in significant penalties, including substantial fines and jail time. Fortunately, the maximum penalties are rarely imposed for first-time offenders, and the vast majority of cases are settled through a plea bargain arrangement that often spares defendants from the most serious consequences they could face.

A Conviction Can Result in Serious and Unforeseen Consequences

It is important to understand that accepting a plea bargain involves pleading “guilty,” which almost always results in a conviction being entered into your criminal record. A common and significant exception to this rule is when you plead guilty and enter into a diversionary program which will result in the dismissal of the case if you comply with certain terms. Here are some of the ways that being convicted of a crime can affect you for years to come.

It Can Make it Difficult to Get a Job

More and more employers are making a criminal background check a standard part of their hiring process. Many employers are reluctant to hire a person with a criminal record, even if the offense was a minor one. As a result, a criminal conviction can have a significant impact on your job opportunities for years to come.

A Conviction May Have Immigration Consequences

If you are not a U.S. citizen, a criminal conviction could have consequences with regard to your immigration status. While most minor offenses will not have immigration consequences, federal immigration authorities do not always agree with state law regarding what is considered a “minor” offense. It is important, therefore to fully explore the immigration consequences of a guilty plea with an experienced lawyer.

A Conviction Can Damage Your Reputation

Criminal convictions are a matter of public record and are generally viewable to the general public. As a result, pleading guilty to a crime can do significant damage to your reputation within your community.

It Is Important to Weigh All of Your Options

The consequences of a criminal conviction can last for years. As a result, if you are facing a criminal case, it is important to weigh all of your options. In some cases, it may be best to simply take a plea bargain offer that minimizes the immediate consequences of a conviction; in others, it may make sense to take your case to trial. The best way to determine how to proceed is to discuss your case with an experienced attorney familiar with New Jersey criminal law.

Call 732-422-1000 today to schedule a case evaluation.

If you have been accused of a crime, you should call a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. To schedule a consultation, call Borrus, Goldin, Foley, Vignuolo, Hyman & Stahl, P.C. today at 732-422-1000 or contact us online.

Effective Estate Planning can Avoid Estate Litigation

After a person passes away, their estate is generally distributed amongst various parties, including beneficiaries that have been named in a will or a trust, creditors, and others. Unfortunately, this process does not always go smoothly, sometimes resulting in complicated and acrimonious litigation that can tie an estate up in court for months or even years. Some of the more common types of estate litigation that occur include the following:

  • Challenges to the validity of a will
  • Requests for the court to interpret ambiguous terms in a will or trust
  • Guardianship contests (in the event that an individual is still alive but diminished mental capacity)
  • Breach of fiduciary duty

These disputes can arise in a wide variety of situations, but some risk factors for estate litigation are easy to spot: issues like sibling rivalries, disinherited children, multiple marriages, or gifts to extramarital paramours significantly increase the likelihood that someone will bring a challenge. In addition, if you engage in non-traditional estate planning techniques or attempt to exercise a significant amount of control on your beneficiaries after you are gone, it also increases the likelihood that someone will challenge your estate plan.

How can Estate Planning Help?

There are a number of ways that an attorney familiar with estate planning techniques can help reduce the likelihood that there will be litigation over your estate, including the following:

  • Regularly assessing and updating your will or trust documents to reflect your wishes
  • Planning for mental incapacity by establishing a financial party of attorney that takes effect if you become incapacitated
  • Establishing joint ownership of assets that you wish to pass to a particular party
  • Creating a living trust
  • Establishing a no-contest clause to discourage litigation
  • Choosing a trustworthy and competent executor or trustee
  • Ensuring that your documents comply with all relevant state law

Contact a New Jersey Estate Planning Attorney Today to Learn More

Avoiding litigation over your estate is always advisable, as it can save your family significant time, money and emotional turmoil. Unfortunately, it is difficult to recognize the circumstances that may result in a dispute, so it important to speak with an attorney who is familiar with the kinds of situations that often result in litigation. To schedule a consultation with one of the attorneys at Borrus, Goldin, Foley, Vignuolo, Hyman & Stahl, P.C., call our office today at 732-422-1000 or send us an email through our online contact form.

