For years traditional estate planning was oriented toward estate tax avoidance and controlling assets for young or inexperienced heirs. Estate tax avoidance is no longer a worry for most Connecticut families because the exemption is $5.1 million on January 1, 2020, and the federal exemption is $11.2 million. That means only a tiny percentage of Connecticut residents will ever pay inheritance tax. But taxes are not the only reason to do estate planning..
With Thanksgiving done and leftovers in the refrigerator it’s time to think of any health issues you may have noticed in the family’s oldest generation. Did grandma or grandpa have difficulty walking? Did they exhibit severe memory problems? If you were at their home, was it tidy, or did it show neglect? Did you notice bills that appeared to be past due, or were financial records scattered about? In general, were you left with a concern that some help or occasional checking on them is needed. If so, here are some thoughts and suggested action which this column has addressed in years past.
This digital world is divided into two parts. The first part is exemplified by a fourteen-year-old grandchild who can use her thumbs and mouse to navigate digital and online information and services in the blink of an eye. Maybe when she is 80 years old her thumbs will be crippled from constant clicking, but for now, she is a guru of the digital world.
When defining an estate plan, what should you consider? The first thing that often comes to mind is the Last Will and Testament. This well-known document dictates how an individual's assets should be distributed after death. However, the Will does not control everything. This can often lead to unintended consequences in a person's estate plan.
All over the country people receive mailings or emails that use “Social Security” or “Medicare in emblems or words to give the impression that they are somehow affiliated with the government. Sometimes they offer Social Security services for a fee, but these very same services can be received directly from Social Security offices for free. Services offered can be getting a corrected card showing a brides married name, replacing a lost card, getting a social security number for a child, or getting a social security statement.
Avoiding probate is a subject that gets everyone’s attention. What are the benefits, any downsides, and how do you do it? The benefits include immediate access to the funds owned by the deceased, greater privacy, and often less work to get the assets into the names of your spouse or children. The immediate access results when a bank account or car or home or stocks and bonds are owned in joint survivorship or in a trust...