This Year's New Years Resolution...Have a Last Will And Testament Drafted!

  • By Vincent Averaimo
  • 03 Jan, 2017

Milford Law wants to remind you this is the best time to evaluate your needs.

As 2016 comes to an end, many people start discussing their New Year’s Resolution. Many evaluate their retirement accounts, their tax liability and other pressing issues. What many fail to do is evaluate their need for a Last Will and Testament.

Milford Law wants to remind you this is the best time to evaluate your needs. Ask yourself; (1) Do I have a Will?; (2) Should I review my Will (if you have one of course) to determine if any changes are needed?

If you don’t have a Will you need one. If you have had a life changing circumstance, you should review your Will. Regardless, you really should review your Will no more than every five (5) years.

For those of you who don’t have a Will, the cost of not having one is so much greater than you may think. We have all heard stories where the long lost second cousin from Italy now gets a share of an estate despite never meeting the decedent. Or more importantly what about the spouse who loses her inheritance to her minor child when her husband passes away because there was no Will? In that instance, one may think that the mother/spouse would control the funds but the Court might appoint a Guardian ad Litem and she would have no control!

These are not just situations that are elaborately thought up to convince you all to obtain a Will. Rather, they are basic facts of some real life cases that we have handled for clients.

So as 2016 becomes 2017 give us a call to revise your Will, draft a new Will or discuss your estate planning concerns. It's part of what we do!

Happy Holidays!

Milford Law Articles

By Vincent Averaimo 08 Jun, 2017
We are happy to announce that Chris Groleau has recently re-joined our Milford Law team this year. We are so glad to have him back. Chris joined us at the 2017 Carrington Charitable Foundation Gala. We were happy to spend our Saturday supporting our wounded Heroes and honoring their sacrifices.

The Carrington Charitable Foundation (CCF)  is a non-profit organization that focuses on giving back to the communities. Their Veteran focused Signature Program focuses on providing Mobility, Stability, Purpose and Prosperity for Veterans returning from the post 9/11 conflict battlefields.

One of their great Signature Programs is the Carrington House. Through this program, CCF is able to provide housing assistance to wounded military Heroes of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. With the support, they are able to construct custom, adaptive homes throughout the United States that meet the unique needs of each wounded Veteran. These homes help give them back the feeling of independence and freedom to live comfortably with their families. CCF also donates houses near key military hospital centers to house families during the difficult post-injury  recovery process. Through the efforts of The Carrington Companies' subsidiaries, CCF is able to donate homes that have been rehabilitated and sold. Funds from the sales of these homes are directed to the construction of new homes for Veterans.

We are proud to sponsor this wonderful event. If you'd like to learn more about this organization and how you can help, check it out here:

View Carrington Charitable Foundation's Website
By Vincent Averaimo 03 Jan, 2017

As 2016 comes to an end, many people start discussing their New Year’s Resolution. Many evaluate their retirement accounts, their tax liability and other pressing issues. What many fail to do is evaluate their need for a Last Will and Testament.

Milford Law wants to remind you this is the best time to evaluate your needs. Ask yourself; (1) Do I have a Will?; (2) Should I review my Will (if you have one of course) to determine if any changes are needed?

If you don’t have a Will you need one. If you have had a life changing circumstance, you should review your Will. Regardless, you really should review your Will no more than every five (5) years.

For those of you who don’t have a Will, the cost of not having one is so much greater than you may think. We have all heard stories where the long lost second cousin from Italy now gets a share of an estate despite never meeting the decedent. Or more importantly what about the spouse who loses her inheritance to her minor child when her husband passes away because there was no Will? In that instance, one may think that the mother/spouse would control the funds but the Court might appoint a Guardian ad Litem and she would have no control!

These are not just situations that are elaborately thought up to convince you all to obtain a Will. Rather, they are basic facts of some real life cases that we have handled for clients.

So as 2016 becomes 2017 give us a call to revise your Will, draft a new Will or discuss your estate planning concerns. It's part of what we do!

Happy Holidays!

By Vincent Averaimo 23 Nov, 2016

With the holidays upon us, Layaway Contracts are very popular and have had their place in the retail world for decades. For the everyday shopper, a layaway program is a great program because it allows a shopper to set aside an item and pay for it a little at a time. With the economy being what it is, many use the layaway contract as a means to provide gifts for family, friends and loved ones throughout this Holiday Season. But is it safe?

Layaway is an agreement that many retailers use which require payments towards a particular item. They can be weekly payments or even monthly payments. The store will generally charge a fee in order to set the item aside into the “layaway program.”

In most instances, if you don’t make your payments under the Layaway Contract, you will lose all of the money you previously paid towards that item. This is due to the fact that the store will generally charge you a restocking fee which, not-surprisingly, will take up most, if not all of the payments a shopper had previously made.

Under those terms, you could pay for an item you never get, the store gets your money and still keeps the merchandise to sell to another buyer at retail. Sounds like a great deal for the retailer; not so much for the consumer.

This is not to say that all retailers have such one sided agreements, but it does once again show the need to review any type of agreement, whether a layaway contract or a contract to have work done on your home. The bottom line is you must carefully look over any type of agreement you sign. Better yet, have an attorney review it prior to signing same. In this digital age, many retailers, automobile dealers and legitimate vendors will provide access to the terms of their agreements online. Take a look!

Milford Law has drafted, reviewed and counseled thousands of clients in contract matters. If you have a matter you would like us to review, please contact us with this form or call at (203) 874-6773.

By Vincent Averaimo 20 Oct, 2016

Talking about death and dying is never fun. But, unfortunately, it is necessary. If you don’t have a Will, you should. If you have not reviewed your Will, you should (at least every five (5) years unless there is life changing circumstance...like you win the lotto!). Failure to do so could mean your long-lost cousin from Lithuania gets a windfall even though the two of you never met (yes – that happened in a case I handled!).

Today, however, I am going to let you in on one of the most interesting changes in the world of estate planning and directives. That is the new Uniform Power of Attorney Act. This new act has become effective as of 10.1.16 and impacts everyone with a proper basic estate plan. 

Some tips are:

1. You must use the new forms after 10.1.16;
2. Powers of Attorney (POA) executed prior to 10.1.16, if executed correctly, are still valid unless properly revoked at some point;
3. The new POAs have new features:
  • The Attorney in Fact will now be referred to as an Agent;
  • Powers are durable unless they provide otherwise;
  • Co-agents must act jointly unless they provide otherwise;
  • Heath Care decisions are not governed by the new Act
If you have any questions about the new changes of law, need a Will or just want to discuss your options, give us a call. We are happy to meet with you to discuss your planning needs. Thanks!
By Vincent Averaimo 19 Oct, 2016

We are pleased to announce that our law firm has been named a 2016 Law Firm 500 Honoree. Earlier this year we were nominated for our growth, operational excellence and commitment to client service. It is an honor to be included as one of the top one-hundred fastest growing law firms in America.

We would like to use this opportunity to thank our loyal clients, and partners who have supported us as we have grown. Partner, Vincent J. Averaimo said, "We are proud to be recognized for our efforts and commitment to client service and innovation in technology. We have made great efforts to afford our clients with all of the advantages of a large law firm while maintaining the culture and personal attention of a small firm."  

Beyond being a highly-experienced general practice law firm, great care is taken in providing our clients with the utmost in personal service. We strive to be as accessible as possible, communicating personally rather than through voice mail or menus. For more information about our firm please visit: milfordlegal.com or directdefault.com

As we continue to grow, we encourage you to follow our progress, and stay in touch! You can view the full list of Law Firm 500 Honoree firms here: https://lawfirm500.com/award-honorees/

By Vincent Averaimo 13 Sep, 2016
Technology is a wonderful thing. A new craze sweeping the nation is security cameras at private homes. Today security cameras can be installed professionally at someone’s home, at their business or one can purchase an easy “do it yourself” security system with cameras from Walmart. All have the ability to record and preserve footage.

Whether it is a door bell with a video camera or a motion sensor camera on the side of a home, a person can know who is at their property, who came to their property or even who is walking near their property at any given time. These systems are so technologically savvy that one can access the footage from their smartphone seeing it in real time and even save it to a hard drive.

Initially, it sounds like a wonderful thing, until you think you are being watched. You are having a nice dinner in your backyard and you are being watched. You are going swimming and being watched. You want to relax in your hot tub and being watched. You are washing your car in your driveway and being watched. Your kids are playing in the backyard and being watched.

You see, many of these cameras can zoom in, zoom out, are very clear, have microphones and even have night vision. At this time, there is no general requirement that the owners and operators of these video cameras obtain the approval of any governmental entity before installing and using them. Chapdelaine v Duncan, 2014 WL 6996296.

Could the installation of video security cameras by your neighbor violate your rights to privacy?

“To succeed in a claim for invasion of privacy, one must prove ‘(a) unreasonable intrusion upon the seclusion of another; (b) appropriation of the other’s name or likeness; (c) unreasonable publicity given to the other’s private life; or (d) publicity that unreasonably places the other in a false light before the public.’” Id. at *5.

“The State has restricted video and other camera use in limited circumstances; see, Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 53a-189a, banning ‘voyeurism’ which is defined as maliciously recording a person (a) without the knowledge and consent of such other person, (b) while such other person is not in plain view, and (c) under circumstances where such other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.” Id. at *14.

Whether or not the placement of a video camera violates a person’s privacy is evaluated on a case by case basis.

The Supreme Court in the United States v Dunn, 480 U.S. 294, 107 S.Ct. 1134 (1987) recognized that a person’s home is a particularly sensitive area and that, at least, for purposes of criminal law enforcement the home may be subject to a higher level of privacy than other areas would be.

The Court has established a four (4) prong test for someone to claim the increased level of privacy of their home. (1) the proximity of the area claimed in relation to the home, (2) whether the area is included within an enclosure surrounding the home, (3) the nature of the uses to which the area is put and (4) the steps taken by the resident to protect the area from observation from other people passing by.

The saying goes, “good fences make good neighbors.” But what good is a fence if the video camera on the side of the house next door is directed into your home or backyard?

If you feel as if your privacy rights are being violated please give Kapusta, Otzel & Averaimo a call. We’re here to listen and advise.
By Vincent Averaimo 10 Sep, 2013
New developments from the Connecticut DMV can help make your estate planning a bit easier. We also want to update you on new developments and services within our firm.

When Planning Your Estate, Don’t Forget the Car. The number one item people forget about in an estate is the car. Many times, everything else is left to the deceased person’s survivors, but the car is forgotten. In order to have the car transferred to the proper person, a surviving family member must go through the probate process – the court process by which assets are devised to heirs in an estate. The cost of probate court depends on the size of the estate. The expense of this process may outweigh the value of the car.

New DMV Regulations Help to Make the Transition Smoother. The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles has helped to make this process a bit easier. The state provides for transfer on death or TOD Registration, for new vehicles.

When registering, an automobile owner can designate a beneficiary on the registration form. Upon death this will be treated in the same way as a recipient of a life insurance policy. It will pass outside of probate and the court process can be avoided. The process will repeat every two years with a new auto registration.

When the owner passes away, the designated beneficiary can take the registration to DMV within 60 days of death, along with personal identification and the death certificate. The DMV will issue a new registration and title, and there will be no need of Probate Court intervention.

Let Us Help You With Your Estate. Kapusta, Otzel & Averaimo counsels its clients in estate planning as well as representing individuals in the Connecticut Probate Courts. We are happy to discuss the best way to structure your estate and your will, as well as your plans to be sure that your wishes are carried out upon your death. If you would like more information or are in need of a representative, call our office for a no-obligation consultation. Why leave it to chance?

New Services Now Offered Through Kapusta, Otzel & Averaimo.   Kapusta, Otzel & Averaimo is now approved to handle and is currently accepting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac files for representation in default-related services, including foreclosures, bankruptcy, evictions and REOs. If you are looking for someone to represent you in one of these cases, call our firm today. We look forward to assisting you.

By Vincent Averaimo 24 Jun, 2013
Spring is here and along with the nice weather, vacation planning and first barbecue’s of the season, many individuals are planning their home renovation project. Whether it is power washing your deck, painting your home, putting on an addition or several smaller jobs there are rules you must follow to be sure you are not taken advantage of by a contractor.

Are They Licensed?  We have all seen it on the news, heard about it from a friend or neighbor and hope it never happens to us; the contractor who starts the job and does not finish, the contractor who takes a deposit and never returns to start the job or the contractor who finishes the job only for the homeowner to later find out that it was done all wrong or without permits!
Every general contractor must be licensed pursuant to the State of Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. If they are licensed their insurance will also be verified.
If they are not licensed or insured DO NOT HIRE THEM!
The State of Connecticut of Department of Consumer Protection gives individuals tips on how to hire the proper contractor and remain as safe as possible from scams or being taken advantage of. Take a look!

Get it in Writing. When hiring any contractor for any project, it must be in writing! According to Connecticut General Statutes Section 20-429 et seq. no home improvement contract shall be valid or enforceable against an owner unless it:

  1. is in writing;
  2. is signed by the owner and the contractor;
  3. contains the entire agreement between the owner and the contractor;
  4.  contains the date of the transaction;
  5.  contains the name and address of the contractor;
  6. contains a notice of the owner’s cancellation rights in accordance with the provisions of chapter 740;
  7. contains a starting date and a completion date; and
  8. is entered into by a registered salesman or registered contractor.

Not withstanding the above requirements, the contractor must be aware that any change in the terms and conditions shall be in writing and shall be signed by the owner and the contractor. That means if you want something added on get it in writing so you are not surprised later.

