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Greenwich Connecticut Estate Planning Law Blog

Several types of guardians help Connecticut children

There is one thing that all children should have in common, and that is a legal guardian. Most children see one or both of their parents as a guardian, but many also look to a grandparent or other relative. A responsible adult who is not related to the child or even the State of Connecticut may be a legal guardian.

Just as there are many types of people who may be guardians under specific circumstances, there are many types of guardians that children may require. Guardianship in general means the control and care of the child, which involves decision rights and responsibilities for a child's life. When a child is born to a couple with distinct biological lineage, the mother and father are considered joint guardians automatically.

How do families make estate plans for people with special needs?

One memoir by the mother of a child with special needs likened the experience to planning a trip to France and going to Italy instead. Anyone with a family member with special needs can report that the point of this statement is true: It may be surprising, but it is still magical.

What are some of the concerns that people have with planning for people with special needs?

Bristol lawyer faces charges over conservatorships

There are many reasons to go to probate court in Connecticut, and the mission of the system throws open the doors to all citizens with a case. Many families deal with the necessity to have a legal conservator appointed for an adult with limits on their ability to deal with realities of modern life. Others want to become official guardians for loved ones in their care.

The system, however, can allow individuals to fail the people it is meant to protect. Judges often appoint court officers and legal professionals to be conservators if no family members or close associates are available. These people are sworn to uphold and protect the law, but a few may take the advantage available in helping people who cannot help themselves.

What you should know about your parents' estate plans

As your parents get older, your family must begin to think about what happens after they pass away. While this is a topic that no one wants to think about, it is necessary if you want to avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary conflict. Estate planning and inheritance may be difficult subjects to bring up to your mom and dad, but the more you all understand, the better.

Confusion about estate plans can result in probate disputes and irreparable rifts among families. Here are some of the most vital things you should know about your parents' estate plans.

Guardianships can put grandparents back to work

What does it mean to be a guardian? The legal definition in the Constitution State is the adult who is legally responsible for the well-being and upbringing of a child. But the truth of the matter is more than that. Guardians can become beloved members of a new family for a child who is in need of parents.

Guardians may be anyone appointed by the probate court, although people who are related to the child such as uncles and grandparents are often considered for guardianship if they are available and willing to help. In some cases, the experience reactivates the parental instincts and preferences of people who have done the job before.

What is a durable power of attorney?

People may put off making an estate plan for a lot of reasons. They may feel they're too early in life, or they may assume their plans are so simple that they inevitably work in probate. But, just like there is always a reason to avoid estate planning, there is always a good reason for adults to address the subject as soon and as often as possible.

  • What are the main parts of an estate plan?

A last will and testament is the most commonly known part, as it lists the assets that a person may distribute to inheritors. Early planning may involve trusts or other instruments that set aside assets for others before the owner's death. A durable power of attorney is lesser-known part of estate planning -- but often very important in the period of time that may come before a person's death.

  • What is a durable power of attorney?

Mediation can solve probate litigation issues

Do you have a dispute over an estate for which you have to go to court? It may be possible to challenge the will in court but it is less likely now than before. If someone went through the trouble of writing a will, then that person hoped to spare you the trouble of a court appearance and the possible rancor of fighting family and friends.

The most likely reason for problems that cause claims, counterclaims and lawsuits in probate court is a failure to communicate properly. This could be at many levels and between various parties. Perhaps two adult children of a parent thought each was getting a single asset upon death. Maybe an attorney misunderstood the wishes of a person who created a complicated financial instrument like a trust.

2 key questions to consider about estate planning

When it comes to making decisions about assets and money, what you do not consider can ultimately spell disaster for your loved ones. They may be aware of your verbal wishes regarding what to do with your assets after you die, but without proper legal documentation or a Greenwich estate plan in place, there is no way to ensure they will adhere to them. 

Talking to your loved ones about your end-of-life wishes can help ensure fewer hiccups after you die. However, you must not forget to take into account that death brings out strange reactions in some people and is known to be a source of conflict, especially with assets and inheritances on the line. To minimize the number of challenges to your estate plans, keep these two questions in mind when drafting them. 

People can name their own future conservators

A guardian is normally a person who is legally responsible for someone who is not yet at the legal age of adulthood. Many parents and guardians would agree that their children can seem ready for adult responsibilities well before the age of 18. But some people in Connecticut still need help well past this age.

People who need a conservator immediately upon reaching the age of adulthood often lack the mental capacity to understand the concepts underlying adult responsibilities. For example, a person who cannot grasp the value of money or the need to earn an income is not going to survive without the help of a conservator.

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.

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