AdobeStock_69821783-300x206By Paul T. Czepiga

Let’s set the stage. You are a professional service provider and are concerned about professional liability exposure. Or you are engaged in a business that is high risk and you are worried about being sued.

So your lawyer said put all your assets in your spouse’s name.

Well, that generally works. But the solution creates its own problem, which is shown by the following example of a married couple. Continue reading

AdobeStock_57691850-300x287By Paul T. Czepiga

You have just gone through a long and insightful process to get your affairs in order. You met with your financial advisor, accountant, insurance agent, and attorney. Part of this process included creating a living trust in your estate planning documents. The trust could be for a minor child until age 40 or maybe even for their lifetime, or a trust for your spouse. You named a trustee, more than one actually, because you needed an alternate trustee in case the first one you named in the document couldn’t or didn’t want to serve, either initially or later on.

But what if it turns out the trustee you named ends up not being the best choice?

If you are still alive and the trust document allows for amendment, you can change the trustee. But what if change might be warranted, but the document does not allow you to change it or you have died and can’t change it? Continue reading

AdobeStock_133177217-300x169The process of properly handling inherited property can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the relevant laws and legal procedures. For instance, how do you know whether or not you’ll need to go through probate?

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

AdobeStock_58147411-300x169You may have personally experienced the calming effect of an animal — the contented purring of a cat or the companionable presence of a dog. But did you know that many scientific studies have proven that spending time with animals, even as few as 15 minutes, can actually change your brain chemistry in positive ways?

“A small pet animal is often an excellent companion for the sick, for long chronic cases especially.” In 1859, Florence Nightingale wrote this in her book, Notes On Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not,

One hundred fifty-eight years later, her advice still rings true, and not only for the sick, but also for seniors. In fact, it can be said without much argument that everyone — young and old, sick and well — can benefit from spending time with animals.

AdobeStock_51794626-300x196No one should ever have to pretend to be someone they’re not.

This is especially true later in life when a person has, by dint of having years’ worth of life experience, earned the right to live authentically, without fear of judgment or discrimination.

Tragically, however, denying their truth and hiding behind lies is exactly what many senior LGBT people must do to receive quality care in elder care facilities.  Similarly, they are struggling to navigate legal and financial issues related to medical care, insurance, health proxy designations, and inheritance.

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

AdobeStock_60968592-300x300By Peter Smith

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

AdobeStock_61297585-300x200By David Green
Contrary to popular belief, a Will or Last Will and Testament, isn’t always written in stone.

Quite frequently, disputes arise over the contents of a Will and the parties who are at odds must seek outside help to resolve the issues. Because there are often conflicts of interest around such disputes, it’s important for each party Continue reading

tree-of-love-4-1330924-m-250x300Finding love for the second time is a beautiful thing, but amidst all the fireworks and violins, it’s important to be aware that second marriages typically create the need for some fairly in-depth estate planning.

To ensure wedded bliss and family harmony far beyond the wedding day, it’s critical to proactively address how your nuptials will affect your financial liabilities, existing benefits, and distribution of your assets to loved ones.

1.      Communicate Like a Pro

The first step to ensure success in such matters is to have open and comprehensive conversations with your spouse and your family. You must clearly articulate your wishes and your concerns, and you must also provide a forum in which family members can share their thoughts and concerns. Continue reading

more-questions-1238452-m-300x225By Paul T. Czepiga

Well, well, well, what  do you know. Congress once again might tinker with the estate tax.

This is something they are wont to do with new administrations and when certain legislators want to make a statement.

Given the recently failed “repeal and replace” of the Affordable Care Act and what appears to be President Trump’s next focus—income tax reform—it is hard to tell whether estate tax concerns will get sufficient attention for any legislative changes. Or whether sufficient votes could be mustered for any changes to the estate tax. Continue reading

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