What Is Per Stirpes? “Per stirpes” is a legal term (which in Latin means “by branch”) usually included in the Last Will and Testament or beneficiary designations for individual retirement accounts (IRAs). By branch, as in down the family tree branches. If a beneficiary (someone who would receive an inheritance), predeceases (dies before) the testator…
Estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Regardless of your age or income level, it is important for everyone to have a plan in place to outline your desires for how to handle your finances and health care decisions. At Reed Wilson Case, LLC, we offer a wide range of estate planning services.
Estate Planning Services
Under Connecticut law, if you die without a will your spouse may be left with only one-half of your estate, with the other half distributed to your children — even if they are minors! For clients with minor children, a will is also especially important to name a trusted loved one to become the guardian of your children if they are under age 18 when both their parents pass away.
We can also set up trusts for children so that if something happens to you before your children turn 21, their inheritance can be kept secure and used for the proper purposes until they are responsible enough. If you have a child with special needs, we can establish a Special Needs Trust for that child’s lifetime.
If you are interested in avoiding probate, we can assist by establishing a living trust. Any assets that are transferred into the living trust will pass to your designated beneficiaries without having to go through the probate process.
Estate planning also includes planning for potential incapacity. By establishing an advance health care directive, you can guide your loved ones in making health care decisions on your behalf in case there comes a day when you cannot make those decisions for yourself.
You can outline your own decisions regarding your finances by working with us to establish a power of attorney. There are several types of powers of attorney that can be used to fit your needs, including a general durable power of attorney that becomes immediately effective, or a springing power of attorney that becomes effective only when you become incapacitated.
Estate tax planning is part of the estate plan. Currently, the Connecticut estate tax exemption is $2.6 million per person. If your estate is over the estate tax exemption, we may be able to establish an estate plan that eliminates estate taxes.
When Should You Start Estate Planning?
We encourage individuals, couples, and families to start planning now. We understand that people are often nervous about speaking with a lawyer. Our approach to working with people is to view estate planning as a collaborative process.
Some of the most common comments we hear after an initial consultation are “You explained that so much more clearly than anyone else.” “I feel like I really understand now.” and “I’m so relieved that we finally did this.”