Posts tagged with "revocable trust"

Estate Planning in Connecticut

You may be thinking that if you have a simple will, and you have already planned for your children, there’s no reason to update your estate plan.   But there are lots of good reasons to revisit your estate planning documents, including the following:

 

  • Are you in a high-risk profession, such as being a physician, attorney, or business owner? You may want to consider a Domestic Asset Protection Trust, a tool that the legislature gave Connecticut residents in January 2021, that can be used to protect assets and minimize transfer taxes, while shielding trust assets from future creditors of the grantor.  Gen. Stat. Sec. 45a-487j, et seq.
  • Are you a woman of childbearing age? In 2019, the Probate Code was updated to provide specific options in an advance healthcare directive if a decision must be made about whether to provide life support for a pregnant woman.  If you are a woman of childbearing age, laying out your wishes and discussing them with your loved ones could save them a heart-wrenching decision in an unimaginably difficult situation.  Gen. Stat. 19a-575.
  • Did you get a job that offers stock options as compensation? Startups and even established tech giants now regularly offer stock options as part of compensation packages to lure and retain top talent.  Your Power of Attorney can now include giving your agent the power to —or prohibiting your agent from—buying, selling, exchanging, or assigning your hard-earned stock options.  Gen. Stat. Sec. 1-351f.
  • Did you start your own business or company during the pandemic? A good estate plan incorporates business succession instructions so that your family and business partners do not wind up litigating your stake in a business.
  • Have you acquired new property or opened bank accounts? To minimize probate court involvement after your death, it is important to review your assets and make sure that they are properly titled, and that you’ve designated the right beneficiary where appropriate, so that the accounts pass to your beneficiaries with as little entanglement as possible.
  • Have your children gone through major life changes? Maybe your life has been stable, but if you have young children, children with financial challenges such as bankruptcies or creditor difficulties, children who gotten married/divorced, or children with either physical or mental health issues, you may want to consider whether to put their inheritance (no matter how small) into a trust so you can control how the trust assets are spent  A trust can also protect the trust assets – either from creditors or even from your own children or their spouses.  There are many different types of trusts, and a skilled attorney can help you decide whether one of them might fit your needs.
  • Are you interested in so-called “Dynasty Trusts”? Connecticut recently extended the vesting period required by the so-called Rule Against Perpetuities (RAP) to 800 years, instead of the customary 90 years.  Gen. Stat. Sec. 45a-491(f).  While explaining this technical jargon could be the subject of an entire textbook, the bottom line is that this new, super-sized RAP gives Connecticut residents with significant assets some of the greatest flexibility in the nation to retain wealth within families.  But there’s a catch: it only applies to trusts created on or after January 1, 2020.  Because of these new options, it is critical to sit down with an estate planning attorney to determine whether a “Dynasty Trust” would be suitable for your estate.

These are just a sample of the new developments and tools that should be considered in designing an estate plan that fits your unique needs.  The rules governing estate planning are like a complicated jigsaw puzzle.  If just one piece of your estate plan does not fit into the puzzle, your beneficiaries will suffer the consequences, whether they are emotional, financial, or legal.  The attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. can assist Connecticut and New York residents with estate planning matters to make sure that your estate plan is drafted carefully and with an eye to the future.  Attorney Joseph C. Maya may be reached at Maya Murphy, P.C., 266 Post Road East, Westport, Connecticut (located in Fairfield County), by telephone at (203) 221-3100, or by email at JMaya@mayalaw.com.  The above is not intended to constitute tax advice, and to discuss the potential tax implications of a will or trust, you should consult with a tax professional.

Is an Estate Planned in Another State 15 Years Ago Valid in Connecticut?

If the revocable trust that resulted from the estate plan was validly created 15 years ago, then the estate and trust should be entirely valid in Connecticut.  So long as the trust was validly created, there can be no way to satisfy the conditions for revocation of the trust.  If a trust is created in any jurisdiction that abides by United States law, then that trust is valid and recognized in any jurisdiction.  If you are interested in amending the trust, because it is being brought under Connecticut law and was created 15 years ago, you should consult an experienced trusts and estates attorney.  An experienced attorney will facilitate this process for you, and likely handles issues such as this regularly.

If you have any further questions regarding trusts or estate planning in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Is an Estate Planned in Another State 15 Years Ago Valid in Connecticut?

If the revocable trust that resulted from the estate plan was validly created 15 years ago, then the estate and trust should be entirely valid in Connecticut.  So long as the trust was validly created, there can be no way to satisfy the conditions for revocation of the trust.  If a trust is created in any jurisdiction that abides by United States law, then that trust is valid and recognized in any jurisdiction.  If you are interested in amending the trust, because it is being brought under Connecticut law and was created 15 years ago, you should consult an experienced trusts and estates attorney.  An experienced attorney will facilitate this process for you, and likely handles issues such as this regularly.

If you have any further questions regarding trusts or estate planning in Connecticut, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at (203) 221-3100 or e-mail him directly at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.