Do Your Homework. A Home Improvement Contract is non compliant with the act when:
  • Is not signed by the contractor and the owner;
  • A fully signed copy was not delivered to the owner; and
  • Does not contain a statement that this is the full agreement of the parties.
Get referrals, Google the company (you will be amazed at what you find), utilize the State of Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection verification of license service to be sure the license is valid and find out if there were ever any complaints (just because someone puts a license on their business card does not mean its valid) and go with your gut.

Kapusta Otzel & Averaimo has engaged in civil litigation throughout the State of Connecticut against numerous contractors who have tried to take advantage of homeowners through renovation projects and violated the Home Improvement Act.
If you have been taken advantage of by a Home Improvement Contractor and need results, please call us. We have extensive experience in these matters and know how to get results.
By Vincent Averaimo 14 Jun, 2013
With the unfortunate effects of Storm Sandy, the ever re-occurring question of whose responsibility it is for a fallen tree or fallen branches is being asked again.

Whose Responsibility is it?

The laws pertaining to trees, braches and roots between neighbors is discussed in the case of McCrann v. Planning & Zoning of Bloomfield, 161 Conn. 65 in which the Court ruled that a landowner has a right to remove invading branches from trees residing on adjacent properties.

The Court stated, “Where trees are located on the property of one party and their roots or branches extend onto the property of a second party, the latter may lop off the branches or roots up to the line of his land….This does not mean, of course, that complete disregard for the welfare of the trees is permitted.

In Dalling v. Weinstein, 6 Conn. Sup. 498, (1939), the Court of common pleas determined that a landowner could not recover damages from his neighbor resulting from failure to remove a tree blown onto his land by a hurricane. The court held it was an Act of God that the neighbor was not responsibility for, reasoning that “to attach liability to the defendant in the instant case, there must be something more than mere ownership of the tree which has been cast upon the Plaintiff’s land. There must be some act of neglect upon the defendant’s part, some fault on his part.”

Therefore, the general rule is that a landowner may remove branches from neighboring trees growing on adjoining lots that overhang that landowner’s property but he may not do so if that removal will destroy the entire tree. Additionally, if the owner of the tree has noticed that the tree and/or its branches creates a hazard they may be liable for damages if the tree does in fact fall.
 
The State of Connecticut Insurance Department published an excellent article entitled “Reducing Tree Damage” that can be located at www.ct.gov/cid or www.disastersafety.org .
By Vincent Averaimo 15 Feb, 2013
A Will and estate documents are not only for wealthy individuals. People at all economic levels can benefit from a Will and other estate planning documents because they legally protect and distribute property based on your interests, your wishes and the needs of your family. 55% of Americans don’t have a Will. This is a tremendous mistake. You worked all of your life, saved all your life and have plans; don’t let these plans and wishes be disregarded.

Why Write A Will?

Here are three very good reasons you should write a will:

  1. Your Children: If you haven’t made a provision in your Will for their guardianship upon your death the Courts will make that decision for you and it is NOT automatic that it will be a family member.
  2. Your Assets: With no Will your assets will be divided up regardless of your wishes and intentions. Will your long lost cousin from Europe who you have never met inherit your estate? It is very possible, I have seen it happen.
  3. Estate Taxes: Without proper planning your estate may have to pay estate taxes that can be very high, very costly and significantly decrease the amount left to your loved ones.
Be sure to leave nothing open to interpretation, be exact and don’t leave too many surprises. Have “the talk” with loved ones so they know what to expect and be choosy; don’t pick just anyone to be your Executor, Trustee or Guardian.

Use an Attorney or Internet Form?

Here are 5 good reasons to use an attorney:

  1. That company is not an Attorney and not a law firm. They are sure to tell you that all throughout their literature; there is a reason for that; they do not want to be liable if you make a mistake.
  2.  You get what you pay for – you know it’s true.
  3. You have to do more than just sign a Will under CT law for it to be valid.
  4. Estate taxes.
  5. Would you consult WebMD if you are sick rather than go to your doctor? Of course not!  

You shouldn’t leave your legacy at risk by not speaking with a professional who will sit face to face with you, discuss your family dynamic, your family situation and draft your Will based on all of those personal things.
If you don’t have a Will or have questions about a Will, Kapusta, Otzel & Averaimo would be happy to sit down with you at no cost to discuss your options.

If you have a Will that is more than 5 years old you should pull it out of that safe, desk drawer or safety deposit box and make sure it still reflects your wishes accurately. If it needs to be updated, Kapusta, Otzel & Averaimo would like to hear from you. We can discuss the required changes in person at no cost and make suggestions based on your current situation to be sure your wishes are carried out.
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