Chipman, Mazzucco, Land & Pennarola, LLC

Danbury Legal Blog

Boy band Menudo resolves trademark dispute

Connecticut fans of Latin music may be interested to learn that after two years of litigation, boy band group Menudo will now be able to resume its relaunch efforts. The group's name was initially transferred back in 2016 but wasn't able to resume its launching efforts due to a trademark dispute. The Puerto Rican group resolved the matter in the United States District Court in Miami. The ruling states that the trademark Menudo belongs exclusively to Menudo International, LLC.

The musicians acquired the trademark in May of 2016 but found themselves in the middle of a legal battle over the name. Cristina Bruan and In Miami Productions challenged the rights of the name Menudo.

Do you have a plan for if you become incapacitated?

In going about your daily routine, you are unlikely to stop and think, "I wonder if today is the day something bad is going to happen to me. I wonder if today is the day that I won't make it home it one piece." No one wants to think about that kind of stuff, but at the same time, no one knows when incapacitation or death may strike. That is why it is important to be prepared now for when it does.

How can you prepare for incapacitation? It all starts by asking yourself a couple of questions. Who will make medical decisions for me? Who will handle my financial affairs? If you fail to assign someone these duties, a judge may have the opportunity to make the decision for you.

Avoid these errors when estate planning

Since planning for an estate can be difficult, it's no wonder that so many Connecticut residents aren't prepared for the future. In a recent survey administered by Wells Fargo, the number of Americans lacking important documents was high. Approximately 40 percent of Americans don't have the necessary estate plan documents in place to address potentially serious financial or health challenges.

These errors can be detrimental when in a vulnerable state. One in five Americans age 65 or older have reported being victims of financial abuse. However, proper planning can shield a person from these issues.

Why a pour-over will could be useful

Connecticut residents who are planning their estate might want to consider creating a pour-over will as an accompaniment to a revocable living trust. The purpose of a pour-over will is to take care of any assets that a person does not place in the trust. It is best used as a kind of backup policy in case a person acquires assets after creating the trust or forgets to place some in it.

Essentially, a pour-over will names the trust as the beneficiary for all assets that are not already set up to go to people through other means such as a beneficiary designation. If a person does not have a will and assets that are not directed toward other beneficiaries, the state decides what happens to them. This could result in assets going to relatives from whom a person is estranged or in a person's wishes otherwise not being carried out.

Important reasons to have an estate plan

More than half of all adults do not have wills. There are several reasons an estate plan may be important for people in Connecticut even if they have few assets. While there are template documents available, it is typically better to work with an attorney to create an estate plan and choose the right strategies for the estate.

Reducing or avoiding probate fees and taxes is one reason to create an estate plan. Asset protection is another reason. For example, a person might purchase additional insurance to cover assets in case of an automobile accident. A person might also want to know how assets can be protected from the need to spend them down in order to qualify for Medicaid.

How funeral planning declarations can help

Some people in Connecticut choose to include their funeral plans in their wills. While these provisions are enforceable, many family members do not search for wills before they hold the funerals for their loved ones. This means that the plans might be inadvertently overlooked.

A better way to handle this is to draft a funeral planning declaration as a part of the overall estate plan. This document can be used so that people can plan the details of how they want their remains to be handled and what they would like to happen at their funerals. It might be a good idea for people to have powers of attorney in place as well. These grant specified people the power to make important financial or medical decisions for them if they are incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for themselves.

Starting a new business

Connecticut residents who want to leave their current job to start their own business may want to plan ahead to make sure they take the right steps to getting to their new venture. Being properly prepared can play a significant part in being successful.

One avenue they may want to consider is remaining at their primary job while beginning their new business as a side project. They will be able to gain entrepreneurial experience while being able to enjoy the financial security of their day job. During this time, they can work on defining their business model, conduct relevant market research and determine if there is an actual need as well as customers for the service or product they want to provide.

Building the estate plan you need by adding a trust

Developing the estate plan that best suits your needs and objectives is not always an easy process. Depending on your goals, you may need more than just a will to protect your interests and those of your loved ones, but you may not be certain about what that means for you. 

Some readers in Connecticut find it beneficial to explore how drafting a trust could be an important aspect of their estate planning process. Trusts allow you to do specific things with your money and assets, such as provide for the care of a loved one long into the future. Connecticut readers may know there are various types of trusts, and it can be prudent to carefully consider which type may be best for you.

Mistakes people often make in estate planning

There are a number of estate planning errors that people in Connecticut should avoid. One is failing to do any at all. A person who dies without a will or a trust is said to have died intestate, and state law dictates who inherits what assets.

This could have consequences besides just having assets go to unintended beneficiaries. For example, if one heir is a recipient of Social Security or other benefits, an inheritance could put a stop to them. Powers of attorney can be created that appoint people to make decisions about finances and health care in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated.

Variables to consider when creating a succession plan

Business owners in Connecticut and throughout the country can be so focused on growing their companies that they forget to plan for their exit. Those who own family businesses may also need to start planning for when and how it will be passed down to the next generation. If there is no successor within the immediate family, it could be necessary to look into selling to an outside person or entity.

The choice between handing the company to another family member and selling it could have a significant impact on a person's finances. It may also have an impact on the owner's estate plan. Instead of giving the business to a child or grandchild, a portion of the sale's proceeds would be left instead. In some cases, it may be a good idea to leave that money in a trust.

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Chipman, Mazzucco, Land & Pennarola, LLC
44 Old Ridgebury Road
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Danbury, CT 06810

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