Beckett Law - January 2019

JANUARY 2019

Beckett Law, LLC

Peace of Mind. Not a Piece of Paper TM Estate Planning Law Center, LLC

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WITH OR WITHOUT RESOLUTIONS

Like everyone else, I start my year out by setting big goals in January. I’m going to lose weight, eat right, exercise regularly, and keep a clean house! Blind optimism is the key to a great resolution, but I like to go one step further and throw myself headfirst into it. Eventually, I trail off and get back into my daily groove, never meeting my January 1 objectives, despite my best intentions. But while I let personal goals go, business goals are another story.

“The last thing any child should have to face is the uncertainty of who will take care of them, after the loss of their parent.”

term goals, as well as do some old-fashioned bonding. Our team members work hard, and it’s important to find some time to relax with one another from time to time. When we come back to work, we all know exactly what’s expected of us in order to meet our goals, so we’re focused and ready to find a way to serve more people. In 2018, we made a decision to start taking on Title 19 cases again. We hired a new associate in April, Attorney Rebecca Vicente, and she didn’t waste any time getting the ball rolling. Title 19 is a complicated process, but it’s critical for the senior members of our community as they need more services. We want our clients to have access to as much funding as possible from the State so they can afford home care, nursing, or assisted living. Many of the elderly struggle with cognitive disorders and can be confused when, in order to qualify for the help they need, the State all of a sudden asks for five years of

bank statements. This can be overwhelming if you don’t have help. Our firm’s ability to better assist these clients due to increased staffing was a significant win for us in 2018, and I look forward to increasing our work in this area in 2019. While most of us turn the calendar hoping for a new beginning, something as simple as setting up an effective estate plan can be a wonderful gift for us to give our families. None of us know the future, so it’s up to each of us to protect our families so that they’re not left unprepared in the event of a tragedy. Every child should have a parent that cares enough to establish a specific “what if ” process… which, of course, we all hope won’t be needed for many years to come.

In order to meet our business goals, we have biannual retreats in which we work on our strategic planning for the next 6 months. Operating without a plan is like trying to ride a bike without handlebars – you might start out OK but before you know it, you’ll eventually crash. During these retreats, we take a couple of days to develop our short term and long

Perhaps the greatest compliment you can give our firm is a referral. Referrals are our favorite way to grow our firm, as we are very choosy about the clients we work with. We find that our clients tend to refer friends and family who hold similar values, and those are the ones we most enjoy helping. If you know someone who would benefit from our services, please ask them to give us a call.

–Suzann Beckett

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Peace of Mind. Not a Piece of Paper TM

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The 3 Most-Commonly Missed Aspects of An Estate Plan

A GUIDE TO DOWNSIZING

What to Keep, Gift, Donate, and Throw Out

Estate is a six-letter word that is often treated like a four-letter one. Setting up a strategy for the time following your death probably wasn’t a topic over holiday dinner tables because, let’s face it, most people don’t want to discuss the matter. But being too afraid to have one awkward conversation will only make it more difficult for your loved ones in the long-run. Estate plans are crucial for maintaining the livelihood of your dependents. If you haven’t set up a clear line of succession for your assets, your family could be forced into probate court, where they’ll have to wade through the muck and mire of mediation. It’s important to make sure every distinguishable piece of property has a home, including the following three. On the surface, passwords, streaming accounts, social media, and raw digital data don’t sound like they would be important after you’re gone. But while the world establishes digital platforms for everything — tax returns, banking, family pictures, and more — it’s increasingly necessary for these assets to be involved in your estate plan. Designating a beneficiary for all your digital data will protect your privacy and ensure these valuables go precisely where they should. The one thing people want to discuss less than their estate plan is their relationships, especially ones that could be viewed as taboo within the framework of modern society. Court cases around the country frequently pop up involving a mistress or lover who sues a widow or widower for compensation. Connecticut doesn’t recognize common-law marriages, but that doesn’t mean beneficiaries are exempt from lawsuits. Disclosing this relationship information will help protect your assets and ensure they go exactly where you intended. As sad as it sounds, many families forget to include their furry companions when it comes time to create their estate plan. These pets will have a challenging and uncertain road ahead unless you set a detailed plan in place for their next home after you pass. If you love your pet, don’t condemn them to live out the rest of their days in a shelter. Putting them in your will is a simple solution and the best way to make sure they’re well taken care of. Pets Digital Assets Undisclosed Relationships

