Articles Posted in Estate Administration

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

AdobeStock_133177217-300x169How do you know whether or not you’ll need to go through probate?

The process of properly handling inherited property can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the relevant laws and legal procedures.

While there are unique elements to each case, there are some basic guidelines that are universally applicable.

The role of probate in CT and when it applies

Probate is the process for settling an estate under court supervision. It’s designed to serve as a protection against fraud by freezing the estate’s assets until a judge can confirm that everything is in order with the Will, beneficiaries, and creditors. Continue reading

240_F_165554826_xYrYqGfnlw7NiLoI42t8C88r6SOn57hsModern law offers a variety of ways for individuals to manage, distribute, and protect their property, whether it be for their own benefit or for that of a loved one.  A well-known, and yet seemingly complex, mechanism for doing so is a Trust.  But what does this mean for you, the beneficiary? 

Do you think you are a beneficiary of a trust but have never been contacted by the trustee?  

Have you ever had reason to believe that a trustee is mismanaging or not being truthful about trust assets?  

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.

Bidding on a homeYour spouse just passed away, and everything your spouse owned had a joint or beneficiary designation. All of your spouse’s assets go to you without having to go through probate first.

End of story, right?  Not exactly.

Did you know that you still have to file paperwork with the probate court?  At the very least, a Connecticut estate tax return must be filed, even if no tax is due.  Not filing can cause problems for you down the road, and here’s why. Continue reading

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Of all the things we do in taking care of our aging parents, dealing with their household stuff might be the most cumbersome. After all, when the end finally comes, it’s up to us to sort, store, sell, toss, donate, and clean everything until the home is empty.

This is no small task, especially in a time of grief. Where to start?

Here are some options for dealing with your parents’ items that won’t be finding a new home with family members. Remember that the more time you have, the more money you can make for the estate. Continue reading

Dollarphotoclub_87265157-300x200For most of us, debt is a way of life. We finance our cars and homes, we use our credit cards to pay for holiday gifts and vacations. We borrow money to send our kids to college. Even if we use credit wisely, we still may end up with a pile of debt at the end of our lives.

So who is responsible for paying it?

That depends on the situation. Continue reading

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When it comes to managing a trust, ensuring a smooth process has a lot to do with knowing the rules and paying attention to the details. For instance, if you are the trustee of a trust, did you know that you need to get a separate tax identification number for the trust?

The only scenario in which a new tax ID number is not needed is if you, as trustee, are also the surviving spouse and everything has been left to you outright or in a revocable trust. In such cases, you can use your Social Security number since, in essence, you are the rightful owner of any assets. Continue reading

New Car GiftWhen you die, someone is going to benefit from the use of your car. Wouldn’t it be nice to decide now exactly who that person should be?

The easiest way to transfer your car to someone you care about is to plan in advance. When registering a vehicle, you can designate a transfer-on-death (TOD) beneficiary, not unlike what you can do with a bank account.

How to designate a beneficiary

Simply complete the area reserved for this purpose on the reverse side of your registration certificate. If you do not have a registration certificate, or if you are registering a new vehicle, complete the Official Registration, Form H-13, and designate the Owner in Box 1 as “John Doe, Transfer on Death to Jane Doe.”

When you die, the transfer-on-death beneficiary need only bring a certified copy of your death certificate to the nearest Department of Vehicles office to have the registration transferred. Continue reading

Responsibility wooden sign with a street backgroundYou might get the news from an unexpected phone call.  Maybe you knew it would come someday, but were surprised when the day finally arrived.  Or perhaps no one told you, and you learned about it after stumbling upon your deceased parent’s trust.  No matter how it happens, the news is the same: You’ve been appointed a Successor Trustee.

How did you become trustee?

There are primarily two scenarios: Continue reading

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