Mourning coupleThis is the next post in our series on the handling of Hartford, Connecticut cases in which one has died without a last will and testament. Our last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to contact an attorney as soon as possible if you or a loved one find yourself in such a situation. It is important that you contact counsel sooner, rather than later, as there are steps which should be taken immediately. In this article we will discuss another important topic – how our state handles cases where one has passed without a will. If you require assistance then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.

Connecticut residents who die without a will are considered to have passed “intestate”

When someone dies in the state of Connecticut without a valid will, then they are considered to have died “intestate.” In our state, when such a situation arises, the deceased’s assets will be distributed in an order that is predetermined by statute. Our legislature’s predetermination of asset distribution serves two purposes. First, it prevents fighting amongst the heirs. Second, it serves to prevent heirs from “helping themselves” to assets such as furniture, art, or other valuables. If an individual engages in self-help, and takes items which belong to the estate, then a Probate Judge can order the assets to be returned and can take appropriate action against the offending individuals. The Court will then ensure that the assets are distributed pursuant to the hierarchy laid out by the legislature.

The distribution of an intestate estate’s assets will depend on the number and types of relatives left behind by the deceased. For example:

  • If one dies with a spouse and children, then the spouse will inherit the first $100,000 worth of intestate property. The spouse will then receive one-half of any remaining intestate property. The other one-half of the property will be divided amongst the children.
  • If one dies with a spouse and no children, but with living parents, then the spouse will inherit the first $100,000 and three-fourths of any remaining property. The final one-fourth of any intestate property will be divided between the deceased’s parents.

These are just two examples of how property is divided when one dies without a will. The final distribution, again, will be determined by the deceased’s particular family situation.

A Hartford probate lawyer can assist in cases where one died without a will

If a loved one has died without a will then it is important to recognize that the case may be more complicated than one thinks. While the calculations above may seem simple, there may be disputes as to how property should be valued and whether assets or debts should be considered part of the estate. An experienced attorney can assist you with resolving such issues and taking steps to ensure that your case goes smoothly.

Our Hartford probate lawyers handle intestate cases on behalf of area residents. We focus on this area of law so that you may move on with your life and focus on the future. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. We also service the Connecticut areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Bristol, Rocky Hill, West Hartford, East Hartford, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.