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False Facts Friday Issue 4: “I have to use the attorney that my lender assigns for my real estate closing.”

It has been well-established in Connecticut law that consumers have the right to choose their own attorney to represent them in their real estate closings. Yet during the mortgage application process when consumers receive their loan estimate, they see the name of a firm or lawyer on the form and many assume that they have to use that law firm. This is not true. You always have an option to use your own attorney to represent you in your real estate closing and should not feel forced to use the lender’s assigned attorney. This week, the Connecticut House of Representatives

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Medicare Savings Programs Threatened Again

The Fall of 2017 brought uncertainty to the Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) in Connecticut when they were unexpectedly slashed by the state budget. After several months of negotiations, a bipartisan effort was able to revive the program that affects so many seniors. MSP in Connecticut are benefits whereby the State pays for the Medicare premium (currently $135.50 per month/person) and in some cases the prescription costs, deductibles and co-insurance for eligible seniors. There are several types of MSP’s and currently each one has its own income qualification limit. It is estimated that approximately 110,000 seniors benefit from this program. The

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False Facts Friday Issue 3: “My dearly-departed spouse and I owned everything jointly, so there is no need for me to file any papers with the Probate Court.”

Most people want to avoid “probate.” Sometimes when a couple hears that if they own all of their assets jointly they will avoid probate, they understand that to mean nothing has to be done when their spouse passes away. This is not true. In Connecticut, when someone passes away, it is necessary to file an Estate Tax Return. This is true if the person owned assets in his or her own name, or owned all of his or her assets jointly with their spouse or someone else. Now before you start cursing Connecticut (a state I happen to love), let’s

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False Facts Friday Issue 2: “As a parent, I can access my college-aged child’s medical information in an emergency.”

For many parents, December is the time when their empty nests fill up with college-aged children returning home for their holiday break. It is a time of joy, reconnecting and lots of laundry. Hopefully your student’s time away from home was filled with learning and growing in good health. The last thing parents want to think about is that their child might have to be hospitalized while away at school, but it is important to be prepared.   Worse than having your college-aged child hospitalized is hearing from the hospital staff that you cannot receive any information on your child’s

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Ten Timely Tips To Avoid Family Squabbles

By Joan Reed Wilson, Esq. In our estate planning, probate and elder law practice here at  RWC,  LLC, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, we often see family squabbles that erupt because of unmet expectations. Many of these expectations involve emotionally-valuable personal property. And many of them erupt after the passing of a loved one. In many instances, had the family discussed these expectations prior to their loved one’s passing, these squabbles (some of which end up severing family relationships for a lifetime) could have been avoided.  With the holidays upon us, we urge you to use these tips. Please feel

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False Facts Friday Issue 1: If I Don’t Protect My Money, the State Will Take It

By: Joan Reed Wilson, Esq. Welcome to this edition of FALSE FACTS FRIDAY. In my twenty years of practicing law, I have heard some very incorrect and inaccurate information, which many people believe to be true, sometimes to their detriment. With this periodic blog, I hope to spread the truth. FALSE FACT Vol. 1, Issue 1:   If I don’t protect my money, the State will take it. This is probably the most common “inaccurate” statement that I hear in my elder law practice. We do help clients protect their assets, but not because the State will take them if you

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REAL ESTATE NEWS: New Property Condition Disclosure Form

REAL ESTATE NEWS: New Property Condition Disclosure Form

By: Joan Reed Wilson, Esq.      Effective August 10, 2018, the Connecticut Residential Property Condition Disclosure Form has changed. The revised form applies to all residential real estate listed on or after August 10, 2018. The old form will expire on August 9, 2018. The law still requires the seller to credit the purchaser $500 at closing if the seller fails to provide the disclosure form.  Click here to see the new form.       The Connecticut Association of Realtors has prepared a summary of the changes.

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MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLANS: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that beginning in 2019, Medicare Advantage plans will cover supplemental non-skilled home benefits that include daily maintenance. This is the first time that CMA has allowed a service that covers daily maintenance to be eligible as a supplemental benefit. The Agency stated that “under the new definition, the agency will allow supplemental benefits if they compensate for physical impairments, diminish the impact of injuries or health conditions, and/or reduce avoidable emergency room utilization.” “Our priority is to ensure that our seniors have more choices and lower premiums in

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SENIOR TAX RELIEF PROGRAM APPLICATION INFORMATION

SENIOR TAX RELIEF PROGRAM 2018 By: Joan Reed Wilson, Attorney at Law The State of Connecticut Homeowner’s Tax Relief Program provides real estate tax relief for seniors and disabled homeowners who qualify. Qualification depends on the homeowner’s age and gross income. If you or someone you know is over age 65 (or has been deemed disabled) and had income in 2017 that was less than$43,000 (married) or $35,300 (unmarried), be sure to visit your Town’s Assessor with your completed 2017 tax return as soon as possible to complete the necessary application. The application period expires on May 15, 2018.   For more

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Am I the Only Lawyer Without a Will?

It is about that time of year that most of our New Year Resolutions have gone by the wayside. I am not big on resolutions, but admit to having a few. Some were business oriented, including a promise to myself to update our law firm blog more frequently with interesting and informative articles. Others were more personal. So as I write tonight, I have decided to get back to those resolutions and kill two birds with one stone. To do so, I need to make a confession. Well, two confessions. The first is that this is the first article I

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