January 2009

Dear Friends:

This is the seventh newsletter I have sent to clients since January, 2006. If you have not received past newsletters and would like to access them, you may do so on our web site at www.cantorfloman.com. The web site includes an index by subject matter.

Personal Injury Cases: Has a family member been injured in a nursing home? Many families answer “yes” to that question. Injuries include bed sores, infections, choking on food, dehydration, incorrect medication, and fractured bones from falls from bed, wheel chairs, or during transfers. Here are some ways in which the legal issues concerning a nursing home injury differ from those related to an injury sustained in an automobile collision.

  • Connecticut law requires the nursing home to maintain detailed records concerning patient care. These records often provide important clues about what happened. This is particularly important if the family member has some degree of cognitive limitation that impairs observation or communication skills.
  • Connecticut law requires the nursing home to file a report with the Connecticut Department of Public Health describing the injury, explaining how it happened, and outlining a course of action to prevent similar occurrences. This report also provides important clues about what happened.
  • Connecticut law has established a “Patients’ Bill of Rights” applicable to patients in nursing homes. The provisions of the Patients’ Bill of Rights are helpful in establishing a standard of care that must be followed by a nursing home.

We successfully have represented the families of individuals who have been injured in nursing homes. In fact, one of our employees is a nurse with past experience working in a nursing home. We encourage you to contact us if a family member has been injured. You can access the Patients’ Bill of Rights and other information about nursing homes by visiting the Department of Public Health website at www.ct.gov/dph.

Medicaid planning: How have the rules changed concerning “immediate annuities” owned by a Medicaid applicant? The rules concerning Medicaid eligibility for an applicant or spouse of the applicant who owns an “immediate annuity” (one that is paying out a fixed monthly or yearly sum for a specified period of time) have changed dramatically. The changes are the combined result of the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act (effective as of February 8, 2006) and proposed changes to the Connecticut Uniform Policy Manual (“UPM”). The UPM is the Manual used to administer the Connecticut Medicaid program. Here are some of the changes.

  • Annuities purchased or annuitized after February 8, 2006 must be irrevocable, non-assignable, and actuarially sound.
  • Connecticut contends that all annuities, whether purchased or annuitized before or after February 8, 2006, must name the State as the primary beneficiary to the extent of Medicaid benefits actually paid out by the State. Although this position may violate federal law, no Court yet has ruled on the issue.
  • Connecticut contends that any immediate annuity owned by a Medicaid applicant is treated both as a source of income for the Medicaid applicant, and, as well, an asset owned by the applicant. Although this position may violate federal law, no Court yet has ruled on the issue.

If there is a reasonable possibility a family member will apply for Medicaid and the applicant or the applicant’s spouse either owns an annuity or is thinking of purchasing one, contact us for a full discussion of the new Medicaid annuity rules and how they may impact your family.

Estate planning: What is the current status of the federal estate tax for assets passing to non-spouse beneficiaries? To use a somewhat overused expression, it is “up in the air”.

  • The value of assets that can pass, federal estate tax free, to non-spouse beneficiaries increased to $3,500,000.00 on January 1, 2009; transfers between spouses remain tax-free in unlimited amounts.
  • In 2010, there is no federal estate tax at all.  
  • However, in 2011, the value of assets that can pass, federal estate tax free, to non-spouse beneficiaries is reduced to $1,000,000.00; the federal estate tax begins at 45% on the first dollar above $1,000,000.00.
  • Most commentators expect the law to change in 2009, but no one knows how it will change; there is a large federal deficit and the federal estate tax is a hot political issue.
  • The federal estate tax includes life insurance proceeds, retirement accounts, assets in a revocable trust (living trust) and all other assets owned by a decedent.
  • Because of the broad scope of assets included as part of the federal estate tax base, many people are surprised to find that their estate may face a potential federal estate tax obligation.  

We would be glad to meet with you to help you prepare an estate plan that avoids or minimizes exposure to the federal estate tax.

Real estate transactions: Should I bid on a house being sold at a foreclosure sale? You may end up as the owner at an attractive price, but there are significant elements of risk. A foreclosure sale is conducted by an attorney who has been appointed by the Court. The legal title of the attorney who conducts the sale is “Committee”.

  • A sign on the property and an advertisement in a local paper will give you the date and time of the sale, and the amount of the required deposit. The property is sold to the highest bidder.
  • You must take the property “as is”. In some instances you may be able to walk through the house for one hour before the bidding, but, at best, your ability to note physical or structural problems will be limited.
  • There is no financing contingency. If you are the successful bidder you must give the Committee a certified check for the required deposit on the day of the sale. You must be prepared to pay the entire balance within thirty (30) days after the sale has been approved by the Court; if you do not do so, your deposit is forfeited.
  • If you intend to bid at the sale, a title search of the Land Records is advisable. If you are the successful bidder, the purchase of an owner’s title insurance policy on the closing date is advisable.

We would be pleased to guide you through the process if you are considering bidding at a foreclosure sale.

Business entities: The importance of being licensed. If your business requires licensing by a State agency, treat the requirement seriously. In Connecticut, many trades and professions are licensed through the Department of Consumer Protection.

  • A few examples of businesses that require licensing are health clubs, heating and cooling contractors, electricians, home improvement contractors, solar heating contractors, real estate appraisers, real estate brokers, and new home construction contractors; there are many others.
  • Connecticut Courts consistently apply the doctrine of “illegality” to prevent an unlicensed business from collecting money owed it pursuant to the terms of a written contract.
  • Connecticut Courts use the same doctrine of “illegality” to prevent the business from recovering the fair value of the work it has performed pursuant to a non-contractual theory of recovery referred to as “quantum meruit”.
  • You can obtain additional information about business licensing requirements by visiting the web site of the Department of Consumer Protection at www.ct.gov/dcp.  

If you are in business, contact us so we can help assure that your business has satisfied all licensing requirements.

We hope you have found this newsletter informative and helpful. Please do not hesitate to call us if you, a family member, friend, or colleague requires legal services in any of the practice areas handled in our office. As always, we are here to serve our past and present clients, and we also welcome new referrals.

Very truly yours,

SPF/jm                                                                       STEVEN P. FLOMAN

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Maintain your liability insurance.

Maintain your liability insurance.

An important reason for creating a business entity is to protect the owner from personal liability for claims arising out of the conduct of the business. Although this works in most instances, one area in which the owner continues to have personal liability is for negligent conduct committed by the owner.

  • Example 1: Owner is driving the company car on company business and goes through a red light colliding with another car and injuring the other driver. In this example, the owner, because he is the driver, has personal liability for the injuries to the other driver that have been caused by the owner’s negligent driving; this is so even though the owner is driving the car on company business.
  • Example 2: An employee is driving the company car on company business and goes through a red light colliding with another car and injuring the other driver. In this example, the owner has no personal liability for the injuries caused by the negligent driving of his employee, because the employee is acting as an agent of the company and not the owner.
  • Be sure to maintain insurance sufficient to insure the owner’s potential liability in circumstances in which the owner’s negligent conduct may cause an injury.  

We can help you structure your business entity in a manner that minimizes the circumstances in which the owner may have personal liability arising out of the conduct of the business. 

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Government programs that help you stay at home.

Government programs that help you stay at home. 

Although Medicaid generally is thought of as the government program that pays for the cost of long term nursing home care, there are Medicaid and other government programs that assist elderly or disabled residents receive care at home. Most programs have income and asset eligibility limitations, but in some cases the limitations are surprisingly generous. Here are some of the more prominent programs. 

  • The Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE) is administered by the Department of Social Services. It can pay for home health aides, companions, adult day care, transportation to medical appointments, and related services that make it easier to stay at home.
  • The CONNPACE program is administered by the Department of Social Services and provides assistance with the cost of prescription medicine.
  • Medicare home care benefits are part of the coverage available through Medicare Part A. Services can include intermittent skilled nursing care, physical and occupational therapy, and home health aides.
  • Medicare hospice services are part of the coverage available through Medicare Part A. Services include prescription medicine, nursing and other medical care, and grief counseling.
  • Veterans and surviving spouses of veterans may be eligible for what is referred to as the Aid and Attendance Benefit. The Aid and Attendance Benefit is a monthly cash payment made to the veteran or surviving spouse.  The program is administered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  

The goal of each program is to make it easier for an elderly or disabled family member to stay at home. We would be pleased to meet with you to help you assess whether a family member is eligible for one or more of these important government benefit programs.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

I’m not old! Why do I need to do this?

