This is the next post in our series on the preparation of an estate plan for those in Hartford, Connecticut. Our last article discussed Connecticut’s “small estate” process as opposed to matters which require formal probate. The small estate process can generally allow estate plans, with fewer assets, to be executed more quickly. In this article we will discuss a very important topic – the need to have a last will and testament. Failing to have a will, as we are going to explain below, can lead to a great deal of difficulty for your heirs. Retaining an experienced attorney can help you understand your options. Contact our office today to speak with a lawyer knowledgeable about estate plans.
We discussed what happens when one dies without a will in Connecticut. In such a situation, the deceased will be considered to have died “intestate.” This means that their assets will be distributed pursuant to a rank-order that has been predefined by the state. It does not matter if this order of distribution is inconsistent with what the deceased would have wanted. With the statutory distribution, some heirs receive nothing even though the deceased wanted them to inherit something. Also, other heirs, whom the deceased would have wished to “cut out,” may inherit a large amount of the estate. By having a final will, a resident of our state can ensure that his assets are distributed according to his wishes.
Having a final will can also help to prevent infighting amongst one’s heirs. It is not uncommon, unfortunately, for the heirs of an intestate estate to disagree over how affairs should be handled, who should serve as administrator of the estate, and more. Also, sadly, it is common for individuals to begin “helping themselves” to the estate’s assets when one dies without a will. For obvious reasons, all of these issues can create tension amongst a deceased’s loved ones. Again, proper arrangements can prevent these types of issues.
Those wondering whether they need a will can benefit from discussing their situation with an estate planning attorney. Counsel will help you to understand all of your options. Counsel can also explain the consequences of not having a will, and can give an overview of the probate process. Our Hartford lawyers are here to assist with the drafting of a last will and testament, along with other documents you might need such as a Living Will or Power of Attorney. We take pride in providing the highest levels of service and we are ready to assist you. 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.