Many homeowners reach a point in their lives when they’re ready to move from the house they raised their families in to something smaller and more manageable. While finding the right place can be a challenge, the hardest part of downsizing is often sorting through a lifetime’s worth of possessions. This process, called contents downsizing, is much easier when you follow this four-step system. Start With the Junk Beginning your downsizing with the hardest items will only lead to frustration and inaction. Instead, start by tackling areas of the house that are full of documents, knickknacks, and boxes you haven’t touched in years. These will be the easiest to part with and will put you in the right downsizing mindset. Donate Unwanted Items The next category contains items that are no longer valuable to you or your family but may be useful to others. These items can be donated to one of many worthy organizations, such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or St. Vincent de Paul. Donations are a way to give back to the less fortunate instead of simply giving or throwing things away. Give Gifts to Loved Ones If you have children, they will undoubtedly want to keep a few cherished mementos and precious possessions. Deciding who will keep what can be a sensitive subject, so you’ll need to devise an equitable way to divvy up the goods. Some families engage in the process collaboratively, but there should always be some communication before anything is thrown out. Your kids may value certain items more than you ever realized. If you suspect a certain heirloom could be a source of contention, it’s best to hold on to it and make it part of your estate plan. Only Keep the Essentials After completing the first three steps, you should be left with only those items you actually use and those that have the most sentimental value to you. These are the objects worth bringing to your new home. Bonus Tip: Color Code Each Category Odds are that you’ll find junk and valuables stored right next to each other. If you don’t have time to physically separate them at the moment, use different colored Post-it notes to keep everything organized when it comes time to move.

Is your estate plan up-to-date? Give us a call, and we’ll set a plan in motion for these three assets and all your others. Let’s start today.

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3 Ways to Win With Your Budget Do You Have a Plan in Place?

Many people think of budgets as the constraints that prevent them from spending as they please. But is it the act of allocating funds that makes them feel restricted, or is their mindset toward money to blame? Often, our approach toward income is centered on control. If we spend how we please, then we are free, but if we tell every penny where to go, we’re strapping our paychecks down. Thoughts like these beg the following questions: Who is really in command of your finances? If bills are sneaking up on you and you’re not prepared, are you in control of your money, or is your money controlling you?

Power in Planning

Create an Emergency Fund

The biggest hurdle with creating a budget is the same as with any new practice — getting started. Many of us aren’t wizards with spreadsheets, but the good news is that you don’t have to be. New technology makes managing your money easier than ever. There are several intuitive, online-based software options that can help you create your financial plan and take control of your money.

Another significant stressor is when unexpected events arise that aren’t in the budget. Setting aside a specific amount of money for emergency expenses will create room in your budget and, in turn, create financial peace of mind. Every month is going to have its complications, but setting aside a buffer will make sure you are ready to overcome them. January is a perfect time to look at your budget, as it fits with individual goals for the new year. Of course, creating a budget might be daunting for some, due to its negative connotation, and that’s why we want to help. If you believe the best path to freedom is through bankruptcy, give us a call, and our team will walk you through every step of the process.

Set Your Schedule

Once your budget is set, you need to define your payment schedule. When you know what to expect every day of the month, you minimize the stress that comes from missing payments or not having enough money for groceries. Setting up your schedule on Autopay is a great way to start. With every paycheck, you’ll have an automatic withdrawal. Once the initial work of the automated process is done, you can sit back, relax, and know your finances are taken care of.

