Articles Posted in Estate Planning

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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.

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.

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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 Life changes can render various parts of your Will and other estate planning documents out of date, and that can lead to some serious consequences.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

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