Articles Posted in Litigation

By E. Jennifer RealeAdobeStock_116263415-300x200

Trustees have been given an important responsibility to administer an estate. But not all trustees live up to what is expected of them. If you are having problems with a trustee and considering legal options against them but the trustee is discouraging you from taking action by denying you information, and telling you that he or she has a defense under the terms of the trust, there are some things you should know.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions about the protection a trustee can enjoy under the terms of the trust:

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?  

By E. Jennifer Reale

AdobeStock_208851607-300x212Contesting a Will or other transfers on the grounds that the person signing the Will lacked the capacity to do so, is both difficult and emotional. But it’s something that comes up quite frequently in my practice.

In Connecticut there are two different standards to determine capacity:

 

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

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.

By Attorney Carmine Perri

Close up of eviction noticeGoing to a nursing home is hard enough, imagine being evicted? Good news. There are laws in place to prevent that from happening.

Within a nursing home, just like any other place you call home, you are entitled to certain rights. These rights include not being able to be evicted for any reason beyond the six listed in the United States’ Code:

  1. The discharge is necessary for the resident’s welfare and his or her needs cannot be met in the facility.
  2. The resident’s health has improved and no longer needs the facility’s services.
  3. The resident is endangering the safety of others.
  4. The resident is endangering the health of others.
  5. The resident has failed to pay for (or to have paid under Medicare or Medicaid) a stay at the facility.
  6. The facility ceases to operate.

Continue reading

AdobeStock_77977180-300x200By E. Jennifer Reale

“This is the last thing Mom and Dad would have wanted” – one of the most common sentences I hear when representing clients in contested probate litigation.

When a Will or a trust or even the actions of a trustee are challenged, there often is what we call an extensive discovery, which brings to light personal information that you’d rather not go public.

MG_4904-300x200In a decision released February 1, 2018, the Connecticut Supreme Court found in favor of the plaintiffs, represented by one of our principals Carmine Perri, who had challenged the Commissioner of Social Services over a determination from the Department of Social Services (DSS) regarding whether or not a preexisting spousal support order rendered by the Probate Court was binding on DSS.

The plaintiffs in the case were a father and his daughter; the daughter was acting in her capacity as conservator for her father and executrix of her father’s wife’s estate. Shortly after her father’s wife was discharged from a medical facility to a skilled nursing facility, the conservator filed an application in the Probate Court seeking an order of spousal support for her father.  The Probate Court approved the application thereby allowing the conservator to transfer the wife’s assets to the husband and ordered the conservator to pay the wife’s income to her father as monthly spousal support.

Less than a month after the Probate Court issued its decree, a Title XIX (Medicaid) application was filed with DSS on the wife’s behalf.  While DSS granted the application, it did not factor the previously existing Probate Court order when calculating how much money could be allocated to the support of the husband; in short, DSS ignored the Probate Court order when arriving at its calculation of spousal support.

AdobeStock_32607232-300x225This is the first in a two-part series about the realities of and remedies for sibling rivalry over family inheritance. The 2nd part in the series “How to Keep the Kids from Fighting Over Their Inheritance” provides tips on how to avoid these kinds of conflicts.

“Mom always liked you best,” Tommy Smothers used to say. Those five words make up one of the most recognizable catch phrases of the inimitable Smothers Brothers. Coined in the early 1960s, it captures — in a humorous way — the rivalry that is an almost ubiquitous part of growing up with siblings.

Most of the time, such rivalries fade over the years, becoming fodder for family ribbing around the holiday table. But when the passing of a parent drives siblings into the unfamiliar territory of dealing with an inheritance, those rivalries can rear their ugly heads in unexpected and sometimes heartbreaking ways.

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