In Connecticut, "estate planning" broadly refers to the process through which someone determines what is to be done with their assets after death.
The first step in any estate plan is to figure out what you really want to be done with your assets after your death. This is a very personal decision, and you should discuss it with your family, and others who might have a direct interest in your decisions. As for really implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these goals.
In addition to decisions regarding the disposition of your property, you should decide how you want to spend your final days. For instance, many people have a strong preference about whether and to what extent they'd like to be kept alive by artificial means. Whatever your choice on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such choices for you, if you are unable.
A reliable estate planner in Connecticut may also help you maximize the percentage of your assets that go to your chosen beneficiaries, by minimizing the impact of taxes and court fees. Additionally, preventing a will or other estate plan from being litigated in court will save your survivors an incalculable amount of time, money, and energy - and the better an estate plan is, the lower its chances of ending up in court.
Common Elements of Estates in Connecticut
Estate plans in Connecticut almost always have these elements:
Will: A will permits you to control what is done with your property after your death. You can typically give your property to whoever you want, and make these gifts conditional. However, a will can only control another person's behavior insofar as placing conditions on gifts ("you don't get this money unless you spend the night in a haunted house"). The beneficiary doesn't HAVE to do anything if they don't want to, and are willing to surrender the money or property you left them.
Power of Attorney: This is an arrangement that gives another person the power to make certain decisions, normally related to finances and medical care, on your behalf, if you become incapacitated or disabled, and thus unable to make or express your own decisions. You can choose who you give this authority to. For obvious reasons, it should be somebody you trust.
Funeral Arrangements: Obviously, deciding what you want done with your mortal remains is a very personal decision. Nonetheless, once you have made this decision, you should put it in writing, in some place other than your will. You should also make your wishes known to your family members. This is because wills are frequently not read until days or weeks after the testator dies, by which time it may be too late to enforce their wishes on this matter.
Do I Need a Connecticut Estate Planning Attorney?
These decisions are normally considered extremely significant. For that reason, you will likely find that the cost of hiring a Connecticut attorney to be well worth its cost.
Interesting Facts About Connecticut
Connecticut was one of the original colonies of America and played a pivotal role in the formation of the country's federal government. It is usually referred to as "the Constitution state", as many of Connecticut's early governance documents helped to shape the U.S. Constitution. Former President George W. Bush was the first president to be born in Connecticut.
Connecticut is often associated with some very major court decisions that have shaped American jurisprudence over the decades. One famous case is Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), which involved the right to privacy in the context of marriage and the use of contraceptives. Another landmark decision is Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health (2008). In the Kerrigan case, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples may not be prohibited from marriage. This made Connecticut the third U.S. state to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.
The majority of lawsuits in Connecticut are filed in the Superior Court system, which is comparable to the trial courts of most other states. However, Connecticut laws can often be different from the major trends in the rest of the states. In some instances a lawyer may be necessary when applying Connecticut laws.
In order to meet the needs of state residents, lawyers in Connecticut deal with a very wide range of legal issues. Connecticut lawyers help continue the state's tradition of shaping the character of American law in general. Attorneys in Connecticut assist clients in court and can provide valuable legal advice.