Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, and Probate
At Farrell & Grochowski we have over forty years of experience in estate planning, elder law and estate administration.
Both Attorney Farrell and Attorney Grochowski received their LLM degrees at Western New England Law School. Through this program, both Attorney Farrell and Attorney Grochowski received advanced legal masters degrees in Elder Law and Estate Planning. This is one of the few programs in the nation that offers this masters degree.
You have worked hard all or your life for the assets you have. When you die, you want to make sure that your property goes to the people that you have selected. Without a will, your property will go to the persons that the State of Connecticut has dictated through intestacy laws. In your will, you can set out who your property goes to. If you have minor children, you can name the people that you would like to raise your children if you should die and set up a trust for the assets left to the children. Through a trust you can have your children's money managed until they are old enough to receive the money outright. Through the selection of an executor, you can determine who will be in charge of making sure your assets are distributed according to your will.
What to consider when planning a will?
- Do you have specific things that you want to leave to people such as jewelry.
- Who would you want your estate to be left to. If you have a child you predeceases you, but another child or children is still alive, would you want your deceased child's share to go to their children or be split among your remaining children.
- If you have minor children, who would you want to raise them and be in charge of their money if you died. At what age, would you feel comfortable with your children receiving their inheritance outright, free of trust.
- Who would you want to serve as your executor/trix, the person who makes the filings with the probate court and distributes your assets according to the will.
The current 2015 exemption on federal estate tax is five million dollars and the Connecticut estate tax is two million dollars. For couples having over this amount, a credit-sheltered trusts can have up to ten million dollars pass to the next generation without any federal tax being due and four million without any state tax being due. Given that the state and federal exemptions are not the same, individuals with less than 5 million but more than two million should do tax planning as well.
Trusts can help accomplish a variety a purposes. For a parent with a disabled child, a trust can supplement the child's needs without disqualifying him or her for state benefits they may be receiving. For a couple with a vacation home in Florida, the trust can help avoid having to probate in Florida and Connecticut. Trusts can be used to avoid probate costs as trust assets pass outside of probate.
People don't tend to think about planning for disability when they are doing estate planning, but it plays an important role in making sure that your needs are taken care of and your assets preserved.
Through a power of attorney document, you can name a person to act for you if you are no longer able to do so. The person can perform many important tasks such as applying for benefits, doing banking, paying bills, and arranging health care.
In some circumstances, a power of attorney will not be able to arrange for a need you may have. Some medical providers will not allow a power of attorney to consent to medical treatment that is refused by the patient even if it is medically necessary. In such circumstances, if a person cannot make a decision for themselves, due to mental or physical impairment, the probate court may have to appoint a conservator to act for the impaired person. Through a designation of conservator form, you can indicate to the court who you would like to serve as your conservator.
In Connecticut, there is a presumption that you would want to be kept alive on life support unless you have a living will or tell someone your wishes. Just telling someone else your wishes is problematic. You would be kept on the life support while the person would have to go to court to testify about your wishes and then it would still be up to a judge to decide. The living will states that you do not want to be kept alive on life support if you are in a permanent vegetative state.
Through a health care agent designation, you can select someone to make health care decisions for you if you can no longer do so.
In some situations, a person may have different ideas about their burial than their family. By designating a person to whom your body can be released, you can ensure that a person who respects your wishes will be in charge of your final arrangements. This document is frequently requested by same-sex couples to ensure that their partner will be the person making the burial arrangements.
At Farrell & Grochowski, we are well versed in estate planning, disability planning, and handling estates. We welcome the opportunity to talk to you as you plan or deal with the death of a loved one.
We have used the law firm of Farrell & Grochowski for more than 15 years. We have found the law firm to be ethical, professional and friendly. We have and do recommend their services. We have entrusted them with our Last Will and Testament, Refinancing of our home and legal services related to a loved one’s Estate. Specifically, our personal dealings with Christine Grochowski and Ann Farrell, as well as their able staff, has been a pleasure. We will continue to rely on Farrell & Grochowski for all of our legal services.