You have probably heard of the estate planning document called a last will or last will and testament. Though this document can seem like a simple device to execute, you should understand the fact that the process of estate administration does not take place in a vacuum.
Someone has to administer the estate after you pass away. This person is called the executor or estate representative. The executor handles the business of the estate, but the administration of the estate is supervised by the probate court. After you die, the will must be admitted to probate, and this process must run its course before the heirs to the estate can receive their inheritances.
During probate there is a proving of the will. The court examines the will to determine its validity. This process can be more expedient if the will is a self-proving will.
In the state of Connecticut, in order for a will to be valid, it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who are competent adults. It could potentially be valid even if it is not notarized, but the will would be a self-proving will if it was in fact notarized.
The testator, who is the person creating the will, and the two witnesses would go to a notary. An affidavit would be signed by all parties attesting to the fact that they watched one another sign the last will. This would speed up the probate process, because the court would not have to question the witnesses with regard to the signing of the will.
This is a general description, but any time you want to execute legally binding documents, you may want to work with a licensed attorney. When you obtain legal guidance, you can be certain that the will is properly executed, and this will make things much less difficult for your loved ones after you pass away.
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You should be fully aware of all of your options when you are planning your estate. A last will may be a good choice for you, but then again, there may be more effective estate planning devices given your unique personal situation.
If you would like to learn all the facts, send us a message through this page to set up a free consultation: Hartford CT Estate Planning Attorneys.