Attorney Roberson attends 2016 Federal Tax Institute of New England

On Friday, November 18, 2016 Attorney Dale C. Roberson attended the Connecticut Bar Association’s 2016 Federal Tax Institute of New England. This educational event included national speakers presenting on cutting edge tax and estate planning issues, affecting individuals and businesses.

Topics included:

Modern Uses of Partnerships in Estate Planning;
Choosing Wisely Among Charitable Income Plans;
Connecticut Income Tax and Estate Tax Domicile and Residency Audits;
Annual Taxable Gifts, and Business Succession Planning;
Fiduciary Income Tax.

Attorney Roberson has practiced law in Connecticut for more than 30 years, most of that serving individuals and businesses in Hartford and Tolland counties.  Attorney Roberson’s practice is focused on estate planning, elder law, bankruptcy, civil litigation, and a wide range of legal matters.

He can be reached at (860) 872-3000, or by email:  dale@marder-law.com

Last Will & Testament must be properly witnessed

In Connecticut a Last Will & Testament is not filed in any public record, until it is presented to a probate court after a person passes away.  For it to be admitted to probate as a valid will, a Last Will & Testament must be executed with certain formalities.  The proper signatures of attesting witnesses are essential to the due execution of a will.  Buck v. Robinson, 128 Conn. 376 (1941).

The proponent of the will (the person who presents the will to the Probate Court) must prove that the will’s execution was in compliance with the statute in effect at the time it was executed.

To be valid, the Will must comply strictly with the requirements of Connecticut General Statutes § 45a-251, which provides:

A will or codicil shall not be valid to pass any property unless it is in writing, subscribed by the testator and attested by two witnesses, each of them subscribing in the testator’s presence; but any will executed according to the laws of the state or country where it was executed may be admitted to probate in this state and shall be effectual to pass any property of the testator situated in this state.  [Current through the 2015 Regular and Special Sessions  § 45a-251. (Formerly Sec. 45-161). Making and execution of wills. Wills executed outside the state.]

In a recent Connecticut Appellate Court case, the court noted that Connecticut law does not recognize a “substantial compliance exception” to the strict statutory requirements.   The place for the signature of the witnesses, on the proposed will at issue in the case, was left blank.  The witnesses, if there were any, did not sign the actual will.  Affidavits by purported witnesses (the affidavits were presented separately from the will) having been presented in an effort to show “substantial compliance” were deemed insufficient under Connecticut law.  The proposed Last Will was not admitted to probate.

See:  Davis v. Davis-Henriques, Connecticut Appellate Court, No. AC 37495 (Feb. 23, 2016).

Buying Real Estate: Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common

Whether an attorney must be present at a real estate closing, typically depends on the state’s view of whether a non-attorney conducting a closing, is the “unauthorized practice of law”.  Connecticut, unlike many other states, still heavily relies on attorneys to conduct closings.

If you are buying real estate in Connecticut, and you are taking title jointly with another person such as your spouse, ask your attorney for advice on how to take title.  There are differences between a “joint tenancy” and a “tenancy in common”.

In a tenancy in common “each cotenant holds an undivided partial … interest in the whole of their property… A consequence of this form of ownership is that a cotenant can freely sell, lease or mortgage his own undivided interest in the whole property to a third party without the consent of the remaining cotenants … A cotenant may not, however, act unilaterally so as to bind the interest of his cotenant.”    (Citations omitted.)  Ianotti v. Ciccio, 219 Conn. 36, 41 (1991).

Typically married persons who take title to real estate elect “Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship”.   The survivorship provision results in vesting of the entire title to the property, to the surviving party, on the other’s death.  This shows how your decision to take title to real estate, is part of your overall estate plan.

At Marder, Roberson & DeFelice Law Offices, LLC our attorneys are knowledgeable in both real estate conveyancing, and estate planning.   When you buy a home, take some time to think about your estate plan.