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Madison: 203-318-3600
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Estate Planning

Our lawyers provide personalized and confidential estate planning services to clients seeking to protect assets and transfer wealth to loved ones and charities.  We counsel individuals and families on a full range of estate planning issues, including:

    • Estate Planning for Surviving Spouses & Children
    • Revocable or Living Trusts
    • Special Needs Planning
    • Estate Planning for Pet Owners
    • LGBT Planning
    • Generational Wealth Transfer
    • Charitable Giving
    • Family Property and Vacation Homes
    • Business Succession Planning
    • Pre & Post Marital Agreements

 

  • Estate Planning for Spouses and Children

By far, the vast majority of estate planning we do is for families who wish to protect assets for their spouse and children when they die. This type of plan makes the best use of the Connecticut and Federal lifetime estate and gift tax exemption amounts and ensures that after your death assets are properly managed and protected from creditors.

Another important concern that families have is who will take care of a minor child if both parents die. We spend time with our clients crafting a plan that names an appropriate guardian, and creates a trust for minor children, selects a Trustee to manage assets and ensures that there is the financial support necessary to care for the children.

  • Revocable or Living Trusts

A Revocable Trust is also called a Living Trust because it is established during life. It may be created to manage assets during the client’s lifetime and to maintain privacy with regard to the value of your assets and the disposition of those assets at death. For Married couples, the Living Trust also contains a Trust for the surviving spouse to minimize the impact of estate taxes upon the death of the surviving spouse.

For clients who wish to reduce the role of Probate Court supervision in the settlement of their estate, the trust can be funded during lifetime. We will review with you the provisions of the Trust and assist you with asset titling, and if avoidance of Probate Court supervision is your goal, we will provide the information and assistance necessary to fund your Trust.

  • Special Needs Planning

For parents and grandparents of a child with special needs, a Special Needs Trust or a Supplemental Needs Trust is the most effective way to provide for a child after your death. A Special Needs Trust holds and distributes assets for the benefit of the child while also maintaining the child’s eligibility for public assistance.

Generally, a Special Needs Trusts is separate trust funded at your death with specific assets designated to the trust, such as a life insurance policy. Because the trust is established to run for the lifetime of the child, it is important to consider who will serve as Trustee after you pass.

  • Estate Planning for Pet Owners

Our estate plans are individually crafted and tailored for each client. One of the main goals of estate planning is to provide for your loved ones, and for many “loved ones” includes pets. Pets provide companionship and unconditional love; it just makes sense to ensure that there is a plan in place to care for your pet when you no longer can.

The specific estate planning method that we use will depend on your pet’s needs, your goals and financial resources. Legally, a pet is ‘personal property,’ just like a painting, and while it may be sufficient to make provision for your pet in your will or trust, Connecticut now allows for the creation of a Pet Trust to provide funds and direction for the care of your pet during its lifetime.

  • LGBT Planning

The legal landscape has changed dramatically for the LGBT community providing more opportunity and benefits than ever before. However, uncertainties and prejudices exist, and it is important to plan for those challenges. While a well-considered and properly drafted estate plan brings peace of mind for all clients, the LGBT community has unique concerns due to the unequal treatment they have endured under federal law and continue to endure under under some state laws. Moreover, for LGBT couples and individuals a well-crafted estate plan is essential to ensure that their wishes are respected and followed.

We help same-sex partners and LGBT individuals create effective estate plans that reduce future complications associated with incapacity and death, including: powers of attorney that enable spouses and partners to act on behalf of each other; documents that clearly spell out your wishes with respect to medical treatment and custody and control of your remains; in terrorem clauses in wills and trusts to deter challenges to these documents, and trusts that ensure privacy of your estate plan.

  • Wealth Transfer

We assist families with wealth transfer planning to reduce State & Federal Estate Taxes, Gift Taxes and Generation Skipping Transfer Taxes, such as:

  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
  • Crummey Trusts for Annual Exclusion Gifting to Grandchildren
  • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts
  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trust
  • Dynasty Trusts
  • Family Limited Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Companies

These are complex and sophisticated strategies; please call our offices to set up a conference to discuss how these trusts and business entities may fit into your overall estate plan.