Are you thinking about preparing an estate plan? Although it may seem daunting, a well-planned estate can provide unparalleled peace of mind by ensuring you are ready for the future and can leave a lasting legacy for your family. But where should you start, and what should you consider? The answers become clear when you work with an experienced estate planning lawyer.
Turn to Amoruso & Amoruso LLP today. Founding attorney Michael J. Amoruso has nearly three decades of experience in estate planning, elder law, and long-term care planning. His signature comprehensive estate planning service considers all of life’s variables before designing a plan that works for your present-day needs and protects your future interests.
Clients can attest to the value that attorney Michael J. Amoruso has added to their lives through this holistic approach to estate planning. If you already have an estate plan, allow Amoruso & Amoruso LLP to give it a thorough review. Our firm will identify any areas that could use revisions or corrections and advise you on options for making it better based on your individual goals. Be assured that, if no changes are needed, Michael J. Amoruso will tell you and you will have the peace of mind that your plan accomplishes your objectives.
Contact us today to learn how a Greenwich, CT, estate planning lawyer can help preserve your assets, care for your family members, and set you up for financial stability.
What’s the Importance of Having an Estate Plan?
Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not only for seniors and the ultra-wealthy. Estate planning is essential for everyone, regardless of their age or income bracket.
An estate plan can provide peace of mind that your assets will be passed according to your wishes after your death. It can account for emergencies if you develop a disability or become incapacitated. Estate planning can also offer certainty for the future by ensuring you have the financial resources you may need as you age.
If you have young children, an estate plan can protect them if the worst occurs. It can also preserve your children’s inheritance until they are mature enough to manage it themselves. Estate planning also allows you to appoint someone to care for your children if you cannot.
What Is Comprehensive Estate Planning?
Comprehensive estate planning is Amoruso & Amoruso LLP’s signature solution for effective estate planning. It involves addressing all of your family’s financial, legal, and medical affairs. It is a coordinated strategy to manage your assets, protect the value of your estate, provide for your loved ones, and convey your end-of-life wishes.
Comprehensive estate planning is an intentional and multi-faceted approach that draws on the experience of attorneys, financial advisors, and other professionals to build a plan that meets your needs and goals. It should include a wide range of strategies, including long-term financial planning, wills, trusts, Medicaid planning, tax planning, advance directives, and long-term care planning if needed.
What Makes Up Comprehensive Estate Planning?
A comprehensive estate plan often uses many tools and strategies to plan and prepare for a family’s circumstances and needs. Some of the most common elements of a comprehensive estate plan include the following:
Elder Law/Long-Term Care Planning
One aspect of long-term care planning involves ensuring you have financial resources for home health or nursing home care in your senior years. Elder law also focuses on safeguarding your rights and well-being as you age.
A will lets you determine how you want your affairs resolved after death. You can appoint someone to administer your estate and direct how you want your assets distributed. You can also nominate a trusted person to care for your minor children if you and your spouse/partner pass away.
Estate planning frequently uses trusts to protect your assets and pass them from generation to generation. In a trust, a trustee manages property and money for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiaries, according to the terms you outline in the trust agreement.
A living trust enables you to pass on assets and bypass probate. As the trust maker, you can still enjoy the benefits and use of those assets during your lifetime.
Estate/Gift/Income Tax Planning
A robust estate plan will include tax mitigation strategies to preserve the value of your assets.
Within the context of estate planning, financial planning focuses on preserving and growing your wealth for you and your beneficiaries.
With intentional retirement planning, you can arrange your finances so you live comfortably without diminishing the value of your estate for your heirs.
Medicaid planning involves using strategies to establish your eligibility for means-tested benefits. Meeting the eligibility criteria can be difficult, but a skilled estate planning lawyer can use tools to preserve your estate and qualify for benefits.
Planning to Leave Assets to Loved Ones in a Way That Protects the Assets
Every family is different, and you may have valid concerns about an intended beneficiary’s ability to manage the inheritance you wish to leave them. Fortunately, estate planning allows you to leave assets to loved ones and protect them at the same time.
