AdobeStock_141959265-300x200There are few planning tasks more daunting than applying for Medicaid. The process is intimidating and can quickly become overwhelming, not merely because it’s complicated but also because it opens up a Pandora’s Box of legally nuanced questions and concerns.

This is not a task anyone can afford to botch, and it’s something that you have to get right on the first try.

Because of the challenges, most people seek help navigating the Medicaid labyrinth. While there are many reputable Connecticut elder law attorneys who assist with Medicaid applications and asset protection planning, there is also a dangerous new breed of “senior planning” providers that is preying on elderly nursing home residents, often reducing them to financial ruin. 

FYI-300x200Wolters Kluwer came out with their annual inflation adjustment projections which reflect several increased thresholds and ceilings you should be aware of. The IRS is expected to release the official amount later this year.

Of particular note:

1)  The trust and estate maximum income tax bracket (37%) is reached at $12,750, up from $12,500.

Thinking of creating your own Will or other estate planning documents? After all, there are lots of web sites with legal document templates available – they make it sound easy.

And of course there’s the cost savings. Why pay a Connecticut estate planning lawyer for something you can do on your own?

The answer is simple: There’s a darn good chance that do-it-yourself legal documents might end up costing you, and your loved ones, more than you think.

If it’s not tailored to where you live…

…then there’s a chance that the document template language isn’t relevant for the state or county you live in. Each jurisdiction has its own laws and regulations – and they change. Filing a document that isn’t appropriate for your state could render your papers null and void.

Think about how that could impact your loved ones after you die.

Continue reading

AdobeStock_35685286-182x300By E. Jennifer Reale

It happens more often than you might imagine. After losing a loved one, family members discover that the deceased’s life insurance policy is about to be paid out to an unexpected beneficiary. Such news can come as a nasty shock, and—unfortunately—it can herald an uphill battle to get the situation resolved.

Given that a life insurance or annuity is a direct contact between the insured (the deceased) and the company providing the insurance/annuity, the claims are settled independently from any Will or Trust that the deceased may have had in place.

female-portrait-3-1205972-m

By Lara Schneider-Bomzer

This is the time of year when children are getting ready to head off to college or moving out on their own and into the workforce.

Don’t let out of sight be out of mind!

With this rite of passage comes new challenges and responsibilities.  And one of them, you may be surprised, should be to prepare estate planning documents.

While many of you may have a Power of Attorney, an Appointment of a Health Care Representative and a Last Will and Testament as part of your estate plan, how many of your children and/or grandchildren have one as well? Continue reading

AdobeStock_36993267-300x201
By Carol Frances

As both a mother and a daughter, my roles have always been clear. As part of the sandwich generation, caring for and guiding my precious children and my aging parents have been part of my life for years. I never doubted the value of my roles – I whole-heartedly loved being able to provide guidance, support and comfort. And as much as I can hope to know, I believe I made a positive difference in their lives.

So why would I be surprised how shutdown I became when, in a span of 6 weeks, my mom passed away and my last child flew the nest?

Powers of attorney are a wonderful tool in the hands of a trustworthy person. But because it comes with a tremendous responsibility, it can also be a dangerous tool in the hands of the wrong person. 

Learn all you can before choosing your power of attorney. We have had too many cases where the wrong choice resulted in exploitation or abuse by a family member or friend.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a document where you authorize someone, often called an agent, to act on your behalf should you no longer be able to do so. Examples include paying your bills, managing your investments. Continue reading

AdobeStock_140349446-300x200By E. Jennifer Reale and Robert Fitzgerald

When appointed as a conservator for a loved one, most people focus on the care they have to provide. They are busy driving the conserved person to medical appointments, taking care of shopping, cooking, and cleaning.

But when you are a conservator in Connecticut, you also have certain statutory duties that you must be aware of. What many people do not realize is that after you are appointed as a conservator, you are effectively an agent of the Probate Court.

AdobeStock_92025128-300x300By Jeff Rivard

Nobody plans on being isolated and vulnerable.  But unfortunately all too many elders in Connecticut face that phenomenon every day.  The sad circumstances of 95-year-old Stan Lee, the legendary creator of Spider Man, Iron Man, and hundreds of other beloved comic book heroes and villains, can serve an illustration of the kind of issues faced by many of our older clients.

Mr. Lee had a long, prolific career as a writer, editor, film producer, and publisher.  He also served for many years as the editor-in-chief and publisher of Marvel Comics.  Thanks to his professional success, Mr. Lee’s wealth is currently estimated at approximately $50 million.

Dollarphotoclub_88177383-300x300Taxpayers will be able to file federal income taxes starting next filing season on a new postcard-sized Form 1040. The IRS officially released the draft 2018 Form 1040 on June 29th.

Draft Form 1040

According to the IRS, the new base Form 1040 will be finalized this summer. The IRS plans to work with the tax community to finalize the form. “This early release is part of our standard process to invite stakeholder input into draft forms before finalizing them,” the IRS spokesperson told Wolters Kluwer.

Members of: