What Connecticut’s New Trust Code Means To You

Connecticut trust law has been overhauled by the adoption of its new Uniform Trust Code effective January 1, 2020. Part I of this two-part Article will highlight important changes for those who have created existing and as yet revocable trusts, and those serving as trustees.

Additionally, broad trustee powers in the Act will be automatically applicable to revocable trusts created prior to and after the Act’s effective date, unless the trust creator clearly states an intent to prohibit any powers not referenced in the trust document. It will be important for the person who created the trust to review these new powers for consistency.

There are mandatory notice rules that will apply to the trustees of all trusts except those that were irrevocable (cannot be changed) prior to 1/1/2020, for certain beneficiaries of a trust, unless the trust document provides for a “designated representative” to receive the notices on the beneficiary’s behalf.

Examples of the information that must be disclosed and when the beneficiary notice requirements apply include:

  1.   The existence of the trust and a copy of the relevant portions of the trust
  2.   Identity of the trustee and contact information
  3.   A successor trustee’s acceptance of the trustee post
  4.   A trust becomes irrevocable (example, when the creator of the trust dies)
  5.   A trustee’s resignation
  6.   The trustee must notify the beneficiary of the right to request an annual report
  7.   The trust situs (state of administration) changes

Certain of the notice rules may be waived in the trust document. If you have a revocable trust or if you may in the future be serving as a trustee of a trust, you may wish to review the Connecticut Trust Code’s impact on your documents or trustee duties.

We stand ready to assist you with your trust and estate planning needs!

Disclaimer: While this blog provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with an attorney, please call one of our lawyers at (860) 316-2741. The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

A Loved One is Having Difficulties Making Personal and Financial Decisions…How Can You Help Them Avoid a Crisis?

Suddenly becoming a primary caregiver for a loved one in Connecticut can be a stressful time for multiple reasons, including both the certain emotional distress of witnessing the deterioration of an elder family member and the uncertainty of how to act in that person’s best interests in legal matters.

Many Middlesex County residents and others in Connecticut unexpectedly thrust into the role as a primary caregiver for an elder Connecticut resident assume that authority to act is based on family relation, but that is not always the case. If you are the spouse, child, or next-of-kin of the Connecticut Elder, such status gives you no legal authority in and of itself. If you are the joint owner with the Elder over a bank account, your authority is limited to the account, but there is no authority to make decisions regarding any solely-owned assets of the Elder.

Properly planning for personal and financial decision-making authority depends upon the current state of the Connecticut Elder. If the Elder is mentally competent to act, s/he may create a number of documents to property assign decision-making authority to loved ones, including:

  • Power of Attorney for finances
  • Health Care Power of Attorney
  • A living will
  • Trust agreement
  • HIPAA Release (Privacy Act) to release health information
  • Advance Designation of Conservator.

By employing these tools, an Elder may both (1) reduce costs and delays in asset management, and (2) ensure that his/her selection of the most appropriate persons to take on these roles and responsibilities is followed upon disability.

If the Elder is no longer competent and has not created any of the foregoing documents, planning for financial and person decision-making authority is significantly more complicated. In those circumstances, you as the caregiver (or another concerned person) must institute conservator proceedings in the probate court district within which the Elder resides to have legal authority to assist the Elder. Conservator proceedings can take significant time and cost, and often delve into very personal affairs that most Elders would prefer to avoid if given the choice.

Don’t wait for a crisis to start a disability decision-making plan. We can discuss the available options for your loved one, create the tools to assure his/her independence and autonomy, and advise when changes to an existing disability plan should be made. Call us for a consultation today.

Disclaimer: While this blog provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with an attorney, please call one of our lawyers at (860) 316-2741. The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship.