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By E. Jennifer Reale

Words cannot describe how hard it is to see a loved one suffer from an alcohol or drug problem.  Families go to great lengths to get loved ones the help they desperately need, but despite numerous attempts, treatment is often refused.

While it is certainly not easy to commit someone to a rehabilitation facility against the person’s wishes, under Connecticut law, it is a possibility.

AdobeStock_187262416-300x200We may not have flying cars or robot butlers yet, but technology is constantly edging us closer and closer to the world of the future that used to exist only in cartoons like The Jetsons. While many of the latest technology products are marketed primarily as nice-to-have devices that offer entertainment or convenience, there is a whole other application for these items. Wearables and text-to-speech programs and voice-activated devices can be very helpful, but they can be life-changing to someone who is disabled or elderly.

For people with mobility issues, impaired vision, speech disorders, and other challenges, assistive technologies can make all kinds of tasks easier. The ever-growing range of “smart home” devices is an area of particular interest. These primarily voice-activated products offer a novel solution for busy people who feel the need to multitask, but for others they can be a powerful new tool for handling the day-to-day tasks needed to remain independent.

So-called “smart home” technology  refers to devices that connect to, monitor, and control physical objects such as thermostats, blinds, security cameras, lighting, music, computers, and so forth. These smart devices are used to manage a broad range of elements including a home’s environment and energy use, ambiance or atmosphere (lighting, music, etc.), entertainment, and security.

AdobeStock_157195763-300x200What was the last book you read?

According to the most recent American Time Use Survey, leisure reading in the United States has hit an all-time low. Since 2003, the overall percent of people aged 15 and older reading for pleasure on any given day has dropped from 28 to 19 percent. And the decline in reading among people ages 65+ isn’t any less dramatic. 

It’s easy to blame the proliferation of digital devices for the decline of reading among younger generations, but how about among more mature audiences? Have we replaced reading books with watching television (as a long-term study from the Netherlands suggests), or does the reason have less to do with other media types and more to do with either a lack of time or maybe compromised eyesight?

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Assigning and updating beneficiary designations for your retirement plans, life insurance policies, and annuities are tasks that notoriously get ignored. While the process itself is usually pretty straightforward — putting someone’s name on a form — the consequences of your choice can be fairly substantial. Don’t wait any longer!

Who to choose as beneficiaries

You can name any of the usual suspects as a beneficiary — your spouse, children, or other relatives. You can also name friends, trusts, charities, and even various institutions like colleges, universities, libraries, and so forth.

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Since our primary goal for clients with special needs is to help them build a life within the greater community, we are always looking for additional resources to help us accomplish this goal. We are pleased to introduce you to Aimee McBride, the most recent addition to our team.

Aimee, care manager for Connecticut Community Care, is now part of our special needs planning department. She will work closely with our special needs trust beneficiaries and will perform assessments and develop care plans with the objective of keeping our beneficiaries in their preferred environment.  She will also help to ensure they are receiving all the state and federal benefits that they are entitled to as well as getting access to appropriate home care services.

“We are excited to expand the firm’s advocacy for our families,” says Attorney Colleen Masse, head of our special needs planning department.  “With so many programs and services available, it can be overwhelming for individuals to navigate alone.  Adding Aimee to our team expands our ability to help maximize our clients’ independence and quality of life. “

AdobeStock_29742651-300x225Building and growing an independent family business is an accomplishment to be proud of. It takes an enormous amount of passion, ingenuity, and downright grit. Preserving and protecting your business also requires some effort, but it’s a task many business owners overlook or put off.

Business succession planning, like any kind of estate planning, is something that should be addressed with the help of a professional well in advance of the actual event. Unfortunately, the majority of family business owners are missing that window of opportunity. According to a 2016 survey from Pricewaterhouse Coopers, while 69% of family businesses surveyed expected the next generation to take over the business, only 23% had invested in creating a robust and well-documented business succession plan.

It’s not difficult to understand how business owners find themselves without a succession plan. It’s a complex and time-consuming process that involves addressing hard realities and tough questions. But, it’s also a task that’s well worth the investment of time and money in the long run.

AdobeStock_46432121-300x290Spring is nearly here, and with it the urge to do some spring cleaning. To make your seasonal chores more enjoyable, you might want to consider spicing things up with one of the two latest trends in decluttering and setting things to rights: The KonMari MethodTM or Swedish death cleaning.

Get Joyful and Tidied Up with Marie Kondo

In case you haven’t read her book or caught her Netflix show or read one of her gazillion interviews, let me first introduce you to Marie Kondo, the diminutive organizing enchantress from Japan who is leading the charge on the global tidying movement.

AdobeStock_41168140-300x225By Esther Corcoran

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of growing older, as many people seem to think. It is a disease that impairs memory and intellectual abilities to the point where their daily life is being affected. When people notice things in their daily life changing, there are 10 early signs to be aware of and to keep into consideration before seeking medical help. 

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Memory loss is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially forgetting recently learned information. Other instances include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

blooming-rose-1446185-m-300x210We’ve all heard about the importance of reviewing and possibly updating important legal documents after major life events like getting married, getting divorced, and having a child. But many people overlook the importance of reviewing their own documents and estate plans after the death of a spouse.

In addition to having to cope with the grief, a surviving spouse is often heavily involved in administering or overseeing his or her mate’s estate. Often, this means that the surviving spouse’s own legal matters are, at least temporarily, put on the back burner.

It is crucial, however, that the surviving spouse’s estate planning be handled in as timely a manner as possible.

AdobeStock_44015480-300x271Many people mistakenly assume that Social Security is a fairly cut-and-dry proposition. You turn 62 – you get your long-awaited Social Security benefits. Right?

Well, it is not that straight-forward.

It is actually a very complex system that is best navigated under the guidance of a professional who knows something about the more than 8,000 different ways to claim Social Security.

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