Judge on the benchThis is the next post in our series on the probate and administration process in Hartford, Connecticut. Our last article discussed the types of cases which are required to go through the probate process. It is important to understand that certain matters, such as those involving an estate worth less than $40,000, may not have to go through a formal probate. By discussing your situation with an attorney, you can gain an understanding of whether you are eligible for a streamlined process. In this article, we will describe in general terms the probate process.  If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.

A Connecticut probate begins by submitting the last will & testament to the Court

The probate process will begin when the person named as executor of the estate files the last will and testament with the Court. It will also be necessary to file a list of the deceased’s closest living relatives along with their addresses. The Court will hold a hearing to determine whether the will should be allowed into probate, whether the will is defective on its face, or whether a challenge to the will should be considered. Once the will is formally accepted, the Court will grant the executor a “fiduciary certificate” (which is sometimes referred to as a “letter of fiduciary”). This grants the executor authority to act on behalf of the deceased’s estate. The executor will then begin to prepare a proper valuation of the estate and must file an inventory with the Court.

The executor will be charged with liquidating the estate, paying the deceased’s funeral expenses from the estate’s funds, and making sure that the estate’s affairs are properly settled. Once all affairs have been handled, the estate must file a Succession tax return with the State of Connecticut.  Note that the estate may also be required to file an income tax return with the IRS and the State as well. Once the estate has been liquidated and the final tax returns have been filed, a final accounting is provided to the Court.  The executor may then begin to distribute the estate to the heirs. While this process may sound straightforward, it is important to understand that there are many steps to the process. It is strongly suggested that you retain an experienced attorney to assist you.

Hartford executors should retain a probate lawyer to ensure that the estate is handled properly

It is important that the executor of an estate retain an attorney who is experienced in handling these types of cases. If, for example, assets are not properly accounted for, then the executor may face personal liability and other penalties. By retaining an experienced representative, an executor can help to ensure that things are handled properly.

Our Hartford probate lawyers have been serving the greater area for decades. We are honored to assist those in our region and we take great pride in the level of service we offer. Call today to schedule an initial consultation.  We also service the areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, East and West Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.