An In-Depth Look at Workers Compensation

New Jersey’s Workers Compensation Program is based on state laws that require employers to carry no-fault insurance that pays benefits to employees who are injured in on the job accidents or who develop work-related illnesses. Examples of the kinds of injuries that workers’ compensation may pay benefits for include the following:

  • Work-related hearing loss
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • A sprained back
  • Whiplash sustained in a work-related vehicle accident
  • Burns

Workers compensation was implemented to protect employers from lawsuits from their employers that could put them out of business while ensuring that injured workers were able to have their medical expenses and lost income covered. Both sides give something up – employers are required to carry insurance (which costs them a monthly premium), and workers are prevented from suing their employers for work-related injuries in almost all cases.

Importantly, the benefits available through workers’ compensation are only intended to pay for an employee’s lost income, medical expense, permanent disability, and vocational rehabilitation. As a result, the total value of workers’ compensation benefits an injured employee receives is often significantly lower than the amount of compensation he or she could have obtained through personal injury claim. For this reason, if it is possible for an injured worker to pursue a personal injury action, it is generally advisable to do so.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Obtain Workers Compensation Benefits?

When workers hear that they do not have to prove fault to obtain benefits, they sometimes believe that getting their benefits will be as simple as submitting paperwork to their employer or their employer’s insurance company. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and a significant number of injured workers experience significant difficulty in getting the benefits they desperately need. For this reason, it is always a good idea to talk to a lawyer after being involved in a workplace accident or developing a work-related illness. In many cases, an attorney can help you get your benefits more quickly than you would be able to on your own and can help avoid any problems with your claims before they arise. If your claim is denied, having an New Jersey workers comp attorney on your side will make it possible to appeal your denial as soon as possible and maximize your chances of a successful appeal.

Call 732-422-1000 today for a consultation.

If you have been hurt in a workplace accident or developed an illness that you believe is related to your work environment, you should contact an attorney as soon as you can. To schedule a case evaluation with a workers compensation lawyer, call Borrus, Goldin, Foley, Vignuolo, Hyman & Stahl, PC today at 732-422-1000 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Child Custody FAQs

Child custody can be among the most contentious issues raised in a divorce. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding child custody. To learn more, call us today to speak with a skilled child custody attorney.

What Factors do Courts Look at When Making Child Custody Determinations?

Courts have significant discretion in making decisions about how to award child custody. These decisions must always be made in accordance with the “best interests of the child,” and there are several factors that a judge will consider. These include each parent’s financial and physical ability to provide for the child’s needs, the interaction and relationship of the child with his or her parents and siblings, the parents ability to agree, communicate, and cooperate in matters relating to the child, the needs of the child, the parent’s employment responsibilities, the stability of the home environment offered by each parent, and any other factor relevant to the best interests of the child.

How can a Lawyer Help in a Child Custody Dispute?

Many parents wonder how exactly an attorney can help in a child custody dispute. Because the court has significant discretion in making child custody determinations, a skilled attorney can have a significant impact on the way your dispute is resolved. Skilled attorneys who understand the way that courts operate can make persuasive arguments and present evidence relating to your ability and fitness as a parent (or evidence of the opposite, as it relates to your child’s other parent) to which a court will be responsive. In addition, an attorney can advise you about how your out-of-court conduct may have a positive or negative effect on the way your dispute is resolved.

Can a Child Custody Order Be Modified?

Child custody orders can be modified if either parent can show a substantial change in circumstances that would justify a modification. Whether a substantial change in circumstances has occurred is a complicated question, so if you are seeking to have your child custody arrangement modified, you should speak to a lawyer to determine whether it may be possible.

Call 732-422-1000 today for a consultation.

If you are involved in a child custody dispute or believe that one may be on the horizon, you should speak to an experienced New Jersey family law lawyer as soon as you can. Attorney attorneys of Borrus, Goldin, Foley, Vignuolo, Hyman & Stahl, PC is qualified to represent you in even the most complicated child custody case. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at 732-422-1000 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Does Student Loan Debt Impact Small Business Formation?

Consider the following scenario: you go to school, work hard, finish your degree, and are ready to hit the ground running. You have a killer business idea that you are certain will be successful and provide you with a significant return on your investment in your education. There is one problem, however: you used student loans to get through school and now the bank is telling you that they will lend to you because of your student loan debt. Suddenly, the very thing that is supposed to allow you to get ahead (your education) is keeping you from realizing your dreams.

According to a working paper published by researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, more and more would-be entrepreneurs are finding themselves in this situation. Their findings indicate that high levels of student loan debt are making it difficult for many entrepreneurs to obtain financing through traditional banks. The authors go on to state that “given the importance of an entrepreneur’s personal debt capacity in financing a startup business, personal debt that is incurred early in life and that restricts a person’s ability to take on future debt can have profound implications for the growth in small businesses.”

