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

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 THE WILL”? Of course you

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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”

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 1997, which was the year

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

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 with a capital A. It

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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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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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