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Danbury Probate and Estate Administration Law Blog

What to do if there are disputes over a family member's will

When it comes to Danbury residents' perceptions of the legal system, many may have certain stereotypes they hold of litigation-happy plaintiffs who are always looking for something for nothing. In reality, many cases arise out of genuine disputes between individuals, including disputes between family members that must be resolved by a court.

In probate litigation, family members often must litigate their disagreements over the validity or terms of a deceased person's will. For instance, if a deceased person changed his or her will to provide for a different distribution of assets, those who were excluded from the will may challenge whether the person had capacity to change the will at the time, or whether the new heirs exerted undue influence over the deceased person when the will was changed.

Getting a hold of the gift tax exclusion

While the memories of another summer are fresh in the minds of many Danbury residents, it will not be long before the holiday season arrives. With the holidays just around the corner, many individuals are already beginning to think of gifts to give to their family and friends.

Gift giving should be particularly near and dear to the minds of those who are concerned about estate planning issues. Yet, it is important to understand the tax implications of gift giving in order to maximize the benefit it can have on a person's estate.

Are there special types of trusts for disabled individuals?

Different Danbury residents have different needs in life. Accordingly, when it comes to a person's estate plan, it is essential that these different circumstances be taken into account.

One situation that needs particular care is when a person has a disability. The person may lack the mental capacity to manage his or her own finances, and the person may depend on government services that can be at stake if the person's finances are not managed properly. For instance, Medicaid and other programs have certain income limits that apply, and therefore the person's ability to qualify for the program can be at risk if his or her assets are higher than that threshold.

What factors does a court consider in appointing a conservator?

When Connecticut residents reach an advanced age, they have the benefits of having a great deal of wisdom and life experience. Advanced age can also bring to light other issues, however, including an increased need to depend on others for care. While this assistance may be welcomed by some, it is resisted in many instances when individuals do not want to give up their freedom to make certain decisions. Under these circumstances, probate litigation may be necessary to resolve issues surrounding the person's care and decision making abilities.

One particular instance in which litigation can result is with conservatorships. When a person alleges that another is incapable of managing his or her affairs, the person can petition to become a conservator. The court can then hear evidence as to the individual's condition who is the subject of the conservatorship, including the individual's ability to take care of himself or herself and medical evidence on the person's condition. Courts can also order a doctor to examine the individual to determine whether the person can manage his or her own affairs.

Coming up with a unique estate planning strategy for you

There are many moving parts to consider when Danbury residents must address a complex situation. Different circumstances can influence a person's decision-making, and different decisions will lead to different consequences.

In the world of estate planning, there are many influences that can impact a person's decisions. For example, the person's family dynamics may have a large influence on how that person chooses to structure his or her estate plan. If a person has a family that may be likely to quarrel about matters after death, it may be necessary to provide more guidance or take away some discretion from loved ones in handling the deceased person's estate. This might be accomplished through a trust that sets certain conditions on distributing a person's assets.

Comedian Joan Rivers provides for her pets in estate plan

The thought of leaving loved ones behind is an unpleasant one for many Connecticut residents. Aside from simply missing their loved ones, individuals also may be concerned about how others will carry on without them, including long-time spouses or minor children. These concerns are legitimate and can be a major reason why it is beneficial for individuals to have a well-thought-out estate plan.

Nonetheless, estate planning also may be important for other certain four-legged family members. Many individuals include their family pets in their estate plan in one form or another, which can be beneficial in order to ensure the pet is cared for after the person dies.

Do family members have to pay the debts of a deceased loved one?

When a Danbury resident's loved one passes away, it can be stressful and burdensome to deal with the flood of emotions that naturally come with a loved one's death. Through the grief, individuals may also have questions about what will happen with the loved one's belongings, and how the assets of a deceased person's estates should be distributed.

One question that often arises after the death of a loved one is whether surviving family members must pay the debts of the deceased person. In general, creditors do have a right to seek payment from the assets owned by the deceased person at death.

How does an estate get administered in Connecticut?

When Connecticut residents have a goal in mind, there are often multiple steps that must be taken in order to reach that goal. This is certainly true when it comes to estate planning, as it may take some time and effort to accomplish a person's objectives.

For example, when it comes to the administration of a person's estate, there are several legal issues that need to be taken care of before a person's assets are distributed. First, the deceased person's will must be filed with the court, along with a petition for the administration or probate of the will, within 30 days after the person's death. Certain information must be included in the petition, such as the contact information of all heirs and beneficiaries.

Every estate is unique

Every person residing in Connecticut is different. Individuals have different interests, talents and personal circumstances. Along with this, individuals also have different lifestyles. All of these differences are what make individuals special and unique from one another.

These differences also explain why there is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to a person's estate planning decisions. With different property and other assets at stake, individuals should make sure that their estate plan matches their individual circumstances. If care is not taken to address these unique circumstances, an heir's inheritance can be drastically impacted by a strategy that does not properly handle the deceased person's situation.

When is legal action necessary against an executor?

It takes time and effort for Connecticut residents to properly plan an estate. Unfortunately, even the best-planned estates can run into trouble after a person's death if those individuals who are handling the estate fail to properly do their job.

Executors of wills, as well as trustees who administer a trust, have certain duties they must follow in administering the terms of a person's will or trust. For example, executors must distribute a person's assets according to the terms of the will, after paying bills and taxes and making sure everything is in order with the estate. Many of these items are encompassed within an executor's fiduciary duties, which are duties the person must perform in line with their role as executor.

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