GLASTONBURY ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE ATTORNEY

sb bw smallI have  been practicing law in Connecticut for over 28 years.  My legal role model is Ronnie Jacobs, the senior partner at my old firm, Jacobs, Walker, Rice & Basche, LLC.  I saw how Ronnie’s clients felt comfortable consulting with him about virtually anything that came up in their lives that had some legal angle, and many things that didn’t, and have modeled my practice to give my clients that same comfort level.

Helping families. Estate Planning.

My practice focuses on helping families plan for unexpected life events in part because I had to deal with my father’s unexpected death as a young man.  I was 14 when my father died suddenly and I became the “man of the house.”   My is father had planned for the unexpected, so there was none of the financial turmoil that could have accompanied such a tragedy, but I learned valuable lessons during that period, especially the value of planning for the unexpected and the importance of having advisors you can trust. My clients know that when they call me they are talking to a trusted advisor with over 28 years of broad legal and life experience.  I was honored to be been named one of Hartford’s Top Estate Planning Attorneys by Hartford Magazine, and I am proud to have achieved an AV rating, the top rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the most prestigious lawyer rating agency, as well as a 9.3 rating on Avvo.

Special needs.

One of my  practice areas is helping families with children with special needs. One of my nieces has autism, so I am particularly sensitive to the desire of families with children with special needs to ensure that their estate plan does not render their children ineligible for governmental and charitable assistance for the expenses medical care, therapy, housing and related items, through the use of a Special Needs Trust. I have enjoyed seeing his niece’s  incredible strides, and yet is very aware of the concerns my sister has about how to ensure her daughter is cared for as she approaches adulthood.

Probate.

In addition to helping people with estate planning, often to avoid probate, I also work with people who have just lost a loved one, such as a spouse or parent, handle the probate administration of a decedent’s estate.  While the probate court is designed to allow people to handle it themselves without an attorney, it has become increasingly harder and harder to do that.  I offer various levels of service for probate matters, ranging from taking full control of the process to coaching someone through the process themselves.

Education.

I grew up in West Hartford and graduated from William H. Hall High School.  I graduated from the University of Connecticut, as an Honors Scholar, and served as the president of the Undergraduate Student Government. While at UConn, I was honored with the Donald L. McCullough award for outstanding service to the University. The most important event of my  years at UConn was neither academic nor political. A few weeks into my senior year I met Marie Virella, the love of my life, and thankfully, my life has never been the same. Marie and I were married after my second year of law school.  We have been married for over 29 years and have three children, Benjamin, Arianna and Matthew.

Personal interests.

With my friend and neighbor across the street, I bought a 1986 19 foot O’Day sailboat last summer.  Every time we took the boat out we learned something, often the hard way.  Yes, it’s true, we lost (actually, it really was me) our winch handle on our first trip out.  I replaced it with a floating one, knowing that it would probably fall overboard again sometime.  I play golf, but not seriously, which means I enjoy it.  And I like walking with our rescue hound, Stella.

Professional Experience.

I graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law, with honors in 1986 and began practicing law at a large downtown firm, Schatz & Schatz, Ribicoff & Kotkin, and then a smaller downtown firm, Cohn, Birnbaum & Shea.  I joined Jacobs, Walker, Rice & Basche in 1991 and worked there for 17 years.  In 2008, I opened my  own office and I have been providing clients with legal advice for life ever since.

Professional Highlights:

  • Admitted to the Connecticut and U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut Bars in 1986.
  • Admitted to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in 1998.
  • Graduated from the University of Connecticut, B.A. magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Honors Scholar in 1983, President of the Undergraduate Student Government. Awarded Donald L. McCullough award for outstanding service to the University of Connecticut.
  • Graduated from the University of Connecticut School  of Law, with honors, Moot Court Board, in 1986.
  • Past member of the Board of Managers of the Indian Valley YMCA.
  • Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Rushford, a Hartford HealthCare Partner .
  • Past Chairman of the Law Practice Management Section of the Connecticut Bar Association.
  • Member of the Manchester and Connecticut Bar Associations.
  • Appointed Fact Finder/Arbitrator and Attorney Trial Referee by Chief Justice of Connecticut Supreme Court.
  • Member of the Glastonbury Chamber of Commerce