Comprehensive Estate Planning Services in Connecticut
Helping clients prepare for the future
At the Law Offices of Matthew J. Lefevre in Hartford and Torrington, we assist Connecticut residents in effectuating how their property will be distributed when they pass away. We help clients make key decisions ahead of time, so that they can be sure their intentions will be carried out. This includes thoroughly analyzing your estate to determine the best means of transferring your assets and minimizing taxes. It may also mean planning guardianships for your children and creating trusts for the benefit of loved ones or charitable beneficiaries.
Preparing effective wills and trusts
Wills and trusts are legal devices that allow you to decide how your assets will be distributed and other financial decisions will be made after your death. If you don’t leave precise and enforceable instructions, a court may have to make those decisions when you’re gone.
A will is a legal document by which you can give directions on how your property is to be divided and other arrangements are to be made when you pass away. Importantly, a will allows you to appoint a personal representative — known as an executor — to take charge of your estate after your death and honor your wishes and instructions. The document is used as a guide in the probate process, during which a court resolves the deceased person’s estate. That includes ensuring that debts and taxes are paid before the property is distributed in accordance with the will’s instructions. People also use wills to appoint a guardian for their children and to create ongoing trusts for the benefit of charities and other beneficiaries. Wills can be updated periodically during your lifetime to reflect changes of intent due to altered circumstances.
A living trust — unlike one created by a will — arranges for the transfer of property while the owner is alive. Typically, a trustee is given exclusive charge of the property with instructions to pass the property to designated beneficiaries upon the original owner’s death. This can bring tax advantages, since property moved irrevocably to a trust — as well as the income and appreciation from the property — can reduce or minimize taxation to the trust creator or his or her estate if properly drafted. A trust also is a way to minimize the complications and time delays of probate, the process by which wills are proved and effectuated.
Helping you make end-of-life choices through advance directives
There are a number of other decisions that can be made proactively through advance medical directives or a power of attorney. Through medical directives, you can dictate the kinds of medical treatment you want to be provided or denied in specified situations. You can also designate a representative to make medical treatment choices in the event you become incapacitated. Similarly, a power of attorney lets you select someone to make financial decisions and assist you with financial matters when you are unable to do so.
Speak with a Connecticut estate planning lawyer today
If you or a loved one is looking to plan for the future, the Law Offices of Matthew J. Lefevre can help. Call us at 860-967-3033 or contact us online to schedule an appointment at our Hartford or Torrington offices.