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The Compass

Navigating the World of Trusts and Estates

Regular updates from my law practice, as well as news and perspective on estate planning, family dynamics, aging with dignity, and other thoughts on a balanced life.

Posted on Jan 19, 2015

I am just back from the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning. Among many highlights of this week of cutting edge programs on estate and tax planning, was an introduction to the Insuring A Better World Fund. The IABWF is a new nonprofit with an exciting mission--saving abandoned life insurance... Read more.

Posted on Oct 10, 2014

This recent article provides a great deal to think about.  Death and dying are difficult topics for many people to discuss.  But having those conversations is a gift, and sometimes can lead to a plan that will enhance the quality of the end of life both for the person who is dying as well as the... Read more.

Posted on Apr 16, 2014

CNBC's Shelly Schwartz recently wrote this list of 5 common estate planning blunders.  Turn this list of "don'ts" into a checklist for making sure your estate plan is in order.  Choosing the right people to serve as your executor, power of attorney agent and heath care representative is a key... Read more.

Posted on Feb 24, 2014

We’ve all been hearing lately about the young invincibles, and whether or not they’ll buy health care. Just as important a question: Will they create an estate plan? 

Many people create a will when they have children, but you never know if that’s too long of a wait. The fact is: Everyone... Read more.

Posted on Jan 23, 2014

Happy 2014! While we are all energized by the fresh start the New Year provides, one important item to include in your list of resolutions is to create or review your estate plan. To help, consider these 10 questions:

Where is my original will? It is important to know who has your original... Read more.
Posted on Dec 18, 2013

In most cases, the law about inheritance follows a pretty old-fashioned model of a family: Wealth passes from husband to wife, or from parents to children. But what happens when your family is anything but old-fashioned?

Here’s a useful article in Barron’s, looking at that issue through... Read more.

Posted on Nov 11, 2013

I consistently find great, plain English, articles in the Consumer Reports “Money Adviser” newsletter. I only wish they would put some of their content online so I could share it here!

The best I can recommend is a print subscription. It’s $29/year through Consumer Reports or Amazon.  ... Read more.

  • Mary Schinke provided excellent guidance to me and my co-executor as we navigated the probate process, resolving an estate with many loose ends. It would have been impossible for us executors to navigate the issues without Mary—she patiently explained every legal obligation to us, and carefully led us in resolving debt issues and distributions. In preparing the paperwork for the court, Mary ensured that the most accurate information would be conveyed. Mary carefully prepared for every meeting, and had all the time in the world for us when we met with her. Her cheerful “can do” attitude went a long way in getting us past the knotty issues. We are grateful to have worked with Mary! 

    L. Pistell, Summit, New Jersey & S. Beard, Blandford, Massachusetts

  • Mary always made us feel very comfortable with the process and her effort.

    D. Hocking, New Rochelle, New York

  • Mary is very easy to work with.  Her deep and broad knowledge and experience helped us get our wills and other important life documents completed.  And we actually had a good time doing it!

    L. Apolzon & J. Stanton, Roxbury, Connecticut & New York, New York

  • Mary is a lawyer's lawyer. Incredible knowledge, completely trustworthy with a particular expertise in trust and estate work. As a partner in a same sex relationship, Mary's time and advice in helping us properly plan for the inevitable was priceless. And did I mention her comforting, humorous and loving manner? Simply the best.

    P. Healy, Roxbury, Connecticut & New York, New York

  • I appreciated Mary's exceptional service. Mary was calm and clear throughout the process, making it far less onerous than I had anticipated.

                                                                                                                      - S. Albrecht, Canton, Connecticut

  • Mary is always thoughtful, thorough and a true pleasure to work with.

    C. Haver & S. Skolnick, Roxbury, Connecticut

  • I wasn’t looking forward to making my will, but working with Mary made the process easy and comfortable. She is calm, thoughtful, and easy to understand.  Mary also helped me through the process of serving as an Executor.  She demystified the process and was a delight to work with. Mary will remain my cherished counsel and confidant, not only in law but also in my life.

    M. Richardson, Southbury, Connecticut

  • When my husband died Mary helped me settle his affairs. Working with her, the process was smooth and easy to understand. Mary’s caring manner was a comfort to me during a difficult time.

    J. Omenson, Roxbury, Connecticut

  • Mary, thank you so much for all you’ve done. Your compassionate warmth and professionalism have been so important to me.

    J. Taylor, Southbury, Connecticut

  • Mary was not only thorough and professional, but always kind and willing to go the extra mile.

    R. Hocking, New York, New York

  • I have nothing but good things to say about my attorney, Mary Schinke. Not only is she an 
    excellent lawyer who covers all bases in an accurate and comprehensive manner, but is also a
    compassionate and kind person.  I heartily recommend her.

    M. Garfin, Southbury, Connecticut

  • Mary Schinke provided expert guidance to me and my sons about estate planning, powers of attorney and healthcare proxies.  She was excellent at consulting each party as to their individual needs and then following up to assure alignment of my estate plan to theirs.

    M. Davis, New York, New York and Washington, Connecticut