‘The Score Takes Care of Itself ’

Bill Walsh onWhat It Means to Be a Leader

The term “game changer” gets tossed around so much these days that it no longer seems to hold enough weight to describe legendary SF 49ers coach like Bill Walsh. But how do you describe someone who quite literally changed the way football is played on the highest level? It takes incredible willpower to defy conventional wisdom and turn a struggling team into a powerhouse. In Walsh’s memoir on leadership, “The Score Takes Care of Itself,” he explores the philosophy that guided him through his coaching career and led him to success. Working with award-winning author Steve Jamison, the two distill Walshs’ decades of experience into a comprehensive guide that can be used by coaches and CEOs alike. One theme throughout the book is the idea that sound fundamentals trump instincts. As Walsh aptly puts it, “Hearing someone described as being able to ‘fly by the seat of his pants’ always suggests to me a leader who hasn’t prepared properly and whose pants may soon fall down.” For long-term success, you have to have a game plan. For Walsh, preparation for leadership begins by bracing yourself for the worst. A mantra repeated throughout the book is “expect defeat.” In business and in football, losses are just a fact of life; how you prepare for and respond to these crises will determine your team’s success.

But the most valuable element of leadership in Walsh’s eyes is how you treat the members of your team. You need to have the courage to let them know you believe in them. Using simple but earnest positive reinforcement, this legendary coach turned the 49ers into an incredible team, and the benefits show. Segments of the book contain anecdotes and reflections from players such as Joe Montana and Randy Cross, whose deep admiration for their former leader speaks volumes.

“The Score Takes Care of Itself ” was published posthumously. Walsh’s son, Craig, did much of the legwork to piece this definitive portrait together. What we are left with is a truly insightful read from one of the most innovative, inspiring minds in sports history. It will be a long time before a book like this comes around again.

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Beckett Law, LLC Estate Planning Law Center, LLC

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If you need legal or other assistance, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Even if it is in a practice area we don’t handle, we can help you find an excellent attorney or other professional. We can even call ahead and introduce you, which is better than finding someone through Google. We’re here to help in any way we can.

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The Future Is Bright for Beckett Law Why Less Stuff Means More Freedom Double-Check Your Estate Plan Best Budget Practices for 2019 The Philosophy of Bill Walsh The Best Skiing Destinations in the World

3 of the World’s Greatest Winter Sports Destinations

WHO’S READY FOR SOME POWDER

The sound of the first carve through fresh powder is the anthem of all winter sports enthusiasts. Here are three of the world’s best places to experience that powder you’ve been craving all year.

Breckenridge, Colorado John Denver’s anthem “Rocky Mountain High” is about the freedom he felt here. Where there are great mountains, there’s even better snow. The ski resort boasts five peaks, 187 trails, 34 lifts, four terrain parks, and a renowned cross-country trail. After a day on the slopes, head into the town of Breckenridge for dining and activities that ditch the glitz and glamour of Vail or Aspen and take you straight to the heart of fun. Whistler, British Columbia, Canada A destination that looks like a cross between a Nordic paradise and Olympic-level runs, Whistler is filled with true magic, winter activities, and a town that captivates the senses. When you see the mountains of British Columbia, you’ll understand why they hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. The location’s beauty is only part of your stimulating experience, because every curve of fresh powder makes your pupils dilate. Once you’re done flying down the hill where Bode Miller took the bronze, head over to the

winter wonderland of the old Olympic Village for a cozy night in a picturesque town. St. Anton, Austria If you want a great location for next year’s Christmas card photo, there’s no better place than the Tyrolean Alps.

Nestled in a valley between perfectly molded mountains, the Austrian landscape provides a beautiful backdrop for your winter excursions. The densely wooded areas and the bright reflection of the snow frame the vibrant town that’s just waiting to be explored. When you’re ready for world-class runs, hop in one of the 11 gondolas and zip down the hills that hosted the 2001 Alpine World Ski Championships.

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