We are excited to announce that Attorney Rosenberg has been selected to present a paper in the CT NAELA Practice Update based on his appeals court victory in Harborside Conn. Ltd. Partnership v. Witte earlier this year. Practice Update is the official journal for our state’s chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the nations preeminent education and advocacy source for the practice of elder law.
In the Harborside case, the nation’s largest nursing home chain sued the widow of a former resident for her husband’s outstanding bill. Since neither of them had signed a contract, the nursing home claimed they were entitled to collect the debt directly from the widow because she had managed the family finances, paid the bills, and received insurance checks in the past. When this claim was thrown out of court without a trial, the nursing home appealed. In a split decision, the Appeals Court upheld the dismissal of the suit, siding with the brief of Attorney Rosenberg and lead appeal counsel Miguel Almodóvar. The court ruled that the nursing home only had a debt with the decedent, and could only recover it by filing a claim with his probate estate. Because this decision comes from the appellate court, other judges may now be required to throw out similar lawsuits in the future.
Ordinarily, spouses are jointly responsible for their housing and necessary medical expenses, but both state and federal laws require a spouse to volunteer through a written document in the case of nursing home care.
The published paper, Anatomy of Harborside v. Witte, may be downloaded here.
The Estate Planning Ticker will be undergoing some upgrades in the near future. It’s my hope to give the blog’s style a decent upgrade, then pull the rest of my website into it for a more consistent and interactive client experience. If you happen to notice a missing heading, oddly shifted pictures or mismatched colors, it’s all part of the process.
I continue to appreciate your readership.
The $45 will storage solution
A common non-legal question estate planning attorneys get is where you should keep the documents we draft for them. As is so often the case in law, the best answer is “it depends.” For most people, I feel a lock-box inside the house is usually the best solution, but in some cases, the traditional “valuables in the safe deposit box” approach remains a better choice. Here are some of the major considerations:
The Merits of the Fireproof Lock-Box
Most of my clients are people with spouses and children who get along well, or even if they bicker or are distant, have some modicum of respect and integrity amongst them. The kids will know the basics of their parents’ estate plans, and anyone who is asked to be a power of attorney, healthcare representative, or trustee of a trust will get copies of the documents naming them to those positions. You might even give the named executor a copy of your will. In any of these cases, I’m a big proponent of fireproof lock-boxes, like the Sentry 1100 or F2300 (also waterproof, pictured above). These and similar boxes, about the size of two small loaves of bread, can be kept in a bottom file drawer, closet, or under your bed. They are easy to find, can hold all of your important documents, and offer a modicum of fire and water protection. The locks are laughable – on the First Alert version it’s a plastic clasp – but this is usually a good thing: it’s sufficient to keep prying eyes away, but can be accessed in an emergency even without the key.
In honor of having hung up my shingle on the Connecticut Shoreline I’ve decided to start this blog in the hopes of sharing some of my thoughts and providing various insights on the practice of law as it is and developments in the area. While much of the focus will be on CT estate planning, I hope to delve into other relevant professional observations as well.
Please note that this blog is offered as a primer to myself and my practice only. The colloquial terms I use here may differ from technical ones, those used by the government, or those used by other practitioners. My statements may reflect my opinion of the law rather than legal fact. Some posts may be in need of editing or become outdated and, of course, the law varies from one state to another. In short, all legal decisions should be made in consultation with an experienced, licensed attorney in the area where you live, and nothing on this blog should be taken to constitute legal advice, particularly as advice to avoid or evade taxes.