James D. Funnell, Jr.  
Attorney at Law

Estate Planning

Estate planning is most commonly thought of as the three-fold process of recording your wishes for your family and your assets at the time of your death, considering the transfer of certain assets during your lifetime, and planning for your possible incapacity during lifetime.

Generally, planning for your death involves arranging for the tax-efficient transfer of your assets to your intended beneficiaries, and appointing the guardian for your minor children. Asset transfer planning often includes the use of trusts aimed at reducing or eliminating estate (death) taxes, protecting the inheritances of young beneficiaries from their own immaturity, and protecting other beneficiaries from creditors, predators, and divorce.

You may wish to transfer certain assets to your family during your lifetime for tax or other reasons. In making a lifetime gift, you must consider the impact of that gift on your future lifestyle, the tools for tax efficient transfer, and whether the intended beneficiaries need to be protected from their own immaturity or creditors.

Your estate plan should also address the possibility that you may be unable to make decisions for yourself at some point in your lifetime because of incapacity. Planning for incapacity usually involves naming an individual or individuals to make financial, health care, and other decisions for you, as well as documenting your decisions regarding the deeply personal medical choices as life nears its end.

Jim Funnell uses his substantial estate planning experience to create a thoughtful estate plan to:

- Protect your surviving spouse from predators;

- Appoint legal guardians to care for minor children;

- Direct how the assets for your children will be managed until they mature;

- Protect your children’s inheritances from creditors, predators, and divorce;

- Provide for children with special needs;

- Provide for your unmarried or domestic partner;

- Reduce or eliminate estate and gift taxes;

- Eliminate estate taxes on your life insurance policies using an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust;

- Coordinate distribution of your retirement plan and IRA assets with your asset transfer plan;

- Reduce the cost and time associated with probate;

- Provide liquidity after death to pay taxes and debts;

- Direct how your assets will be managed upon incapacity;

- Appoint your Attorney-in-Fact and a Health Care Representative;

- Facilitate and maximize charitable giving;

                    - Transfer assets at a discount using QPRTs and GRATs.

                                                                                                              James D. Funnell, Jr.
                                                                                                    Hermenze & Marcantonio LLC
                                                                                                         19 Ludlow Road, Suite 101
                                                                                                    Westport, Connecticut  06880