I’m not old! Why do I need to do this? 

Many people assume that a Durable Power of Attorney Instrument and Health Care Instructions are only needed by “old” people. The truth is that in today’s fast paced society anyone legally an adult (older than eighteen in Connecticut) should consider executing these documents.

  • A Durable Power of Attorney Instrument authorizes others to make financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated as the result of an accident or an illness.
  • Health Care Instructions authorize others to make health care decisions for you if you become incapacitated as the result of an accident or an illness, including decisions about the termination of life support systems.
  • Young adults at college or work away from home should not overlook the need for these important documents.
  • In the absence of a Durable Power of Attorney Instrument and Health Care Instructions it may be necessary for a family member to ask the Probate Court to appoint a conservator to make those decisions for you.

We would be glad to meet with you to prepare these important documents.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

How is a value placed on losses sustained in an automobile collision?

How is a value placed on losses sustained in an automobile collision?

Being involved in an automobile collision is a frightening experience. The memory of the collision and the fear it engenders can remain with you for years. If you have been

injured in an automobile collision that is not your fault, the law requires the at fault driver’s insurance company to compensate you for what happened by paying you “fair,

just, and reasonable damages” for your losses. One person’s idea of what is “fair, just, and reasonable” may differ significantly from another’s. What goes into the determination? Here are some factors that are considered.

  • How much physical damage was done to each car? For example, a fender bender is not treated as seriously as a collision that causes substantial damage to one or both of the cars.
  • What injuries were sustained? For example, in most cases, a broken bone will be considered a more significant injury than a sprained neck or back.
  • Is there a permanent injury? Some injuries clear up after several months; others may have an impact on you for the rest of your life.
  • Have you missed time from work?
  • Do you have out of pocket medical expenses?
  • How are your symptoms and injuries described in your medical records? For example, did you tell a health care provider that your neck really hurts, but the entry in the medical record says you are continuing to improve?
  • Do your medical records before the collision reflect normal age related changes to the parts of your body injured in the collision?
  • How have the injuries affected your life? For example, are you back to the same routines you followed before the collision, or have things changed for you, even if only slightly?

Our job is to present your case persuasively to the other driver’s insurance company. If a reasonable settlement can not be negotiated with the insurance company, our job, then, is to present your case persuasively to the judge or jury who ultimately determines “fair, just, and reasonable damages” for your losses.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

We’re thinking of buying a home together, but we’re not married.

We’re thinking of buying a home together, but we’re not married. 

It increasingly is common for non-married people to buy a home together. What happens if the relationship ends? Who stays? Who goes? What are the terms? A written agreement that sets forth the rights and responsibilities of each party will make the separation easier for both.

  • Ideally, the agreement should be entered into prior to the purchase or shortly after the purchase.
  • The agreement should cover subjects such as responsibility for expenses while living together, sharing appreciation and depreciation, allocating tax benefits and burdens, buy-out options, and a mechanism for resolving disputes. 
  • Statutory provisions applicable to the division of property when a marriage or civil union fails are not applicable, but may provide helpful guidance.
  • Because of the potentially conflicting interests, the same law firm should not represent both parties.
  • Although love, affection, and friendship abound in the beginning, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the purchase also is a business transaction and should be treated as such.

We would be pleased to meet with you to help prepare an agreement that protects your interests and, at the same time, treats your partner with respect and sensitivity.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

July 2008


Dear Friends,
This is the sixth newsletter I have sent to clients since January, 2006. I hope you have found the topics in past newsletters to be interesting and helpful. If you have not received past newsletters and would like to access them, you may do so on our web site at www.cantorfloman.com

Personal Injury Cases: How is a value placed on losses sustained in an automobile collision?