Assets from Divorce, Creditors, Spendthrifts, and Substance Abuse
Various estate planning strategies can protect your loved one’s inheritance from seizure or waste. For example, a spendthrift trust can shield assets from creditors or the beneficiary’s unwise spending habits. At the same time, it gives your loved one the benefit of a manageable income stream from their inheritance.
Business Succession Planning
If you are a business owner in Greenwich, succession planning can help ensure your business continues supporting your family even after you are gone. A succession plan should identify who will assume management responsibilities and offer guidance for transferring leadership.
Special Needs Planning
If you have a loved one with special needs, estate planning can help your family ensure they get the benefits and care they need. Examples of special needs planning tools you might use include:
- Supplemental Needs Trusts – This is a specific type of trust designed to use third-party or inherited dollars to enhance the quality of life for a beneficiary, over and above any government benefits. These funds do not count toward a beneficiary’s resource limits for government programs, allowing them to remain eligible for these benefits.
- Special Needs Trusts – This is a specific type of trust designed to use an individual’s own assets to enhance his/her life. The assets held in these trusts do not count toward a beneficiary’s resource limits for government programs, allowing them to remain eligible for these benefits.
- Supported Decision-Making – For disabled individuals still capable of making some life decisions, supported decision-making is a good option. This tool uses a team of advisors to help the person make legal, financial, and medical decisions.
- Conservatorship – In Connecticut, a court may appoint a conservator to manage the affairs of a developmentally or intellectually disabled individual.
Incorporating charitable giving into your estate plan can help minimize tax liabilities. This is done through deductions and other benefits that come with charitable donations.
What Are Other Elements of a Successful Estate Plan?
Preparing a comprehensive estate plan may also require you to incorporate other elements such as:
- Advance Directives – Advance directives are legal documents such as a health care proxy, a power of attorney, and a disposition of remains. A Health Care Proxy appoints someone you choose to make medical decisions (including end-of-life decisions) for you. A Power of Attorney will allow a trusted family member or friend to handle your financial and/or legal matters. This can be helpful if you face an illness or injury or you lack mental capacity. With life care planning, your family has the guidance and tools necessary to make financial and health care decisions when you cannot do so.
- Conservatorship – In your estate plan, you can name someone to act as your conservator if you develop a disability and cannot make legal, medical, or financial decisions for yourself.
- Probate, Estate, and Trust Administration – As part of the estate planning process, you must select parties to manage your estate and any trusts you set up. You want to choose those parties carefully. An experienced lawyer can guide you if you have probate, estate, or trust administration questions.
How Much Does a Greenwich Estate Plan Cost?
Estate planning costs can vary depending on the complexity of an estate and your specific needs. However, the benefits of having an estate plan always outweigh the expense. Consider an estate plan as an investment in your future and your family’s financial stability. You can’t put a price on that type of peace of mind and security. You can also take comfort in knowing that with a comprehensive estate plan in place, you have maximized the value of your estate, minimized financial waste, and ensured that your wishes will be honored.
How Can a Greenwich, CT, Estate Planning Attorney Help?
Starting the estate planning journey can feel overwhelming. A Greenwich, CT, estate planning attorney from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can ease your mind and assist through every step of the process.
When you work with our firm, we will:
- Sit down with you to discuss your goals, needs, concerns, and wishes
- Identify the estate planning tools best suited for you
- Catalog your assets
- Draft and update your will
- Recommend various types of trusts
- Prepare advance directives such as health care proxies and powers of attorney
- Ensure vulnerable loved ones are cared for through conservatorships, special needs trusts, or supported decision-making arrangements
- Develop a business succession plan
- Minimize tax liabilities on your estate
- Assist with Medicaid planning
- Recommend a charitable giving strategy
- Review potential elder care needs
- Provide periodic reviews of your estate plan to account for changes in your family situation
Every estate is unique. You can count on Michael J. Amoruso to build the plan you need — nothing more and nothing less. That is our commitment to you.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer in Greenwich, CT, Today
It’s never too late to start estate planning. A Greenwich, CT estate planning attorney from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can help you build a holistic plan that preserves your wealth and protects your future.
Even if you already have an estate plan, getting another attorney’s input can be valuable to ensure your estate plan aligns with your vision for the future. Michael J. Amoruso can help. Contact us today to learn more.