Chipman Mazzucco Emerson LLC

Danbury Legal Blog

Would you recognize if someone took advantage of your loved one?

The National Adult Protective Services Association says that one out of every nine seniors reported abuse, neglect or some form of exploitation. It goes on to say that out of every 20 aging adults, one reports suffering from financial mistreatment. To make matters worse, NAPSA believes that the numbers are actually much higher since victims often don't tell anyone about their plights.

The above statements probably confirm your fears for your elderly loved one. The problem is that since many people fail to report these offenses, you may need to gain an understanding of what to look for so you can take the appropriate action if necessary.

Why professionals often may make the best trustees

A trust can be a powerful estate planning tool for a Connecticut resident. It can protect assets from creditors as well as minimize estate taxes owed. However, it is important that the right person is chosen to oversee that trust. In many cases, a spouse is not going to be the ideal choice to act as a trustee. This could be especially true for those who are in a blended family.

A child may not be the best choice to be a trustee either. This is because he or she might not have the skills to manage assets or have any interest in doing so. Furthermore, an adult child might not understand the liability issues that he or she could encounter while managing a trust. With all the issues that can arise from a child or spouse running a trust, it is often best to have the role of trustee filled by a professional.

Passwords and estate planning

One element of estate planning some people in Connecticut may overlook is sharing passwords with an executor or family member so that online accounts can be accessed after a person's death. This issue does not just affect family or other heirs. As one example, the founder of a cryptocurrency exchange died suddenly in December without sharing the necessary password to access clients' investments, and there may now be $190 million of inaccessible cryptocurrency.

People are often urged by security experts to avoid writing down their passwords, but there must be some way to allow people to access those accounts if the person dies or becomes incapacitated. One solution is to write down the passwords and place them in a safety deposit box. The disadvantage here is that the list must be updated anytime a password is changed, and many people may not be diligent enough to do so. Another solution is to simply share the passwords with a family member, but this may not be secure.

Alternatives for startup financing

Connecticut startups need money in order to survive. In the old days, that meant securing funding from a venture capitalist, or VC, in exchange for a significant portion of the company's equity. However, many of today's entrepreneurs are looking at alternative ways to raise funds that are not as costly and restrictive as VC funding.

One alternative way of financing a startup business is known as bootstrapping, which simply means that a startup pays its own way without help from VCs. This may require a reduction in projected sales until such time that sufficient cash can be generated. However, bootstrapping allows an entrepreneur to retain full ownership of a company and maintain complete control over its operations. Bootstrapping also forces a startup to live on a tight budget and scrutinize every expense, which can be an advantage in many cases.

Diligent research could help businesses avoid trademark woes

An increase in commercial opportunities in recent years has contributed to more Connecticut businesses looking to protect unique designs. The World Intellectual Property Organization reports that there has been a sharp rise in the number of trademark application filings: 30 percent in 2017 alone over the previous year. For this reason, businesses are encouraged to be mindful of their trademarks and diligent about their research.

In 2018, it's estimated that about 80 percent of brands experienced trademark infringement. The odds of successfully registering industrial designs can be increased with thorough and proper research beyond simply doing a search on Google. However, it's largely agreed that the biggest mistake a business can make is failing to register an industrial design trademark at all. This creates opportunities for competitors to create legal hassles.

Estate planning for parents of kids with special needs

Parents of special needs children in Connecticut may wish to take special care when it comes to making their estate plans. There are certain types of plans that can help to provide support and protection for people with special needs throughout their lives. This can be especially important because kids with special needs may become eligible for different types of benefits that allow them to receive the care that they need. Some people may be unsure about how to plan for the future because they are unsure of the amount or type of professional support their children may need in the future.

However, this can be an important part of the estate planning process. An attorney can help parents to create a unique, personalized plan tailored to the need of a particular family. One tool that is often used is a special needs trust. This kind of trust allows a child to remain eligible for government benefits that may be necessary throughout his or her lifetime. However, the trust also provides important additional financial support for the child throughout his or her life, especially because public benefits only cover a bare minimum of expenses.

Guns require careful handling in estate planning

If you own guns, you already know that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees your right to own them. However, you must still comply with numerous state and federal laws regarding their ownership.

Understanding this, you may wonder how to pass on your weapons upon your death or what happens to them if you become incapacitated since the protections you enjoy for your firearms often only extend to you, especially for certain ones.

Estate planning tips for single adults

Many single Connecticut residents without children neglect to create an estate plan. However, estate planning is important for all adults. Two of the most important items in an estate plan are a power of attorney and a health care proxy. These function while the person is still alive to ensure that agents are appointed to take over financial and medical decision-making in cases of incapacitation.

The next step in estate planning should be creating a will. A will appoints an executor to manage an estate and may also be used to distribute assets. However, another alternative for distributing assets is a revocable trust. The trust can be named as the beneficiary in the will. In turn, the trust itself names beneficiaries. However, a common error is to create a trust and fail to fund it. After all, a trust will not accomplish much if there are no funds.

Planning for long-term care

Even though many people in Connecticut believe that they will never need long-term care, the issue is more prevalent now than ever before given how health care costs have been going up lately. And, as touchy as the subject may be, people need to prepare for it beforehand so that when the time comes they are financially and emotionally ready.

There are many reasons people choose to believe that they won't need to plan for long-term care. Some think that these expenses will be covered by Medicare, whereas others might believe that their children will look after them. Alternatively, some people think that by gifting away their assets, they will qualify for Medicaid, and some just refuse to believe that they will ever be in a physical condition where they will need someone else's help.

People may delay estate plans due to family concerns

Connecticut residents with substantial amounts of wealth are often concerned about how to navigate sensitive family relationships when making an estate plan. In many cases, the more complex details of estate planning reflect family concerns rather than difficulty dealing with the funds themselves. This was reflected in one survey conducted by Key Private Bank of its clients with at least $2 million in assets for investment.

People with larger estates often have access to financial planners and attorneys for other purposes. However, they may hesitate to turn to these professionals to make an estate plan. The planning process can raise difficult emotions and, at times, decisions can complicate or clarify more challenging relationships. However, 43 percent of the survey respondents said that having no estate plan at all was the most serious mistake that a family could make. In other cases, people believe that they are too young to have an estate plan. However, when adults have substantial assets that will need to be passed on after death, it may be best to be prepared in order to avoid unintended consequences.

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