Every day I see the stress that families endure due to a lack of proper estate planning.  I also see how proper estate planning can greatly reduce the uncertainty and hardship when a loved one becomes incapacitated or passes away.

In this blog, I draw on over 25 years  experience as an estate planning  attorney, 18 years on the bench as a sitting Connecticut Probate Judge and from a personal perspective with my own family.  The information here will help you learn more about estate planning,  answer questions and dispel common misconceptions and myths. It’s directed to audiences with no legal background.

Too many people don’t prepare a proper estate plan; those with estate plans often fail to update them consistently. However, failure to plan your estate and plan for potential legal incapacity may have drastic consequences for you and your family.

Proper estate planning increases the chances that your assets will go to the people and organizations of your choice after you pass away. It can ensure that your loved ones will be provided for.

The possibility of legal incapacity is more likely than most people realize. Planning for legal incapacity can provide for the ongoing management of your affairs and healthcare decision making in the event you are unable to do so on your own. Legal incapacity can strike suddenly and without warning. This is a very stressful situation for families. Having the legal tools in place should it occur goes a long way to minimizing the stress that families often deal with in these situations. Proper legal tools can also preclude the need for conservatorship proceedings in the probate court. Involuntary conservatorship proceedings can be stressful, time consuming and expensive.

However, there are unscrupulous purveyors of estate planning products who frequently claim or imply unrealistic or even false results. They often prey on the fear of the unknown, the probate process and unfamiliarity with the law in order to pressure the unwary to spend thousands of dollars on questionable, and sometimes useless products. This blog will help you understand what these tools are, and more importantly what they can and cannot accomplish to help you avoid being taken advantage of.

Some of the topics that will be explored in the next few weeks include tips on choosing the right attorney; estate planning myths, misconceptions and mistakes; wills; living trusts; pet trusts; incapacity, conservatorships and the probate court; powers of attorney; and Connecticut unclaimed property.

NOTICE: The information posted in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be, and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Please consult with a qualified attorney for advice as to your specific situation.