Estate Planning, Elder Law & Probate

ESTATE PLANNING

Estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Regardless of your age or income level, it is important for everyone to have a plan in place to outline your desires for how to handle your finances and health care decisions. At Wilson, Pinder & Snow, LLC, we offer a wide range of estate planning services.

Under Connecticut law, if you die without a will your spouse may be left with only one-half of your estate, with the other half distributed to your children — even if they are minors! For clients with minor children, a will is also especially important to name a trusted loved one to become guardian of your children if they are under age 18 when both their parents pass away. We can also set up trusts for children so that if something happens to you before your children turn 21, their inheritance can be kept secure and used for the proper purposes until they are responsible enough. If you have a child with special needs, we can establish a Special Needs Trust for that child’s lifetime.

If you are interested in avoiding probate, we can assist by establishing a living trust. Any assets that are transferred into the living trust will pass to your designated beneficiaries without having to go through the probate process.

Estate tax planning is part of the estate plan. Currently, Connecticut estate tax exemption is $2.6 million per person. If your estate is over the estate tax exemption, we may be able to establish an estate plan that eliminates estate taxes.

Estate planning also includes planning for potential incapacity. By establishing an advance health care directive, you can guide your loved ones in making health care decisions on your behalf in case there comes a day when you cannot make those decisions for yourself.

You can outline your own decisions regarding your finances by working with us to establish a power of attorney. There are several types of powers of attorney that can be used to fit your needs, including a general durable power of attorney that becomes immediately effective, or a springing power of attorney that becomes effective only when you become incapacitated.

We encourage individuals, couples, and families to start planning now. We understand that people are often nervous about speaking with a lawyer. Our approach to working with people is to view estate planning as a collaborative process. Some of the most common comments we hear after an initial consultation is “You explained that so much more clearly than anyone else.” “I feel like I really understand now.” and “I’m so relieved that we finally did this.” Contact us for more information about our Estate Planning services.

ELDER LAW: ASSET PROTECTION PLANNING, MEDICAID & VETERAN’S BENEFITS

As part of our estate planning services, we work with seniors and their adult children to analyze their long-term care needs and financial options. We work with our clients to develop a plan of how to transfer, gift, or organize assets to ensure that there is enough money to pay for long-term care needs and protect assets for the next generation, if possible.

Much of our work includes assisting individuals and couples apply for Medicaid (Title 19) when someone needs expensive long-term care. Medicaid in CT can pay for skilled nursing home care, which currently costs about $15,000/month in our area, and home care, which can cost up to $8000/month for full-time live-in care. One common issue that arises in Medicaid planning is the look-back period, which means the transferor may be penalized from receiving Medicaid if he or she has made a gift during the five-year period before applying for Medicaid. We assist clients analyze the risks and penalties and counsel them on their options.

Even if the look-back is not an issue, there are often spend down requirements, which we assist clients with in order to spend their funds as wisely as possible. We also help clients retain assets for the spouse at home by use of Medicaid annuities, and protect the family home for a child who has lived with the parents and cared for him or her for more than two years.

Many of our clients are veterans who served during an active wartime (WWII: 12/7-1941-12/31/1946, Korea: 6/27/1950-1/31/1955, Vietnam 2/28/1961-5/7/1975). The long-term health care needs of a veteran or a surviving spouse of a veteran may entitle that person to a stipend from the VA, known as Aid & Attendance. Attorney Wilson is accredited with the VA to apply for Aid & Attendance benefits.

We firmly believe that the earlier people start planning for long-term care, the more options that will be available to them. Contact us for more information about our Elder Law or Medicaid Planning services.

 

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PROBATE AND ESTATE ADMINISTRATION

Probate is the legal process in which an estate’s assets are distributed and any remaining debts are paid off. We assist our clients at all stages of probate and estate administration. If you are the executor handling a will for someone who has passed away, we can guide you through the process of admitting the will to probate. If the person dies without a will (intestate), we determine the proper heirs according to the applicable Connecticut laws. We also assist with the rest of the probate process, including identifying and valuing the assets, determining how the assets will be distributed and filing the necessary Estate Tax Returns.

If the estate is large, there may be federal or Connecticut death taxes due. We will prepare the necessary estate tax forms and calculate the estate taxes owed. The lawyers at Wilson, Pinder & Snow, LLC understand the intricacies of probate law and are experienced with helping people through the long and confusing probate process.

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130 East Main Street
Clinton, CT 06413
Phone: 860-669-1222
Fax: 860-664-9661

Disclaimer

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