“FALSE FACTS FRIDAY, Issue 12: “I Can Give AWAY $10,000 Every Year Without Penalty.”

By: Joan Reed Wilson, Esq. With Thanksgiving around the corner and the end of the year fast approaching, many of you may be thinking about making gifts to your children and grandchildren. Who has heard that you can give away $10,000 every year to every one in your family without penalty? In my practice, I hear that A LOT. Is it true? I’m afraid not. First, the good news. The law that most people are thinking of when they mention this is the Gift Tax Exclusion. It is part of the estate and gift tax laws and currently it allows

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FALSE FACTS FRIDAY Issue 11: “I Was Happy with My Medicare Plan, So I Don’t Have to Review It for Next Year.”

By: Joan Reed Wilson, Esq. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (“AEP”) began this week and extends until December 7. AEP is the time that Medicare recipients can change their Medicare plan. People who have been satisifed with their plan may not think to review their plans; however, it is wise to do so every year. Why? For one, the plans change every year. This year, Aetna was bought by CVS so some of their prescription drug plans changes. In addition, many new plans come out each year. There are over 25 plans to choose from in Connecticut this year. Another

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FALSE FACTS FRIDAY Issue 10: When A Loved One Dies, I Will Be Invited to a Reading of the Will

By: Joan Reed Wilson, Esq. I consider myself an intelligent person with a good education, but I do not spend my days working in a hospital. So admittedly, what I “know” about hospitals, I learned by watching ER and Grey’s Anatomy. I’m sure my friends who do work in hospitals will tell me most of what we see on those shows is far from the truth. In the same vain, it is not surprising that people who do not practice probate law believe what they have seen on television or movies. For example, have you heard of the “READING OF

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FALSE FACTS FRIDAY Issue 9: “If I Sell My Home, I Have to Reinvest in a More Expensive Home to Avoid Taxes”

By: Joan Reed Wilson, Esq. As a lawyer who is passionate about educating the public, I find that a lot of people are unaware of certain laws that affect them. At the same time, certain laws seem to stick in people’s minds, even decades after the law has changed. How many of you have heard that you have to reinvest the proceeds of the sale of your home into a new primary residence of equal or higher value in order to avoid paying capital gains taxes? I know I had heard that law and yet this law was eliminated in

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FALSE FACTS FRIDAY ISSUE 8: The Closing Date in our Real Estate Contract is THE DATE We Will Close.

By: Joan Reed Wilson, Esq. Spring has sprung in Connecticut and with it, flowers, birds and lots and lots of real estate contracts! In our office we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of contracts this month. The real estate contract is typically called a “Purchase and Sales Agreement”. The transaction is initiated by the party who wants to purchase the property (usually with their real estate agent’s help) by submitting the “offer”. The offer includes the pertinent terms of the deal, including the purchase price and closing date. When the seller signs the offer, it becomes an Agreement

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FALSE FACTS FRIDAY, ISSUE 7: “I CAN ONLY HELP SOMEONE IF I DONATE MY ORGANS FOR TRANSPLANT.”

By: Joan Reed Wilson, Esq. The last part of the Connecticut Advance Healthcare Directive form includes a section that begins “I hereby make this anatomical gift…” The section includes several boxes to check to make a choice about which organs the person wants to donate and for what reasons. One of the boxes references another Connecticut statute, 19a-289j. When I explain to clients that by checking this box, they are agreeing to allow their organs to be donated for research purposes, many immediately say, “oh no, I only want my organs used for transplant so they can help someone.” So

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False Facts Friday, Issue 6: “I signed a DNR with my lawyer.”

False Facts Friday, Issue 6: “I signed a DNR with my lawyer.”

By: Joan Reed Wilson, Esq. The first part of the current Connecticut Advance Healthcare Directive form (and for some people the only advance healthcare directive that they have) is known as the Living Will. The Living Will is the statement that if a physician or an APRN (a new addition to Connecticut law as of October 2018) determines that you are in a coma or persistive vegetative state that the physician or APRN determines you will not come out of, then you do not want to be kept alive on life support machines. This is NOT a DNR. “DNR” stands

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False Facts Friday, Issue 5: I Have to Use the Lawyer Who Drafted My Parent’s Will to Probate the Estate

“I Have to Use the Lawyer Who Drafted My Parent’s Will to Probate the Estate.” By: Joan Reed Wilson, Esq. In the past week, we have received calls from two different clients whom we had helped in the past. Each of them called because they were in the process of probating their parents estates and both were quite frustrated and wanted our advice. They each said that they had hired the attorney who had drafted the parent’s Will and were not happy with the services. When I asked them why they did not contact us in the first place, they

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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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