I am an estate administration legal assistant in New Haven, Connecticut, and frequently encounter clients who are in the vulnerable position of just losing loved ones and unfamiliar with the Connecticut probate process. My main objective is to inform clients of the administration process in a straightforward manner.
Connecticut has a streamlined process for settling small estates, where the decedent owned less than $40,000.00 in solely owned assets. The process includes filing an affidavit and an estate tax return, and circumvents regular estate proceedings. Thus, the small estate procedure expends less time and funds. This process cannot be used if the decedent possessed solely owned real estate. With real estate the normal probate procedure is required.
If a Connecticut resident died owning more than $40,000.00 in solely owned assets, the decedent’s estate must undergo a formal probate process for regular estates. There are six main documents that will need to be filed:
- The appointed fiduciary of the estate must first file the decedent’s will and a petition for administration or probate of the will with probate court within 30 days of the decedent’s death.
- The fiduciary must file an estate Inventory of the decedent’s solely owned assets within two months of appointment as fiduciary. The solely owned assets can include real estate, bank accounts, investments and personal effects.
- A Notice to the Creditors will be published within 14 days of the fiduciary’s appointment notifying creditors to bring forth claims against the decedent’s estate. In most cases, creditors have 150 days to do so. It is the fiduciary’s responsibility to assess any claims presented, and to file a Return of Claims and List of Notified Creditors with probate court within 60 days after the 150-day period.
- The Connecticut Estate Tax Return must be filed six months after the decedent’s death. If the taxable estate exceeds the Connecticut and federal estate tax exemptions for the year the decedent passed away, the fiduciary will need to file a Connecticut Estate Tax Return as well as a Federal Estate Tax Return. If the taxable estate does not exceed the federal and Connecticut estate tax exemptions, the fiduciary will still need to file a Connecticut Estate Tax Return for Non-Taxable Estates with probate court.
- The fiduciary is responsible for filing a final accounting with probate court when the administration of the estate has concluded. For the majority of estates, an abridged financial report can filed within a year of the decedent’s death. A more comprehensive accounting will need to be filed in instances where the decedent’s will has set up a trust when beneficiaries of the trust’s income differ from beneficiaries of the trust’s final distribution of principal.
Estate administration can be at times difficult to navigate and quite tedious if not armed with the proper knowledge. For assistance with the probate process, please contact me at (203) 285-8545 or by email at email@example.com
1 Audubon Street, 3rd Floor
New Haven, CT 06511
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