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Danbury Probate and Estate Administration Law Blog

Anticipating problems before they arise in estate planning

When Connecticut residents make important decisions in their lives, there are often multiple factors that must be considered. Making the right decision requires a careful analysis of all of these factors, including a balancing test that considers which factors are more important than others.

In the world of estate planning, this balancing act is performed frequently. Individuals often must juggle competing demands and probabilities, as well as dealing with unknown issues that could arise during the estate administration after their death.

Using different estate planning strategies for women and men

As discussed previously in this blog, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for different individuals in drafting estate planning documents. A person's individual circumstances must be considered, including their age, health, assets and other considerations.

One of these circumstances is a person's gender, as estate planning strategies often differ between men and women. For instance, women generally have longer life spans than men, which means many women will not only be widowed, but will need to plan for a longer retirement. As a result, women should ensure they plan well to understand where their income will come from and what benefits they might be entitled to if their spouse dies.

Estate planning critical for Connecticut residents

There have been a lot of changes in the federal estate tax system over the past few years, as discussed previously in this blog. In 2012, Congress passed permanent tax reform, taking away much of the uncertainty in the federal estate tax exemption that existed prior to that time.

The federal laws raised the estate and gift tax exemption to $5 million, with married Connecticut couples being able to avoid tax on a $10 million estate. Congress also made portability of the exemption between spouses permanent.

Community college receives $10 million donation from WWII vet

When Connecticut residents think about leaving this world, many may consider what kind of legacy they want to leave behind. A person's legacy not only includes what individuals will remember about them after they are gone, but what they leave behind and how they choose to distribute their assets at death.

When it comes to a person's distribution of assets, individuals must choose, as an initial matter, who will inherit their assets. This can include providing for family members and friends, or leaving gifts to charities, educational institutions or other organizations.

Connecticut residents: who do you trust to handle your finances?

There are often few people Connecticut residents trust to handle their money and affairs. It takes a great deal of trust and familiarity, after all, to entrust another person to handle sensitive matters.

It comes as no surprise then that choosing an executor to handle a person's estate is a very important part of estate planning. Indeed, when a person is drafting estate planning documents, the choice of an executor can be just as important as decisions regarding a person's asset distribution.

Estate planning is not only for later in life

Estate planning is for the young and older alike. People, including those in Connecticut, may sometimes associate estate planning with older people and as something to address later in life. In reality, it may never be too soon to begin planning and being prepared for unexpected life events. Regardless of the nature of a party's assets or debts, estate planning is important to allow loved ones to properly handle the unique nature of each estate. Unfortunately, death is an uncertain reality of life and the better prepared a person is, the simpler the process will be for loved ones.

Estate planning strategies can depend on the nature of the party's family circumstances, financial situation and unique desires. Effective estate planning can help minimize family disputes while a family is coping with the loss of a loved one. When drafting estate planning documents, it is important to have various documents that have been carefully considered, including a will, advance directive, health proxy, power of attorney, and other types of documents.

Could will have prevented parents from fighting over son's ashes?

The death of a loved one can be traumatic for any family. While the loss of someone of any age can cause relations to suffer, the passing of children and young adults are particularly hard on Connecticut families. Often young people leave few assets to their heirs and many do not have wills that outline their testamentary wishes.

A young many living out of state died in a car accident. He was unmarried and had no offspring so his divorced parents became his only beneficiaries. Though it does not appear they fought over any of his assets they did encounter disagreement regarding how to manage the disposition of his remains.

What happens to your child's inheritance in divorce?

As Connecticut parents watch their children grow older, one of the most memorable moments comes when a child is married to another individual. While many marriages can provide happiness for the child, this is unfortunately not always the case.

Beyond the impact a potential divorce has on the child, the parent may also feel the impact in more ways than one. For instance, the potential divorce can cause confusion and stress when it comes to the parent's estate plan. After all, if there is a likelihood the child may be divorced, the parent often does not want the child's inheritance to be given to the child's soon-to-be ex-spouse.

What happens when a person wants a new power of attorney?

As discussed previously in this blog, circumstances in a person's life can and do change over time. Danbury residents see changes in their family when a person is married or born, or when a loved one dies, for example. There can also be changes in family members' relationships with one another over time, whether for the positive or negative.

All of these changes impact a person's estate planning. If a person drafts all of their estate planning documents, for instance, but circumstances evolve over the years that changes the person's intent, then it makes sense to revise the estate planning documents to reflect the person's current intent so that it is carried out.

New Connecticut residents must update their wills after moving

Each year, new couples and individuals decide to make Danbury their new home. While many individuals do not particularly enjoy the process of moving from one home to another, they get the job done by taking care of each step that needs to be addressed.

Then again, moving to a new state means more than simply packing up physical belongings and transporting them from one place to another. Several life changes are often in store, including changes in how a person's matters are handled under the new state's laws.

RSDN Riefberg Smart Donohue & NeJame, p.c.

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