Probate is a court process that involves identifying, gathering, and distributing assets titled in your name alone and addressing any liabilities after you die. If you die and have a valid will, probate will be necessary to pass ownership of probate assets to your beneficiaries. If you die and do not have a will, your assets can also be probated and will pass to your heirs in accordance with the Connecticut statutes on intestate (which means dying without a will) distribution.
The need for probate depends on the kinds of assets and property you own and whether you own them alone or with others. Assets titled in your name alone must be probated. Assets that are owned jointly with rights of survivorship will automatically pass to the survivor(s) upon the death of the decedent and do not have to be probated. In addition, most insurance proceeds, annuities, trusts, individual retirement accounts, or other qualified retirement benefits which name specific beneficiaries who will receive those proceeds upon the death of the owner will also avoid the probate process.
However, even if the assets do not have to be probated, paperwork may have to be filed with the court to obtain a release of the lien for Connecticut estate tax.
Your personal representative, referred to as an executor, will be responsible for gathering, valuing, and creating an inventory of your assets. If your will does not effectively appoint a personal representative, the court will appoint one for you known as an administrator.
Before the court will authorize the distribution of the assets in accordance with the will or the laws of intestate succession, procedures must be followed to assure the court that all debts and taxes have been paid.
If there is disagreement over your will, a probate judge will resolve those differences. Probate laws in Connecticut apply to the estates of people who were residents of Connecticut at the time of their death. Probate also applies to other states’ residents who own real property in Connecticut.
If the estate is large, federal and state death taxes may be due.
Probating an estate can be a challenging, confusing, and lengthy process, and can compound the grief that family members are dealing with after the loss of a loved one.
At the Watts Law Office we help families through every step of the probate process, providing legal representation that can bring clarity and finality to the issues involved in resolving a loved one’s affairs. If you have an estate that needs to be probated, contact the Watts law Office.
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