Connecticut Estate Planning Lawyers
Planning for your estate is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure that your wishes are met in the future. A comprehensive estate plan will not only protect your assets, but it will also outline the actions that your representatives should take either after your death or when you are no longer able to make decisions. The compassionate and caring Connecticut Estate Planning attorneys at the Upton Law Firm, LLC represent individuals, families, and business owners throughout Connecticut with their will, trust, and estate planning needs.
Last Will & Testament
Commonly referred to as a just a will, a person’s last will and testament is an important legal document that outlines how debts should be paid and property is to be divided at the time of your death. Failing to have a will in place could have some serious consequences for surviving heirs. Not only will the question of inheritance be unresolved, but your estate could be taxed at the maximum rate allowed and surviving minor children may not be cared for according to your wishes. Creating a will through a trusted Connecticut estate planning attorney can help you make these important decisions and avoid probate headaches for your survivors.
Probate Litigation & Mediation
Unfortunately, some loved ones will pass away without the benefit of a will or estate plan, which can be costly and contentious for survivors. Family members left behind need a strong legal advocate during what can be a tense and emotional time.
Attempting to determine the wishes and intent of a deceased loved one can be difficult. Not only do family members need sound legal advice to protect their rights, but also to protect them from what can be considered an unfair and unjust probate process.
Estate planning involves much more than deciding what will happen after you die. A thorough plan will help you structure your current assets to protect yourself, your family, and your business from lawsuits, creditor claims, estate taxes, or even irresponsible heirs.
A Connecticut asset protection attorney can help you and your family maintain its financial security with several strategies. These include transferring assets into trusts and keeping a portion of your assets in protected retirement accounts. Your attorney will also review your insurance coverage, any business structures, and discuss the benefits to your estate of creating a power of attorney.
Health care and End-of-Life Choices
In Connecticut, it’s your right to make your own health care and end-of-life choices. There may come a point in time, however, that you will be unable to communicate those choices to someone, either verbally or otherwise. There are several legal documents that you should include in your estate plan which will make those choices clear and legally enforceable. These include:
- A Living Will. Also referred to as an “advanced medical directive,” this legal document can direct health care workers to discontinue life-saving or life-sustaining procedures if you are permanently unconscious or in a terminal condition.
- Power of Attorney. A power of attorney is a designated trusted person who will be able to make health care decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so.
Financial Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney allows someone, called your attorney-in-fact, to handle your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. The Connecticut Uniform Power of Attorney (POA) Act, which took effect Oct. 1, 2016, gives citizens greater assurances that their wishes will be followed in these cases. Under old rules, people believed that they had planned ahead only to have a POA disregarded by banks or other financial institutions. The new law requires that these institutions honor financial POAs so you can feel confident knowing that your designated representative can carry out your wishes. Your estate planning attorney can draw up a durable power of attorney as part of your overall estate plan.
Gifting, Charitable Giving, and Planning
There are several ways that you can reduce your taxable estate, and provide for loved ones or important causes at the same time. The federal gift tax law allows you to give away a certain amount each year tax-free. The figure used to be $10,000 annually, but it is now adjusted for inflation. As of 2016, each member of your household can “gift” $14,000 to as many individuals as they like, tax-free.
Charitable giving and planning requires a great deal of foresight on behalf of you and your estate planning attorney. Our experienced attorneys can help you form a separate trust for charitable giving or even establish a private foundation to handle donations to the cause of your choice.
Business Succession Planning
Small businesses are the backbone of this country, and it would be a tragedy for your business to close or deteriorate once it’s founder is out of the picture. It’s a common concern that the retirement, illness, or death of a company’s owner can also spell the end for a business that has found success and has strong community support. A comprehensive business succession plan can address these issues with contingencies for the transfer of business interests upon the occurrence of certain events. Your estate planning attorney can explain your options and advise you on the best course of action according to your particular situation and desires.
How an Experienced Connecticut Estate Planning Attorney Can Help
Too many people make the mistake of believing that estate planning is only for the wealthy or elderly. If you have family members and loved ones whose future well-being you’re concerned about, estate planning is a must, regardless of means or age. If you worry that your final wishes regarding child custody, health care decisions, burial, or asset distribution may not be followed, speaking with an experienced estate planning lawyer is a smart move. The knowledgeable and compassionate Connecticut estate planning attorneys at the Upton Law Firm, LLC can help you create an estate plan that outlines your precise wishes.
We provide comprehensive estate planning services for clients throughout Connecticut. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.