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Greenwich Connecticut Estate Planning Law Blog

How do you keep the kids from fighting over your estate?

You thought that the sibling rivalry between your children was pretty rough to handle when they were young but thought it would fade. Instead, your adult children have become more deeply entrenched in their rivalry than ever. In fact, they can be downright antagonistic toward each other.

What happens when you're gone? Unless you want your estate to be torn apart and devalued in a bitter feud, it helps to understand what starts an estate fight between siblings -- so that you can take steps now to mitigate the fallout from your death.

These 3 tips can help you lower the value of your estate

Your estate is worth millions, so you know that there is a true risk of facing an estate tax. While an estate tax is only charged on those who have an estate worth $11.4 million or more as of 2019, the reality is that any amount over that amount is highly taxed. Estate taxes may not seem fair, and you are right to start looking into ways to reduce the taxes you face.

Estate tax limits are always changing, so these options are a good idea to limit and reduce your estate's value to a point where you won't be at risk. Here are three great ways to reduce the risk of being taxed.

Connecticut may tax estate of high value

When is it the right time to plan an estate? The question may remind some of the old joke "don't think of an elephant." Obviously, you have to think of an elephant if someone says it. So, if you can ask if you should plan your estate, you probably should.

It's not just a game for people who are middle aged or older. Clarifying your goals for loved ones, charitable causes and business opportunities can help bring peace of mind to you and your family. Also, early planning can help maximize the effectiveness of your estate for the people and organizations that survive you.

Seeking a conservatorship for your relative

If you have elderly or very ill parents or grandparents or other relatives, the time may come when they can no longer care for themselves. Should that unfortunate day come, you might find yourself in the unenviable position of having to determine whether or not to seek a conservatorship for them.

Conservators are appointed by the probate court to oversee an individual's personal affairs or finances. Involuntary conservatorships can be sought when the person's infirmity renders them unable to make rational decisions for themselves.

You found 3 wills in Mom's stuff: Now what?

Losing your mother was hard, so it wasn't easy to sort through her personal papers and other items -- but you knew it was a necessary task. For one thing, you needed to find her will.

The only problem is that you found three wills instead of just one. All three wills are somewhat different and, as her executor, you have one big question: What do you do now?

What do conservators actually do?

Anybody can end up needing a conservator. Young children who are left without parents due to illness or accidents may need them. So, too, may younger adults who suffer from severe developmental disorders or other conditions. Seniors may need them due to advancing dementia or their general physical decline.

What do conservators actually do?

Do you need to refine your estate plan?

It's that time of year again: You should review your estate plans to see if they still meet your needs. Estate planning is seldom a "one and done" type of experience. Because life is full of changes and surprises, it's smart to go over your plans every year around this time to make certain that they are complete.

Here are a few places to start:

Who has the right to challenge a will?

Creating a strong will and estate plan is one of the most effective ways to ensure that your legacy and property pass on to the people and organizations that matter to you. Unfortunately, the process of executing a person's wishes after they pass away can cause a great deal of tension. Often, tensions arise among heirs and beneficiaries, particularly when one party or another disagrees with the decedent's wishes.

A person who challenges a will must typically have the legal grounds to do so. This depends on the relationship between a person challenging a will and the will's creator, was well as several other factors. If you believe that one or more of your heirs or beneficiaries may challenge your will, now is the time to examine your will and estate plan. With careful attention and strong legal tools, you can reduce the likelihood of a successful challenge to your wishes, ensuring that your legacy passes on as intended.

Do you have what it takes to be a health care proxy?

Whether you call it a "health care proxy" or medical power of attorney, taking on the responsibility for someone else's medical treatment can be a daunting task.

Do you have what it takes? Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself:

Don't let the state choose your hiers

You've amassed a few significant assets in your lifetime, but you don't have any direct descendants and no other relatives you care to consider your heirs. So, how do you decide who should be the beneficiary of your estate?

This is an important question. If you don't make some decisions about this issue, the likelihood is that a judge eventually will. Your hard-earned wealth could end up going to people that you don't necessarily know (or like) -- or it could be gobbled up by the state.

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