Preparing for the future involves more than opening a savings account and contributing to a 401(k). Both are important steps in the right direction for financial security, but you have many other things to consider when planning ahead. For example, have you communicated your end-of-life wishes to your family? Do you know who you want to care for your children if you are in an accident? All of these issues can be addressed through estate planning.
Estate planning can ease your mind by developing a robust strategy for protecting your assets and supporting your family. At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, our experienced attorneys can help you build a custom plan tailored to your needs and goals. We call it comprehensive estate planning, and it’s our signature service.
Firm founder Michael J. Amoruso has nearly 30 years of experience in estate planning, long-term care planning, and elder law. He believes in building long-lasting relationships with his clients, standing by them through all the legal challenges life may bring, and helping them adapt their estate plans as their circumstances change.
Do you already have an estate plan? You may wonder whether your current plan really works as you intended when you created it. Allow Amoruso & Amoruso LLP to give it a thorough review. Michael J. Amoruso 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, he will tell you and you will have the peace of mind that your plan accomplishes your objectives.
Contact us today to speak with a Stamford, CT, estate planning lawyer.
What’s the Importance of Having an Estate Plan?
Estate planning does more than outline what happens to your property when you die. It creates a safety net for you and your family. You can use an estate plan to communicate your preferences and wishes if you become disabled or incapacitated. This can avoid conflicts over what you “would have wanted” if the unthinkable happens.
Estate planning also allows you to put contingency plans in place if you suffer an emergency that requires long-term care. You can make provisions for your children and safeguard their inheritances until they can manage them independently. An estate plan also allows you to set financial and retirement goals and set aside resources to care for other dependents. Without an estate plan, critical decisions about what happens to your assets and loved ones could be made by a Connecticut court, which may not align with your wishes.
What Is Comprehensive Estate Planning?
Comprehensive estate planning is Amoruso & Amoruso LLP’s all-encompassing approach to estate planning. A comprehensive estate plan goes beyond drafting a will. It evaluates your needs through every stage of life and based on your unique family circumstances. Using a variety of legal tools and structures – such as wills, trusts, long-term financial planning, tax planning, and long-term care planning – our Stamford estate planning lawyer can design a comprehensive estate plan that grows with you, minimizes tax burdens, supports you during your elder years, and provides for your family when you are gone.
What Makes Up Comprehensive Estate Planning?
The comprehensive estate planning process may involve various elements, such as:
Elder Law/Long-Term Care Planning
Long-term care planning seeks to ensure you have the financial resources to afford home health services or nursing home care for a chronic disability or during your final years. Planning goals include preserving assets to pass on to family members and establishing eligibility for government benefits.
With a will, you can determine what happens to your assets after death, appoint someone to administer your estate, and nominate someone to care for your children if you and your co-parent pass away.
Estate plans can use trusts to protect assets and maximize their value as they pass from generation to generation. You may also create a trust to qualify you or a loved one for asset/income-restricted government benefits.
A living trust becomes effective while you are still alive. You can use it to distribute assets after your death while continuing to enjoy them during your lifetime.
Estate/Gift/Income Tax Planning
One of the primary concerns of estate planning is minimizing your estate or inheritance tax liabilities to maximize the value of inherited assets.
Financial planning focuses on building and safeguarding your wealth to provide for you and future generations through wise investments, debt elimination, and asset diversification.
An estate plan can also work with your retirement goals, ensuring you have financial resources to pay for regular expenses or long-term care during your golden years.
If you need Medicaid benefits to afford the cost of long-term or nursing home care, Medicaid planning can protect the assets you desire to pass along while still qualifying you for benefits.
Planning to Leave Assets to Loved Ones in a Way That Protects the Assets
If you have a loved one facing personal challenges like addiction, you may worry about what may happen if you leave them an inheritance. However, comprehensive estate planning can empower you to protect your loved one’s interests and preserve your hard-earned wealth.
Assets from Divorce, Creditors, Spendthrifts, and Substance Abuse
You may have concerns that leaving an inheritance to someone facing divorce, debt, or substance abuse issues may lead to your loved one losing some or all of that inheritance. However, estate planning tools such as spendthrift trusts allow you to shield their assets from seizure or waste while providing them with a reasonable income stream.
Business Succession Planning
Business succession planning can ensure that your company continues to thrive when you retire, pass away, or become disabled.
Special Needs Planning
If you have a loved one with special needs, you can ensure they will continue to receive care even though you are gone. Examples of special needs planning tools 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 – A special needs individual can preserve their independence through a supported decision-making agreement. A team of advisors can help them make financial, legal, or medical decisions and maintain as much of their autonomy as possible.
- Conservatorship – In Connecticut, a conservator is appointed by the court to manage the affairs of an individual with cognitive or developmental disabilities.
You can also protect assets you leave to loved ones through charitable planning. A comprehensive estate plan can take advantage of deductions and other tax benefits from charitable giving to reduce your income or estate tax liabilities.
What Are Other Elements of a Successful Estate Plan?
A well-crafted estate plan should also include other considerations, such as the following:
- 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 – If a disability renders you unable to make legal, financial, or medical decisions, you may need a conservatorship. In your estate plan, you can name who you would like to serve as conservator.
- Probate, Estate, and Trust Administration – Your estate plan should appoint people to manage your estate and trusts. You might select trusted family members, assisted by legal and financial professionals, or you may appoint professional trustees to manage complex assets.
How Much Does an Estate Plan Cost in Stamford?
The cost of an estate plan will depend on factors such as the size of your estate, the complexity of your assets, and what estate planning strategies you use. However, it’s a small price to pay for the security it provides. Comprehensive estate planning can financially benefit your family in the long run by minimizing tax liabilities and managing assets to grow their value. Depending on your strategies, an estate plan can also eliminate the need to spend time and money on probating assets after death.
How Can a Stamford, CT, Estate Planning Attorney Help?
A Stamford, CT, estate planning lawyer from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can guide you through every step of the estate planning process. Our firm has one goal: Empowering You to Care for the Ones You Love™. Michael J. Amoruso can help by:
- Drafting personalized wills
- Overseeing probate and estate administration
- Identifying and inventorying your assets
- Documenting your healthcare preferences through advance directives
- Setting up trusts
- Facilitating asset transfers
- Making arrangements for family members with special needs
- Minimizing tax burdens to maximize what your heirs receive
- Discussing conservatorship in the event of your incapacity
- Incorporating charitable giving into your estate plan
- Helping with business succession planning
- Conducting periodic reviews of your estate plan to account for changes in your circumstances and
- Connecticut law
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer in Stamford, CT, Today
Don’t leave your future up to chance. Start planning ahead by reaching out to a Stamford, CT, estate planning attorney from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP today. Together, we can develop a comprehensive estate plan that sets you and your family up for success or review an existing one and make any desired changes. Call or contact us now to get started.