Longtime probate judge and retired Probate Court Administrator joins our litigation team


Paul-k-200x300We are pleased to announce our expansion into the dispute resolution practice area.  With a specific focus on probate and elder law dispute resolution, our firm now provides mediation and arbitration services. Paul Knierim, the recently retired Connecticut Probate Court Administrator, has joined the firm to lead this initiative.

During his eleven years as head of the probate court system, Paul was responsible for policy leadership and operation of all 54 of the state’s probate courts. He has been recognized for launching numerous initiatives which include the enactment of stronger judicial ethics code, expanding continuing education for judges and court staff, establishing better support and oversight for conservators and the complete overhaul of the rules of procedure that govern probate cases.

hammer-to-fall-673264-mImagine this…

After your death, your daughter is having serious financial struggles and the money you’ve bequeathed to her would pull her out of financial misery. It would help her to pay your funeral and other outstanding expenses.

But, because by law your estate must pass through probate, it will take several months before your daughter can receive the money you have  left her.

In the meantime, a disgruntled step-son from a prior marriage decides to pursue a Will contest, claiming that the Will is not valid and that he deserves some money, too. He knows the amount of the estate because the probate process is a matter of public record.

You can imagine how the rest of the story goes and how, although you had an estate plan and the best intentions Continue reading

receipts-300x236The saying “you can’t take it with you” is meant to remind people that no matter how much wealth you accumulate in your lifetime, you’ll have to leave it behind when you shuffle off this mortal coil. Unfortunately, for your heirs, the same goes for your debts.

Turns out that dying is no excuse for defaulting on debt. The pertinent questions then become

a) who is responsible for making good on any financial obligations, and

images-300x168The connection between humans and dogs is one that hearkens back to ancient and even prehistoric times. Archaeological evidence of canine domestication dates back some 15,000 years, and some experts believe our interspecies love affair may stretch as far back as 30,000 years ago.

While there is still some debate about just how long we humans have been vulnerable to the charms of big, sad puppy eyes and fluffy tummies, there is no question that our relationship with these animals has evolved greatly over the ages. In the earliest days, dogs helped with hunting and guarding in exchange for a share of the food and the comforts of life in a mixed-species pack.

Today, dogs are primarily cherished companions—four-legged family members. But there are still many who pull their weight by providing all kinds of valuable services to the humans they love.

AdobeStock_170542423-300x200By Jeffrey S. Rivard

Exciting news for estate planning practitioners and their clients!

Recently, on the very last day of its legislative session, Connecticut’s General Assembly enacted HB 7104 “An Act Concerning Adoption of the Connecticut Uniform Trust Code” (the “Act”).

fun young woman scolding or reprimanding with softnessWe spend our lives doing everything we can to provide for our loved ones. We work hard to make sure they have the material, emotional, and financial resources they need to feel secure and cared for.

We do whatever we can to help them achieve their goals.

But, life can be unpredictable; and you can’t plan for every potential eventuality. Life insurance provides a means by which you can preserve your family members’ well-being and ensure their ability to pursue their dreams.

And yet, many people choose not to purchase life insurance. Go figure! Continue reading

AdobeStock_69276169-300x200Seeking competitive advantages is a key part of any business’ survival strategy. Whether you are running an auto parts store, advertising agency, or global tech firm, your venture has a better chance at long-term success if you are able to uncover unique ways to gain an edge over your competitors. Today, some of the savviest corporations and small businesses are doing just that by hiring people with disabilities.

There are a great many misconceptions about how employees with disabilities affect the efficiency and profitability of the companies that hire them. Far too many people still believe long-outdated ideas about the capabilities of individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. Recent research, however, is breaking down these archaic notions to reveal the huge potential in an inclusive and diverse workforce that includes people with disabilities.

Take for instance the findings of the U.S. Department of Labor, which reported that employers who embrace disability as a core part of their staffing plan typically see:

AdobeStock_56917751-300x200It’s never too late to explore your artistic side. In fact, many people discover that the second half of life is the perfect time to learn an art or craft.

Whether you decide to pick up a pencil or a paintbrush, sit down at a potter’s wheel, or strap on some dancing shoes, the arts offer countless opportunities for enrichment, fulfillment, and joy.

Many of our most beloved artists got their starts later in life. Monet didn’t get serious about painting until he was in his forties. Forty may be young by today’s standards, but in Monet’s day the average life expectancy hovered around the early sixties, making forty almost “venerable.”

AdobeStock_85578442-300x200There is no right way to grieve the loss of a loved one.

There is plenty of advice, but anyone who has first-hand experience will tell you that each of us needs to find our own way. Coming to terms with such loss is a process, and it’s one that can take many forms.

An important part of the process for many is memorializing the deceased in some way. Traditionally, commemoration of an individual’s life takes place over the course of a wake, a funeral, and a burial. These rites and rituals, with deep cultural and sociological roots, often help to give friends and family some closure. At the same time, the grave site provides a physical space where those in mourning can go to grieve, to remember, to converse with the dead.

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