Incorporation may Help Entrepreneurs Raise Capital

If you are a potential entrepreneur who is having trouble obtaining financing due to your student loan debt, an attorney may be able to help. While businesses like LLCs and partnerships often rely on their founders’ credit-worthiness to qualify for financing, corporations have their own legal identity and are able to issue securities in order to raise capital. Unfortunately, forming a corporation is generally much more complicated than forming other business entities and there are laws and regulations with which you must comply if you choose to operate as a corporation. Fortunately, when you retain a New Jersey business formation lawyer to help you incorporate, you can rest assured that your company will be formed quickly, efficiently, and in accordance with the relevant state law.

Call 732-422-1000 today for a consultation.

If you are considering forming a small business, you should speak to a lawyer regardless of your student loan debt load. In many instances, a lawyer can help you avoid experiencing legal problems that could have a negative effect on the success of your business. To learn more, call Borrus, Goldin, Foley, Vignuolo, Hyman & Stahl, PC today to schedule a consultation with a business law attorney.

The Impact Child Custody Can Have on Your Family

Getting a divorce often has a significant impact on every aspect of your life. This is particularly true for couples who have children, who can also be substantially affected by a divorce. One of the most important factors in determining how a family will be affected by a divorce is the child custody arrangement that is put in place after the dissolution is finalized. A child custody order will determine issues regarding decision-making authority regarding important issues as to how a child is raised and determine the amount of time each parent can spend with the child.

There are a number of ways that a child custody arrangement can affect your family, including the following:

  • Determine which parent the child lives with
  • Significantly reduce one parent’s access to his or her child
  • Prevent one parent from moving or exploring professional opportunities in other geographic areas
  • Keep parents in contact with one another when they would otherwise end their relationship
  • Expose children to stressful situations due to the issues in their parent’s relationship

A New Jersey Family Law Attorney Can Have a Significant Impact on the Outcome of Your Child Custody Dispute

New Jersey has significant discretion when making child custody decisions and make these decisions in accordance with what they believe is in the best interests of the child. When determining the best interests of the child, courts look to a number of factors, including the safety of the child, the child’s preferences (in some cases), the proximity of the parents’ homes to one another, whether there is any history of domestic violence, the parents’ ability to communicate and agree in regard to matters related to the child, and many others. Importantly, courts are also allowed to consider any other factor related to the best interests of the child, which functionally means that a judge can consider anything that he or she wants to consider. For this reason, it is critical for anyone involved in child custody dispute to retain an attorney. A skilled lawyer will be able to compile and present evidence in support of your custody goals, either by establishing your qualifications as a parent or disputing those of your child’s other parent.

Call 732-422-1000 today for a consultation.

If you are involved in a child custody dispute or believe that one may be around the corner, you should speak to a child custody lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule a consultation with attorneys, call Borrus, Goldin, Foley, Vignuolo, Hyman & Stahl, PC today at 732-422-1000.

Do I Need an Estate Plan?

If you are like many people, you may hear the term “estate plan” and immediately assume that the information that follows is not directed at you. This usually stems from the misconception that estate planning is only for the wealthy and for people who actually have an “estate.”

Here’s the reality: if you are reading this article, it is very likely that you have an estate. Legally, the term “estate” simply refers to the totality of a person’s assets and debts. So, if you own a home, a car, personal property, or anything else, you have an estate. An estate plan is a plan that addresses the way your assets will be handled when you pass away that can also have tax benefits and asset protection benefits. It is never too early to start the process of estate planning, so it is advisable to call an estate planning attorney as soon as you can to discuss your options.

Estate Planning to Avoid Probate

One of the main goals of estate planning is avoid having your assets go through probate before your heirs and beneficiaries can take possession of them. If you pass away in New Jersey with or without a will, your property will have to go through probate. During this process, if you have a will, your will is validated and interpreted, debts are handled, taxes paid, and assets are transferred. If you pass away without a will, the probate court will apply New Jersey’s intestacy laws in order to determine who will inherit your assets.

The problem with probate is that it can take a long time and cost an estate a significant amount of money. If there are disputes, the will arise during probate, and complicated estates can take years to settle. In addition, attorney’s fees, appraiser’s fees, court fees, and executor fees can easily cost even a modest estate thousands of dollars. Fortunately, a well-thought out estate plan can often avoid probate entirely. Some of the ways that an attorney can help you avoid probate include:

  • Placing your assets in a living trust
  • Using beneficiary deeds for the ownership of real estate
  • Joint ownership of assets
  • Designated beneficiary bank accounts

Call 732-422-1000 today for a consultation.

A comprehensive estate plan can provide you with significant peace of mind and ensure that your estate is protected for years to come. To speak with a skilled New Jersey estate planning lawyer, call Borrus, Goldin, Foley, Vignuolo, Hyman & Stahl, PC today at 732-422-1000. If you would prefer, you can send us an email through our online contact form.

Don’t Play Pokémon Go and Drive

If you spend any time online or watching the news, you probably have heard of Pokémon Go, a wildly popular smartphone game that was released earlier this summer. The app uses a technology known as “augmented reality” that superimposes images onto a user’s real world surroundings by using the phone’s camera function. The game involves users moving through the real world while looking “through” their phones to collect various in-game items and Pokémon, which are fictional creatures.

The popularity of the game has prompted many law enforcement agencies around the country to issue warnings regarding playing and driving, according to this report. These warnings are not being issued without reason, as there have been reports of serious accidents caused by Pokémon Go since the app was released.

Distracted Driving Can Cause Serious Accidents

Pokémon Go is just another example of the significant and dangerous distractions that smartphones can pose to drivers and others on the road. Between texting, checking email, taking calls, browsing the internet, and playing games, there are virtually limitless distractions that on can find on a smartphone. For this reason, many states and municipalities have prohibited drivers from using handheld electronic devices, with varying degrees of success.

Driver Distractions can be Low-Tech as Well

Distracted driving does not have to be the result of 21st-century technology to be dangerous, however. Even drivers who prudently put their phones away while driving can fall victim to distractions that have the potential to result in serious accidents. Some common examples of driver distractions include the following:

·         Grooming

·         Eating

·         Daydreaming

·         Drinking

·         Looking at scenery

·         Adjusting the radio

·         Looking at a map

·         Searching for items in the vehicle

·         Talking to passengers

·         Applying makeup

Fortunately for people who have been injured by distracted drivers, in most cases, they will be able to recover compensation for their losses. Common damages available in distracted driving cases include medical expenses, property damages, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering. TO learn whether you will be able to recover compensation, call a personal injury attorney today.

Call 732-422-1000 today for a consultation.

If you have been hurt by a distracted driver, you should contact a New Jersey personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The attorneys of Borrus, Goldin, Foley, Vignuolo, Hyman & Stahl, PC have over 50 years of experience practicing law in the state of New Jersey and provide aggressive legal representation to the victims of preventable accidents. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, call us today at 732-422-1000 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Two Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Estate planning is the process through which you can make sure that your assets are distributed the way that you want them to be when you pass away. In the absence of a well-crafted and comprehensive estate plan, state law will determine what happens to your hard-earned assets and your estate could be tied up in expensive probate proceedings for a significant period of time.

One of the main goals of New Jersey estate planning is to have as few assets go through probate as possible. Anything that is passed through a will goes through probate, so many people use beneficiary designations on certain accounts of forms of joint ownership to avoid probate. Here are two common estate planning mistakes that can happen when trying to avoid having your assets go through probate.

POD Bank Accounts that Do Not Match Will Beneficiaries

When you open a bank account, you may have the option of designating a person to whom the account will transfer if you pass away. These accounts are generally known as Payable on Death or POD accounts. Years later, as the assets in the account grow and the circumstances of your life change, you may execute a will that designates another person as the beneficiary of that account. Unfortunately, these types of bank account designations generally override the terms of a will, which can result in your assets being distributed differently than you had intended.

Beneficiaries Designation that are at Odds with the Terms of Your Will

Insurance policies, retirement accounts, annuity, and similar assets generally pass to a named beneficiary. As a result, beneficiary designations are often an important part of your overall estate plan. Unfortunately, when people execute a will, they often forget to update the beneficiaries of these accounts often causing conflict among family members and other beneficiaries. For this reason, it is important to regularly review beneficiary designations and ensure that they still reflect your wishes.

Call 732-422-1000 today for a consultation.

If you need to create an estate plan or simply have not reviewed your current estate plan in some time, you should speak with an estate planning attorney as soon as you can. At Borrus, Goldin, Foley, Vignuolo, Hyman & Stahl, PC, we are committed to helping individuals protect their assets for future generations. To schedule a case evaluation, call our office today.