Connecticut Superior Court denies Prejudgment Remedy and declines to impose a Constructive Trust

Connecticut Superior Court denies Prejudgment Remedy and declines to impose a Constructive Trust

Marinelli v. Estate of Marinelli, 2011 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1857 (2011)

 

The plaintiff, Michael Marinelli, brought an action against Joanne Marinelli, the executrix of the Estate of Anthony V. Marinelli, Jr. (the “Estate”) and the trustee of the Anthony V. Marinelli, Jr. Revocable Trust (the “Trust”).  The decedent, Anthony V. Marineeli, Jr., fraudulently induced the plaintiff, his brother, to believe that he would receive a 50% ownership interest in real property according to the plaintiff.  A family car repair business was operated on the real property in question and the plaintiff sought to impose a constructive trust.  The plaintiff filed an application for a prejudgment remedy against the Estate and the Trust pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-278d.

The Court held a hearing on the application and found there was an absence of probable cause to believe the plaintiff would prevail.   The plaintiff’s father clearly transferred title of the real property to the decedent who maintained the car repair business and assumed liability for all of its debts.  The evidence presented indicated that the plaintiff voluntarily relinquished his interest in the car repair business.  The apparent representations by his father and brother indicating that the plaintiff would be “taken care of” were imprecise assurances that did not persuade the Court.   There was no evidence of wrongdoing engaged in by the decedent.    As a result, the plaintiff’s application for a prejudgment remedy was denied.

Should you have any questions relating to wills, trusts, estates or probate issues generally, please feel free to contact Attorney Russell J. Sweeting, a lawyer in the firm’s Westport, Connecticut office in Fairfield County by telephone at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at rsweeting@mayalaw.com.

Probate Courts Hearing a Conservator’s Application to Transfer Income from a Conserved Person’s Estate Must Provide Notice to All Parties Who May Have an Interest in the Estate

Probate Courts Hearing a Conservator’s Application to Transfer Income from a Conserved Person’s Estate Must Provide Notice to All Parties Who May Have an Interest in the Estate

Manzo v. Nugent, X04HHDCV105035142S, 2012 WL 1959076 (Conn. Super. Ct. May 8, 2012)

In a recent case before the Superior Court of Connecticut, a named beneficiary of a will filed an appeal to reverse a probate court order that authorized the conservator of his benefactor to transfer all her assets into trusts. The conservator brought a motion to dismiss the appeal based on lack of standing. The court held that the named beneficiary had standing to file his appeal and denied the motion to dismiss.

In January 2008, the probate court appointed John Nugent (“Nugent”) as the conservator of the person and the estate of Josephine Smoron. In April 2009, the Nugent applied to the probate court to approve the creation and funding of a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust for Ms. Smoron. At the time of the May 2009 probate court hearing, Samuel Manzo (“Manzo”) was a named beneficiary under Ms. Smoron’s will. The probate court approved Nugent’s application and authorized the creation and funding of the two trusts; however, the hearing was held without providing notice to Manzo or other named beneficiaries of Ms. Smoron’s will. Nugent, in his capacity as conservator, established and funded the trusts by quitclaiming real property owned by Ms. Smoron to the irrevocable trust and by depositing over $218,000 of her assets to the revocable trust. Pursuant to the terms of the trusts, upon Ms. Smoron’s death, the proceeds were to be distributed to three churches, with no provisions for the beneficiaries named under will. In June 2009, Ms. Smoron died.

Nugent argued that Manzo’s appeal of the probate orders authorizing the creation and funding of Ms. Smoron’s trusts must be dismissed because Manzo was a “mere prospective heir” under Ms. Smoron’s will and, therefore, lacked a sufficient legal interest to challenge the rulings of the probate court. However, in the instant case, the Superior Court found it to be a provable fact that Manzo was a beneficiary of Ms. Smoron’s will rather than a prospective heir.

Connecticut law specifically requires the probate court to hold a hearing and provide notice to “all parties who may have an interest” in the estate before authorizing a conservator to transfer his conserved person’s property. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 45a-655(e). The same law further provides that the probate court should also consider the provisions of an existing estate plan before authorizing the conservator to make transfers of income or principal from the estate of the conserved person. The Superior Court found that, as a named beneficiary under Ms. Smoron’s will at the time of the May 2009 order, Manzo had both an interest in the estate and an interest in ensuring that the probate court considered Ms. Smoron’s will as part of the existing estate plan. Therefore, Manzo should have received notice of the probate court hearing.

Therefore, the Superior Court held that, as a named beneficiary under the will, Manzo was aggrieved by the May 2009 probate court order, should it be permitted to stand. Pursuant to that order, Nugent not only placed Ms. Smoron’s assets in the trusts, but he also designated three churches as beneficiaries of the trusts upon Ms. Smoron’s death. The court characterized these actions as effectively disinheriting Manzo and nullifying any provisions that had been made for him under Ms. Smoron’s will. Based these facts, the trial court determined that Manzo was a proper party to invoke the jurisdiction of the court.

The Superior Court denied Nugent’s motion to dismiss and permitted Manzo to go forward in the Superior Court of Connecticut with his appeal of the probate court orders authorizing the creation and funding of trusts for Ms. Smoron’s estate.

Should you have any questions relating to wills, trusts, estate planning or other personal asset protection issues, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Susan Maya, at SMaya@Mayalaw.com or 203-221-3100, and Attorney Russell Sweeting, at RSweeting@Mayalaw.com or 203-221-3100, in the Maya Murphy office in Westport, Fairfield County, Connecticut.

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