Estate Planning & Probate
CONNECTICUT AND NEW YORK
Our estate planning lawyers help Connecticut and New York clients preserve wealth, manage assets, and efficiently transfer property to their chosen beneficiaries, during lifetime and at death.
Wealth transfer planning can be complex. Working with the client’s financial, insurance, and accounting advisors, we gather detailed information and devise solutions that minimize income and inheritance taxes, while maximizing dispositions to a client’s family and other loved ones.
Using the latest techniques, we advise clients on the judicious use of gifts, wills and trusts, during lifetime and at death. In addition to preparing documents, we frequently give advice regarding estate, gift and income tax strategies; the disposition of unique assets including interests in closely-held businesses; business ownership and succession strategies;plans for life insurance and long term care insurance; guidance regarding the disposition of IRAs, 401(k)s and other retirement accounts; selection of executors, trustees and guardians; the use of charitable trusts and foundations; and creditor protection.
WILLS AND LIVING TRUSTS
Although most clients use a will to dispose of their assets at death, for some clients revocable trusts, often known as “living trusts,” can best achieve their objectives.
Living trusts frequently take the place of wills, disposing of the bulk of a client’s assets upon death. Clients who wish to avoid the probate process, or to obtain active management of their assets at the time of incapacity, favor living trusts. For clients who own real property in other states, living trusts can also avoid multiple probate proceedings.
If a client chooses to establish a living trust, we assist in re-titling assets and changing beneficiary designations to implement the estate plan comprehensively.
PLANNING FOR INCAPACITY
Planning for incapacity is an important part of our mission. In addition to preparing “living wills”, powers of attorney, designations of conservator and revocable “living trusts,” we counsel clients on qualification for public assistance (frequently referred to as “Medicaid” or “Title XIX” planning) and probate court proceedings relating to incapacity.
The estate planning attorneys at Chipman Mazzucco regularly devise and implement tax planning strategies that may include a variety of irrevocable trusts such as: charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, grantor retained income trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, “intentionally defective” irrevocable trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, and “dynasty trusts”.
For individuals and entities in Connecticut and New York, our estate planning and business attorneys regularly provide tax planning advice about avoiding income, gift, and estate taxes. We advise closely held businesses, executives, and individuals, on the tax aspects of business transactions including business sales, acquisitions and mergers, estate planning, retirement planning, business entity formation, business succession planning and tax-exempt entities. Further, we regularly represent clients before the Internal Revenue Service and state tax authorities.
PROBATE PRACTICE AND ESTATE AND TRUST ADMINISTRATION
The probate attorneys at Chipman Mazzucco advise Connecticut and New York executors and trustees in settling decedents’ estates and administering trusts. We help fiduciaries pay debts and taxes and distribute the remaining assets to designated beneficiaries. The probate process typically includes:
- The probate proceeding and preparation of all probate documents;
- Important post-mortem tax planning (disclaimers, tax elections, retirement account distribution requirements, etc.);
- Preparation of federal and state estate tax returns;
- Preparation of fiduciary income tax returns; and
- Fiduciary accounting services.
We understand that probate and estate administration matters frequently involve the loss of a loved one and we strive to make the estate settlement process as simple for our clients as possible. Depending on the needs of the client, our involvement can range from occasional consultation and guidance to handling each step of estate settlement from start to finish.
Our attorneys also advise and represent beneficiaries of estates and trusts regarding their rights and remedies if losses or breaches of fiduciary duties occur.
Disputes sometimes develop between fiduciaries, the beneficiaries to whom fiduciaries owe a duty and tax authorities. In representing clients involved in such disputes, we try to negotiate prompt and fair resolutions. When we cannot, we are prepared to advance our clients’ interests in the probate courts and in all other appropriate forums. Our litigation attorneys are well positioned to handle controversies in the all local courts, and United Sates Tax Court, District Court, or Court of Federal Claims.