An estate planning attorney develops a custom-developed legal and financial protection program for managing your affairs during your lifetime. It’s so much more than just a plan for distributing assets when you pass away. People ask us if they really need an estate plan. No matter your wealth or lack thereof, or your age, even if you are still young, an estate plan helps you have a better life. Everyone has goals; for a career, a family or not, leisure pursuits, etc. Why not have an estate plan that reflects your goals and protects your hard-earned assets? As you build a life, your estate plan can be modified to reflect your status as your life evolves. This helps reduce the worry factor as you progress through the ups and downs of life.
As we begin the estate planning process, we ask you to tell us what’s important to you. The answers vary. The goals differ. We ask many questions, so we can understand your situation. We work to understand the variety of issues you face now and might experience in the future as your life unfolds. We ask about multi-generational specifics, how each one in your family is cared for and why. During this initial estate planning process, our clients become part of our own extended family.
Planning for Your Future
Estate planning is a client centered activity. Once a foundation of knowledge and openness is established, we dive deeper into the specifics. We learn enough about you to see where our recommendations might be useful to you. It’s a balance between how our knowledge of the law can be brought to bear on the vulnerabilities and strengths of your situation. Myriad details are addressed in a variety of legal and financial solutions that are custom built to suit your purpose and goals. In the following paragraphs, we delve into some of the elements of an estate plan that may be useful to you in solving problems and meeting goals.
Estate Planning Law
Today’s families are often a blend of previous marriages and divorces, with multiple grandparents, aunts and uncles, parents, siblings and even pets. When someone passes away, the laws of Connecticut are specific about lines of inheritance and how assets must be distributed. Connecticut law does not always treat a blended family situation the same as a nuclear family in an estate distribution. This often leads to surprises among family members who expected different outcomes. An estate plan can make your desires and intentions a reality despite how the laws are written. Our estate planning attorneys understand how to navigate the law to carry out your intentions legally.
Trusts and Asset Protection
In some cases, a trust is a better mechanism for passing on assets to heirs than a will, but not always. There are many different types of trusts for accomplishing different goals. Unlike a will, a trust is not part of an estate, so the passing of assets is confidential, whereas a will is probated in court, making it public knowledge. Not only that, a trust is a benefit that can be enjoyed during your lifetime. There are many types of trusts. Different trusts accomplish different goals. Depending upon the type of trust, a trust can help you protect assets from creditors and predators. It can protect relatives who may still be young, or sick, or learning how to manage money. If you wish to learn more about trusts, click here.
People often believe that if they have a will, they don’t need to worry about an estate plan. Many people don’t keep their wills current; they believe it’s a one and done situation. When you die with a will in place, the transfer of your assets is handled by a probate court. Among the first items of business in probate court is to establish if the will is valid. If a will is not valid, your assets are distributed according to the laws of Connecticut. This often leads to surprises and hurt feelings among those left behind by your passing.
Estate Tax Planning and Gift Tax Planning
Since tax law fluctuates, let us help you determine the best way to manage your financial affairs so you and the recipients of your assets can legally avoid paying taxes.
Estate Planning for Special Situations
Your estate plan should consider any special situations in your life now, or that may become important as you age. For example, perhaps you have a relative with special needs who should not lose government benefits when you pass and leave an inheritance. Another example might be planning for long-term care financing so you don’t have to sell the family house to pay for care.
Conservatorship to Protect a Loved One
A conservatorship may be an excellent solution when life’s problems become overwhelming. It may be necessary to put into place legal protection of an adult or child by someone who is trusted and desired. An adult who was in an accident, say, and becomes incapacitated temporarily, may need someone to handle his or her affairs until recovered. Someone may suffer from an illness, psychological disorder or addiction that renders the individual incapable of managing his or her own affairs. A single parent may not be able to care for a child due to incarceration. In such situations, we can help establish a conservatorship.
Courts are tasked with establishing conservatorships. A conservatorship is different from a durable power of attorney. Some people believe that if they have a Healthcare Power of Attorney or Medical Directive, they don’t need a conservatorship for someone who is temporarily incapacitated. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Safeguarding Tomorrow, a Client Care Plan
We have a program for keeping your estate and asset protection current, so it reflects your life situation as it evolves. It is important to remember that an estate plan is a living, breathing thing, so to speak, that reflects your life as you live it. Click here to read about this program.
Let's Get Started – Reach Out to Us
We practice law in many Connecticut counties including Dayville, Hartford, New London, Tolland, Vernon and Windham. There are many elements in an estate plan. Let us help you develop a customized estate plan that reflects your situation, goals and aspiration. To learn more about the many elements of our estate planning law practice and how we might help you, connect with us today by clicking here Contact Us to find the form on this website. Fill it out and send it in. Or just call us at 860.928.2429.