Being involved in an automobile collision is a frightening experience. The memory of the collision and the fear it engenders can remain with you for years. If you have been injured in an automobile collision that is not your fault, the law requires the at fault driver’s insurance company to compensate you for what happened by paying you “fair, just, and reasonable damages” for your losses. One person’s idea of what is “fair, just, and reasonable” may differ significantly from another’s. What goes into the determination? Here are some factors that are considered.

• How much physical damage was done to each car? For example, a fender bender is not treated as seriously as a collision that causes substantial damage to one or both of the cars.

• What injuries were sustained? For example, in most cases, a broken bone will be considered a more significant injury than a sprained neck or back.

• Is there a permanent injury? Some injuries clear up after several months; others may have an impact on you for the rest of your life.

• Have you missed time from work?

• Do you have out of pocket medical expenses?

• How are your symptoms and injuries described in your medical records? For example, did you tell a health care provider that your neck really hurts, but the entry in the medical record says you are continuing to improve?

• Do your medical records before the collision reflect normal age related changes to the parts of your body injured in the collision?

• How have the injuries affected your life? For example, are you back to the same routines you followed before the collision, or have things changed for you, even if only slightly?

If you have been injured on snow or ice we would be pleased to meet with you. A thorough investigation of legal responsibility for an injury sustained on snow or ice almost always includes photographs of the area, weather reports showing precipitation and temperature during relevant time periods, and a determination of who is in control of the area where the injury occurred.

Medicaid planning: Government programs that help you stay at home.


Although Medicaid generally is thought of as the government program that pays for the cost of long term nursing home care, there are Medicaid and other government programs that assist elderly or disabled residents receive care at home. Most programs have income and asset eligibility limitations, but in some cases the limitations are surprisingly generous. Here are some of the more prominent programs.

• The Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE) is administered by the Department of Social Services. It can pay for home health aides, companions, adult day care, transportation to medical appointments, and related services that make it easier to stay at home.

• The CONNPACE program is administered by the Department of Social Services and provides assistance with the cost of prescription medicine.

• Medicare home care benefits are part of the coverage available through Medicare Part A. Services can include intermittent skilled nursing care, physical and occupational therapy, and home health aides.

• Medicare hospice services are part of the coverage available through Medicare Part A. Services include prescription medicine, nursing and other medical care, and grief counseling.

• Veterans and surviving spouses of veterans may be eligible for what is referred to as the Aid and Attendance Benefit. The Aid and Attendance Benefit is a monthly cash payment made to the veteran or surviving spouse. The program is administered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The goal of each program is to make it easier for an elderly or disabled family member to stay at home. We would be pleased to meet with you to help you assess whether a family member is eligible for one or more of these important government benefit programs.

Estate planning: I’m not old! Why do I need to do this?


Many people assume that a Durable Power of Attorney Instrument and Health Care Instructions are only needed by “old” people. The truth is that in today’s fast paced society anyone legally an adult (older than eighteen in Connecticut) should consider executing these documents.

• A Durable Power of Attorney Instrument authorizes others to make financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated as the result of an accident or an illness.

• Health Care Instructions authorize others to make health care decisions for you if you become incapacitated as the result of an accident or an illness, including decisions about the termination of life support systems.

• Young adults at college or work away from home should not overlook the need for these important documents.

• In the absence of a Durable Power of Attorney Instrument and Health Care Instructions it may be necessary for a family member to ask the Probate Court to appoint a conservator to make those decisions for you.

We would be glad to meet with you to prepare these important documents.

Real estate transactions: We’re thinking of buying a home together, but we’re not married.


It increasingly is common for non-married people to buy a home together. What happens if the relationship ends? Who stays? Who goes? What are the terms? A written agreement that sets forth the rights and responsibilities of each party will make the separation easier for both.

• Ideally, the agreement should be entered into prior to the purchase or shortly after the purchase.

• The agreement should cover subjects such as responsibility for expenses while living together, sharing appreciation and depreciation, allocating tax benefits and burdens, buy-out options, and a mechanism for resolving disputes.

• Statutory provisions applicable to the division of property when a marriage or civil union fails are not applicable, but may provide helpful guidance.

• Because of the potentially conflicting interests, the same law firm should not represent both parties.

• Although love, affection, and friendship abound in the beginning, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the purchase also is a business transaction and should be treated as such.

We would be pleased to meet with you to help prepare an agreement that protects your interests and, at the same time, treats your partner with respect and sensitivity.

Business entities: Maintain your liability insurance.


An important reason for creating a business entity is to protect the owner from personal liability for claims arising out of the conduct of the business. Although this works in most instances, one area in which the owner continues to have personal liability is for negligent conduct committed by the owner.

• Example 1: Owner is driving the company car on company business and goes through a red light colliding with another car and injuring the other driver. In this example, the owner, because he is the driver, has personal liability for the injuries to the other driver that have been caused by the ownerÍs negligent driving; this is so even though the owner is driving the car on company business.

• Example 2: An employee is driving the company car on company business and goes through a red light colliding with another car and injuring the other driver. In this example, the owner has no personal liability for the injuries caused by the negligent driving of his employee, because the employee is acting as an agent of the company and not the owner.

• Be sure to maintain insurance sufficient to insure the owner’s potential liability in circumstances in which the owner’s negligent conduct may cause an injury.

We can help you structure your business entity in a manner that minimizes the circumstances in which the owner may have personal liability arising out of the conduct of the business.

Our job is to present your case persuasively to the other driver”s insurance company. If a reasonable settlement can not be negotiated with the insurance company, our job, then, is to present your case persuasively to the judge or jury who ultimately determines “fair, just, and reasonable damages” for your losses.

Very truly yours,
STEVEN P. FLOMAN

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Is a reverse mortgage right for you?

Is a reverse mortgage right for you? 

If you are short on cash, have limited income, and have substantial equity in your home, a reverse mortgage may be an option to consider.

  • Available to homeowners 62 or older, with limits on the amount that can be borrowed determined by your age and the value of your home.
  • An attractive feature of a reverse mortgage is that no repayment is required while the homeowner is alive and living in the home.
  • Money can be taken as a lump sum or as a periodic income stream.
  • Interest accrues on the amount that has been borrowed, thereby reducing the equity in the home over time.
  • Interest rates and loan charges for most reverse mortgage products tend to be higher than conventional mortgages or lines of credit.  
  • Compare a conventional line of credit as an alternative way to access cash from your home, when needed.

We would be pleased to meet with you to help determine if a reverse mortgage is appropriate for you.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

How do I protect the children of my prior marriage?

How do I protect the children of my prior marriage?

Second or third marriages with one or both spouses having children from a prior marriage are increasingly common. How do you assure that the children of your prior marriage receive a portion of your estate when you die?

  • Trust your spouse to carry out your wishes at his/her death. There is an element of risk with this approach. What if the relationship between your spouse and your children becomes strained after your death?
  • Provide for an outright disposition to your children of a portion of your estate at the time of your death. This will assure that your children receive the assets designated for them immediately after your death.
  • Create a spousal trust for a portion of your estate at the time of your death. The terms of the trust will provide that your spouse receives the income from the trust during his/her lifetime, but the entire principal of the trust will pass to your children after your spouse’s death.
  • Enter into a pre-nuptial agreement which contractually dictates the disposition of assets owned prior to your marriage.

We would be pleased to meet with you, discuss your specific family and financial circumstances, and develop a plan that appropriately balances the interests of your children and your present spouse.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

What if the healthy spouse dies first?

What if the healthy spouse dies first? 

As we live longer, it is increasingly common to find a healthy spouse providing a significant level of care at home for an ill spouse. Although the expectation is that the healthy spouse will outlive the ill spouse, that is not always the case. Since the ill spouse cannot live at home without the well spouse, what steps can be taken to protect the couples’ asset base if the healthy spouse dies first? 

  • Retitle most family assets so that they are owned by the healthy spouse.
  • Change the Will of the healthy spouse to provide that on his/her death the assets pass directly to the children or to an “income only” trust for the ill spouse.

We would be pleased to meet with you, discuss your specific family and financial circumstances, and, if appropriate, prepare the documents needed to implement this important type of protection for your assets.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail