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Probate Law in Connecticut

Frequently Asked Questions

CT Probate Law FAQs

What is probate civil litigation?
Criminal probate and civil probate litigation cases have their own individual forms of litigation, as well as specialized probate courts dealing with divorce and family law issues. Connecticut probate courts also have their share of litigation. ... In addition to divorce and family probate law, CT probate courts also supervise guardianship and conservatorship matters and disputes relating to powers of attorney.

What does it mean to probate a case in Connecticut?
Probate means that there is a court case that deals with the following legal issues:

  • Deciding if a will exists
  • Deciding if an existing will is valid
  • Deciding the heirs and beneficiaries of the deceased person’s possessions
  • Determining the value of the deceased property
  • Transferring the deceased’s property ownership

What kind of a legal case is a probate case?
Connecticut Probate court is a specialized type of court that deals exclusively with the property, assets, and debts of a deceased individual. The primary role of a probate court judge is to assure that the deceased person's creditors are paid, and that any remaining property and assets are distributed to the legal beneficiaries

Should you avoid CT probate court if possible?
There are two main reasons to avoid the Connecticut probate courts. The first reason is time and the second reason is money. Probate is a lengthy court process, and addition to various legal proceedings and hearings. The process of gathering information on all the deceased’s assets as well as paying off any and all of the deceased’s debts can take months and, in many cases, even years.

How much does an estate have to be worth to go to probate in Connecticut?
In the state of Connecticut, the minimum value of the deceased’s assets is $40,000. When accessing the total value of the estate, you may only include the assets and property that must go through probate—and exclude and assets or property that was jointly owned or held in trust.

Does Connecticut have a small estate threshold for probate court?
The state of Connecticut has a simplified probate process when it comes to smaller estates. In order for an individual to take advantage of it, an executor files a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court has the authority to authorize the executor to distribute the assets without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate.

Is probate required in the state of Connecticut when determining the value and proper distribution of the deceased’s assets and property?
In the state of Connecticut, the right of survivorship comes when you own property in joint tenancy. Property owned in joint tenancy automatically passes to the surviving owners when one owner dies. No probate is necessary. In the event of a legally binding last will and testament, all property and assets are divided up amongst the individuals defined in the deceased’s last will and testament after any and all of the deceased’s outstanding debts have been paid.

When should you get a probate lawyer in Connecticut?
When it comes to dividing up the property and assets of a deceased family member, you should always get legal advice. Here are a few examples of why you should always hire an experienced probate lawyer. The experienced probate lawyers and attorneys at Spinella & Associates are always available to provide you with any and all probate litigation advice and counseling.

  • If the terms of the last will and testament are not clear
  • If part or all of the estate is to pass to children under the age of 18
  • If the person who died has left money or property in a trust.

How much does a probate lawyer usually cost in Connecticut?
Probate attorneys are just like any other attorney and are compensated for their legal council based on a pre-determined hourly rate. The rate will vary greatly based on the location of the legal firm. In a more rural area, the rates can be anywhere from $100 up to $150 an hour. For a more urban area, the rates can start at $150 an hour and in some cases like New York or Las Angeles reach up to $1000 an hour.

Should I use a solicitor for probate in CT?
The short answer is No. Do not under any circumstance automatically let a bank or solicitor named as executor in the will carry out probate. A bank or solicitor is always looking out for their own best interest and never yours. If you are in a situation where you have a bank or solicitor named as the executor, call the CT probate lawyers at Spinella & Associates immediately before getting into a situation you cannot get out of. You can reach us any time at 860 728-4900.

How long do you have to file probate after death in Connecticut?
In the state of Connecticut, you have up to 30 days to file for probate. If you go beyond the 30-day limit then you can expect to receive fines. There are exceptions to the rule however it’s not worth the risk of meeting any of the little-known exceptions.

Do you have to file probate in Connecticut?
In the state of CT, not all estates need to go through full probate. If the decedent's solely-owned assets include no real property and are valued at less than $40,000 – which meets Connecticut’s “small estates limit” – then the assets and property of the estate can be settled without full probate, under a much shorter and easier process. In these instances, it is still worth the added expense to hire a probate lawyer. Unfortunately, when it comes to dividing up assets and property, can lead to a lot of drama and potential legal problems among family members.

What happens when there is no last will and testament in Connecticut?
If you die in the state of Connecticut, what your spouse of legal partner inherits depends on whether or not you have living parents or descendants. In the eventuality you don't, your spouse or legal partner inherits all of your property and assets. If you have parents that are still alive in addition to a surviving spouse or legal partner, he or she will inherit the first $100,000 of your intestate property. Your spouse then inherits three-quarters of the remaining intestate property. Your parents get the remaining quarter of intestate property. If you have children, but no spouse, your children inherit everything. However, if you have a spouse and descendants, such as children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren, the amount they inherit depends on whether or not they are your spouse’s child. If you die with descendants only from you and your surviving spouse, your surviving spouse will inherit the first $100,000 of intestate property as well as half of the remaining property. Your children will then inherit the other half of the remaining property.