Chipman Mazzucco Emerson LLC

estate planning Archives

Making an estate plan matters

Connecticut fans of Stan Lee's work may know the former Marvel chairman for his role in co-creating iconic characters like Captain America and Spider-Man. However, after he passed away in November 2018, he also became known for leaving his estate in disarray. Like other prominent celebrities including Prince and Aretha Franklin, Lee may have died without a making a will. When a person passes without making an estate plan, the consequences can be complex for the loved ones left behind, especially when the estate is substantial, involving ongoing revenues and royalties.

Irrevocable trusts

Many people in Connecticut use irrevocable trusts as an estate planning tool. It is important to understand how an irrevocable trust works since the grantor of any assets in an irrevocable trust loses control of them once they are in placed in the trust.

Reasons to review trusts for effectiveness

Some estate owners in Connecticut may find that their trusts do not fulfill their intentions. This could be because those intentions have changed or the documents were not correctly set up in the first place. For example, a trust might be set up incorrectly if the attorney did not understand the family's wishes. In other cases, a trust is written in a way that's confusing and does not effectively convey its purpose. For these reasons, people may want to review any trusts they have and make sure they do what they were created to do.

Timeshares and estate planning

Timeshares are a popular way for Connecticut residents to enjoy their favorite vacation destinations. However, they often do require fees for as long they're in ownership. That's why some timeshare owners worry that their heirs will eventually have to continue paying timeshare fees.

Avoiding family disputes when writing a will

Most people planning to have a will drawn up in Connecticut hope it will make things easier for loved ones left behind. But what might look good on paper could turn out to be a source of contention, resentment, legal wrangling, and bitter feuds between heirs. This sometimes happens when there's not enough time, effort, and thought put into making important decisions during the process of preparing a will and making estate plans.

Unrecorded deeds obviated by transfer on death deeds

People in Connecticut who want to transfer their homes to heirs have sometimes in the past made use of an unrecorded deed. The grantor signs the deed and gives it to the intended person, not to be recorded until after the death of the grantor. It may have been a useful estate planning device, but with the advent of transfer-on-death deeds, it makes little sense to use an unrecorded deed in most cases.

Will executors' decisions must benefit the estate

When people in Connecticut create a will, they will name an executor in the text of the document. The executor, whose appointment is generally confirmed by a probate court, is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the person who created the will. In addition to distributing the estate's funds as provided for in the relevant estate documents, the executor is also responsible for settling the estate by handling taxes, debts and other issues. In order to promote the best interests of the estate, the executor can make use of its funds. These actions can include defending the estate against legal claims brought by beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries seeking to change the distribution or by outside parties.

Estate planning tools guard against the uncertainties of life

Financial experts say that even young Connecticut residents who enjoy robust good health should put at least a basic estate plan into place. Life is unpredictable, and unforeseen events like automobile accidents or serious illnesses can claim lives or leave individuals incapacitated and unable to manage their financial affairs or make important health care decisions. Those who wish to prepare for such unfortunate situations may be wise to draft a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney and a medical directive.

Legendary singer Aretha Franklin died without a will

Many Connecticut fans of legendary soul performer Aretha Franklin may be surprised to learn that she died without a will, despite her valuable music catalog and substantial estate. The 76-year-old singer passed away in August after a lengthy struggle with pancreatic cancer. Despite comments from her attorney that he had encouraged her to set up a trust and other key estate planning documents, she refrained from doing so throughout her life. She was unmarried and has four adult children, one with special needs, and the process of passing on her estate could be much more complex as a result.

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