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Greenwich Connecticut Estate Planning Law Blog

Adult children may become financial planners for parents

Most of our financial advice in early life comes from older family members. They have been around longer and we begin life trusting them and listening to them. So it can feel awkward when the tables are turned and it may be time for elders to require our advice.

The financial and estate plans of our parents almost inevitably affect our own life plans. This is not only true for children hoping to land sizable inheritances. The costs of retirement or the increased medical expenses associated with aging are often so massive that they spill over onto the next generation.

What are the terms to know in probate court?

Probate courts in Connecticut serve the vital purpose of bringing the services of the law to the people. Although the term "probate" comes up a lot in estate planning, it also covers important issues surrounding how people are taken care of, as well as identifying people who are legally responsible for others.

The meaning of "mother" and "father" often refers to the biological definition in connection with a child. But it always refers to a legal definition in court. A mother may be the biological or adoptive mother of a child, while similar meanings apply to fathers. Fathers may also gain legal status by signing a binding acknowledgment of paternity.

  • What about guardians, whether or not they are parents?

Guardians and conservators have different everyday duties

Managing our own problems can seem more than enough in life. But family sometimes need a little more from us when they are not able to handle the more complicated parts of life. This is often assumed for children and a little trickier for adults without the capacities to manage as adults.

There is a difference between a guardian and a conservator when it comes to managing a person who needs the help, known as a ward. A guardian is responsible for the personal care that a person needs but cannot provide, like lodging and nourishment. This is similar to role of a parent or guardian to a minor.

Gifts and trusts can save serious money in estate planning

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 increased the tax exclusion for gifts made during a person's life as well as estates left after death. People can give up to $11.4 million in property value, assets or other objects of value without having taxes assessed on their estate. Many observers believe this exemption may not last past 2025, which means the clock may be ticking.

Taxes are generally assessed on the change in value since a person acquired it. A house that was bought for $200,000, which would be called the basis in the profit equation, may now be worth $1 million. If that is the case, an owner would be liable for tax on $800,000 in profit if it is sold at the new value or left in a will to an inheritor.

4 situations when contesting a will makes sense

Drafting a will is one of the best ways to be certain your assets end up where you want them to go. Further, if someone in your life dies with a will in place, you do not have to second-guess his or her wishes. Still, not all wills are perfect. Sometimes, contesting a will in court is the best way to protect your loved one’s final decisions. 

Before you decide to challenge someone’s will, though, you must determine if you have legal standing. Put simply, standing means you have a legally recognized interest in the outcome of the case. Unfortunately, not everyone in Connecticut has standing to contest a will. On the contrary, typically only those who are heirs at law can challenge the validity of a will. Here are four situations when contesting a will probably makes sense.

Coventry probate case gets new complication with property removal

The business of working out who gets what after a death in the family is often difficult and fraught with emotions. Any loss, even expected ones, cause a sense of grief among loved ones and any old disagreements about the family china or the house can turn toxic. Probate courts in Connecticut are here to help people work out these disputes.

A probate saga continues in Coventry, where the estate of a respected herb farm has been in doubt for years. The widower of the farm's late founder claimed that although the ownership and operation of the estate are still being worked out in probate court, his personal possessions were fair game for removal. This was his argument when he removed a tractor from the estate's ground during his eviction.

Long-term care insurance may be part of a good estate plan

Estate planning is an important task that many people spend most of their life ignoring. End of life affairs are always difficult to approach because of the logistics and the emotions involved, and some people may be inclined to do as little as possible. But estate planning is something that has broad implications -- it isn't just about "who gets what."

Planning for later life involves planning for a period of time in which seniors should be enjoying their lives as much as possible but may also be at their most vulnerable. Medical issues, intense trauma or a failure of mental health can put aging people at risk, especially if they want to maintain their independence.

Do conservators ever get paid?

Many conservators in Connecticut are relatives of the people who need them. Several inherit the job from themselves, as guardians of minors who need help dealing with the more complicated aspects of life, because conservators only apply to people of adult age. But when no family member is available, the court may appoint a professional conservator.

How is a conservatorship managed as a job?

How to prepare for the family talk about your will

Movies and television have many people believing they only hear what was in a will after the person has already passed away. All your beneficiaries should receive a copy of the will upon your passing, but this should only be a formality. All beneficiaries should already know what the will contains because you spoke with them about it. 

No one wants to talk about death. However, it is vital for people to remain practical. You need to sit down and explain what is in your will with anyone named to receive something within the estate plan. This can be a difficult conversation, so it is vital to plan accordingly. 

Connecticut town deals with aftermath of probate ruling

One of the few guarantees that people have regarding the end of a life is that survivors will do their best to fulfill a person's substantive final wishes. If a decedent has left orders on how properties and assets should be shared to inheritors and beneficiaries, the government will support these orders in probate court.

Some people have larger and more complicated assets to manage when writing a last will and testament. In these cases, conditions may be attached to an outright inheritance or a person's rights during a specified time. Further complications may occur if a person or entity fails to meet these conditions.

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