The Connecticut probate process is a formal legal process which takes place after most people pass away. There are ways to avoid having assets transfer through probate, such as by creating a comprehensive plan to transfer assets via other means such as trust administration and pay on death accounts. However, even if assets have transferred via these other means, going to probate court may still be necessary to have an estate tax and probate fee lien removed.
Because probate normally has to occur after death, individuals involved in estate planning and families of a deceased person need to understand what is involved in the probate process. Many people have myths and misconceptions about this process, or are not sure what to expect. A Connecticut probate attorney at Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates can provide you with the help you need during the entirety of the probate process, whether you are an executor, beneficiary, or other interested party.
Myths about the Connecticut Probate Process
Some of the common myths about the probate process include:
- A person named as executor is always going to be the executor: A person in Connecticut becomes the executor only if three things are true: he is named executor in the will; he is willing to be executor; and he is appointed by the probate court. While usually this means that the person named as the executor will become the executor, this isn’t necessarily true 100 percent of the time.
- Executors have complete discretion: While executors have a lot of responsibility, they also have a fiduciary duty. They have to act in the best interests of heirs and follow the wishes of the deceased. They cannot just do whatever they want with estate assets.
- Any will is going to be enforced in probate. If a will does not follow the required legal formalities; was made under conditions of fraud or duress; or was made when the deceased was of unsound mind, it may not be probated.
- Intestate laws give everything to my spouse. If you die without a will, intestacy laws will determine what happens to assets. Depending upon your surviving family members, it is possible some of your money and property will go to someone other than your spouse. The Connecticut Judicial Branch explains intestate succession.
- Assets aren’t taxed if they don’t pass through probate: Assets transferred through other means, such as a living trust, don’t pass through probate. This does NOT mean they are not considered part of the estate for purposes of determining if taxes have to be paid. If your goal is to avoid estate taxes, you need to develop a comprehensive plan with the help of your attorney.
These are just a few of the many things that people tend to not understand or have the wrong idea about when it comes to probate. The probate process is a complicated one and, for some people, is their first involvement with formal court proceedings. You need to make informed choices, including finding the right legal advocate, in order to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Understanding the Connecticut Probate Process
Understanding the Connecticut probate process is essential so you do not make mistakes that result in the process taking longer, the wishes of the deceased not being respected, or an inheritance not being kept safe during probate.
It is a good idea for anyone who is involved in the probate process to get proper legal help so they can avoid the types of mistakes that cause problems during probate. An attorney can help you to understand the realities of probate, and can correct any misconceptions you may have. Your Connecticut probate lawyer can also advocate for you, advise you, and take legal steps on your behalf during probate. Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates makes the process easy, whatever your role within it, so you can move through probate quickly and effectively and begin moving on after death.
Getting Help from A Connecticut Probate Attorney
Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates can provide you with help during the entire probate process. We have provided representation to many executors and family members of people who have passed away. We work hard to make sure the probate process goes as smoothly as possible and inheritances are protected during the process.
To find out more about how we can help you make the Connecticut probate process easy, give us a call at 860-548-1000 or contact us online to speak with a member of our legal team. You can also download our free estate planning worksheet to learn more about estate planning and probate.