Probate Attorney New London, CT

A family member’s passing is a stressful, emotional time for everyone involved, and complex legal matters are the last thing you want to deal with during this difficult moment. Unfortunately, the death of a family member usually means you must go through the probate process. This may include filing the deceased’s will with the local courts, settling their estate, and disbursing whatever assets the deceased had according to their wishes. Finding your way through this legal maze is a chore, particularly if there are disputes over the deceased’s will or other issues with their estate.

The best step you can take to make these proceedings less stressful is to hire a driven, capable wills and probate law firm in New London. Holth & Kollman, LLC, is a Connecticut law firm with more than 45 years of experience, including extensive experience with inheritance law and probate law services. We can answer any questions you have about the probate process, handle all the legal work on your behalf, and provide legal representation in any disputes that may arise. Above all, we’ll make this process as easy on you as possible. Call us today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.

What Is Probate?

Probate is a legal process that happens after someone passes away. It involves making sure their will is valid and carrying out their final wishes. If the person didn’t leave a will, probate laws determine who gets what from the deceased’s estate. The process includes identifying and valuing the deceased’s property, paying any debts or taxes they owe, and distributing what’s left to their rightful heirs. Probate in Connecticut can take some time and might require lots of paperwork and court appearances, especially if someone challenges the will or it contains unusual or complex provisions.

Do All Estates in Connecticut Go Through Probate?

All estates in Connecticut must go through the probate process, but there is a simplified process for smaller estates. According to the Probate Court User Guide from the Connecticut court system, you can use the simplified process if the deceased’s total assets (in their name alone) do not exceed $40,000 and do not include real estate. To initiate this process, the deceased’s surviving spouse, next of kin, or another family member files an Affidavit in Lieu of Probate of Will/Administration. This document lists the deceased’s solely owned assets, funeral expenses, estate settlement expenses, taxes, and outstanding debts. Using this procedure allows for a more streamlined transfer of assets, bypassing the more complex standard probate process.

The Standard Probate Process in Connecticut

If the assets in the deceased’s estate exceed $40,000 or include a home or other real estate, you must follow the standard probate process under Connecticut law. The steps in that process are as follows:
Submitting a Petition Submitting a Petition | Holth & Kollman, LLC Submitting a Petition | Holth & Kollman, LLC

File the Will and Petition:

The executor of the estate (sometimes called the “estate administrator”) must file the will and a petition with the local Probate Court within 30 days of the deceased’s death.

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Take Possession of Property

The executor or administrator gathers and secures the decedent's assets.

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Notice for Land Records

If the deceased’s assets include any real estate, the executor of the estate must file a notice in the town clerk's office.

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File Inventory

The administrator of the estate must file an inventory of all the deceased’s assets with the Probate Court within two months.

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Pay Claims and Debts

The executor of the estate handles the payment of any debts or claims against the estate.

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File Tax Returns and Pay Taxes

If the deceased owed any taxes, the executor must pay those taxes and complete the necessary tax return forms, as well as fling an estate tax return and paying any estate tax due.

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File Financial Report

Usually, the estate administrator files a report detailing how they managed the estate within 12 months of the deceased’s death.

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Distribute Assets

The executor disburses the deceased’s remaining assets according to the terms of their will or other estate plan documents.

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File a Closing Affidavit

This final step formally concludes the probate process.

How Long Does Probate Take in Connecticut?

Generally, it takes about six to eight months to complete the Connecticut probate process. This timeframe allows for validating the will, inventorying assets, paying debts, and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries. However, if there are complications, like disputes over the will or complex assets, the process can take longer, sometimes even years. The efficiency of the executor or estate administrator also plays a crucial role in the process’s length. It’s important for those involved to stay organized and responsive to promote a smoother and quicker probate process. Working with a trust and will attorney in New London can make this process quicker and easier on you.

How Long Does Probate Take in Connecticut? How Long Does Probate Take in Connecticut? | Holth & Kollman, LLC How Long Does Probate Take in Connecticut? | Holth & Kollman, LLC

What Happens If Someone Dies Without a Will in Connecticut?

When someone dies without a will in Connecticut, the state’s laws of intestacy determine who gets what from their estate. According to state law, the deceased’s assets are distributed as follows: 
 
If the deceased has a surviving spouse and children (who are also the spouse’s children), the spouse receives the first $100,000 plus half of the remainder of the estate, while the children share the other half.
If the deceased has a surviving spouse and children, and the children are from different relationships, the spouse gets half, and the children equally share the other half.
With a surviving spouse and parents (but no children), the spouse gets the first $100,000 and three-quarters of the remainder, while parents receive the remaining quarter.
If only a spouse survives, they receive everything.
In cases with only surviving children (no spouse), the entire estate goes to the children.
If only the deceased’s parents survive, the entire estate goes to them.
In cases with surviving siblings (but no spouse, parents, or children), they get equal shares of the deceased’s estate.
If the deceased has no surviving immediate family, the next of kin inherit the estate.
If no next of kin survives the deceased and there’s a stepchild, the stepchild gets everything.
In the absence of any surviving relatives or stepchildren, the estate goes to the State of Connecticut.

How Our Connecticut Will and Trust Attorney Can Help

At Holth & Kollman, LLC, we offer a range of services to assist with wills, trusts, and the probate process, including:

Estate Planning

We can help you create wills and trusts that clearly express your intentions and comply with Connecticut laws.
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Trust Administration

We can advise the trustee on their trustee duties, helping to ensure legal compliance and effective trust management.
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Probate Administration

We support executors in managing the probate process, including estate asset management, settling debts, and distributing assets.
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Resolving Probate Disputes

We have extensive experience resolving common disputes like contested wills, disagreements among beneficiaries, and executor issues.
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Estate Litigation

We represent clients in complex legal cases related to estates, including contested wills and fiduciary duty breaches.
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Guardianship and Conservatorship

We can assist you in setting up guardianships or conservatorships for those unable to manage their own affairs.
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Elder Law Advice

We can provide guidance on aging-related issues, including long-term care and Medicaid planning.
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Contact a Probate Litigation Attorney in Connecticut Today

Navigating this complex legal process without help from a New London County probate lawyer can leave you in a haze of forms, court hearings, and bureaucracy. That’s a lot to take on when you’re grieving, and Holth & Kollman, LLC, can take that burden from you. Call us today or reach out online for a complimentary case evaluation.

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