Articles Posted in Estate Planning

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The worst estate planning mistake you can make is failing to have a plan.

The second worst mistake is assuming that if you have a plan, you’re done.

The truth is that regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan is an absolutely critical part of responsible estate planning. Defining your wishes about what happens to your money and property after you die is not, unfortunately, a set-it-and-forget-it task. Life changes can render various parts of your Will and other estate planning documents out of date, and that can lead to some serious consequences.

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There are few things more daunting than having to talk with your parents about their finances. And if you’re the parent with adult children, we imagine the conversation may be just as awkward for you. Although this blog post is written for the adult children, we recommend you continue reading nonetheless.

Talking about money is awkward enough, but broaching the subject of stepping in to manage your parents’ money adds a whole new layer of complexity to the conversation. If our clients over these 20 years are any indication, it is very likely, however, that your parents will eventually need your support  and begin to lose the capacity to manage their financial affairs effectively.

shutterstock_65729302Some words in your Last Will and Testament may seem like a foreign language to you, but they could have significant impact on your beneficiaries. Per stirpes, a Latin phrase that means “by the roots,” is used in many Wills to define how your estate is divided upon your death.

But what does it mean?

A more common phrase, per capita, may help you understand the meaning of per stirpes. Per capita means “by the head.” Here’s a situation to illustrate the difference between per capita and per stirpes.

Say you’re a widow. The value of your estate at the time of your death is $1 million. You have two children, Jennifer and Ryan. Jennifer has two children, and Ryan has one. Continue reading

 

By Carmine Perri

When we help clients develop their estate plans, one of the advance directives we encourage them to create is a Designation of Conservator. You decide ahead of time who will manage your affairs – and under what certain circumstances – if you become incapacitated.

So what is a conservator?

A conservator is a person appointed by the Probate Court to oversee the financial and/or personal affairs of an adult who is determined by the Probate Court to be incapable of Continue reading

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

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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

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_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.

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