Our Hartford County Probate Attorneys Help You Through Life Transitions

An empty bench at the park with green grass, trees and rocks in the blurred background as evening falls.

It is particularly difficult after losing a loved one to have to deal with such tasks as sorting through the deceased person’s debts, changing title to assets, and making distributions to beneficiaries. That’s why it is comforting to have assistance from those with experience dealing with these issues and estate creditors. Our probate attorneys can help take the load off the person in charge of settling an estate, typically called the executor.

Probate attorneys help with this time-consuming legal process. For the average person who never before served as an executor, it is difficult to understand probate. For a deceased person with a relatively small estate, say under $300,000, who owned a house, bank accounts, an IRA, life insurance and a car, probate can seem complicated because of the documentation process required by the probate court.

There are many aspects to probate law. Below, we have highlighted some of the topmost concerns of executors and their families.

Our Probate Attorneys Will Help You Start a Probate

The probate process starts by filing the deceased person’s will and a Petition for Admission of the Will with the probate court. We can do this for you or it can be done by the person named as the executor in the will. If the deceased person does not have a will, usually a family member files the Petition for Administration of an Estate. A creditor can also initiate probate in some cases.

Probate Administration: Help is at Hand from our Probate Attorneys

The probate process is the procedure of dealing with the court to settle an estate. This process will involve a personal representative, for those without a valid will, or an executor, for those with a valid will. Many people have never been to court before they become involved with probate after a loved one passes away. With our knowledge of probate law, we can guide the personal representative or executor through this process and make certain that all court requirements are met to keep the process on schedule to the extent possible.

Our Hartford and Windham County Probate Attorneys Explain Wills

Most everyone understands the purpose of a will. Wills can be used for a lot more than simply dictating who gets what. A will is most effective only when properly drafted. Our attorneys can establish a will in a manner that ensures your situation is considered and your wishes will be honored.

A will is a mechanism to advise a probate court about how you want your property distributed. But, can the will do its job as intended? That depends upon how the will was prepared and executed and whether it was updated to reflect changes to the law. When a will is deemed not valid by a probate court, the court is forced to distribute property according to the laws of the state in which the deceased lived. This often leads to painful surprises among the family left behind by the deceased person.

If you don’t have a valid will or trust, then state laws will determine how your assets pass, to whom they pass, and when they pass. This could lead to unnecessary estate and income taxes. Your estate could be consumed by creditors. And, your estate could be tied up in probate court longer than necessary. These results are costly because they deplete the amount passed to the heirs, and are unnecessary and preventable. Not only that, but the process is emotionally draining to the survivors and heirs.

Even if the deceased had a trust, Congress, state legislatures, and the courts are constantly changing the rules. In fact, there have been several major estate and income tax law changes in recent years.

Our Probate Attorneys Will Explain Assets That Don’t Go Through Probate

Some types of assets are considered non-probate assets. These include:

  • Property in which you own title as joint tenants with right of survivorship because such property passes to the co-owners by operation of law;
  • Retirement accounts such as IRA and 401k accounts where beneficiaries are designated;
  • Life insurance policies with beneficiaries;
  • Bank accounts with pay on death or in trust for designations; and
  • Property owned by a trust wherein legal title to such property passes to successor trustees without going through probate.

Blended Families: Probate Surprises Can be Avoided

Some people believe that when they die, their assets will pass automatically to their surviving spouse. But that’s not necessarily true. In Connecticut, if the surviving spouse is not the parent of the deceased spouse’s children, the deceased spouse’s share of property passes half to the surviving spouse and half to his or her children. If the surviving spouse is the parent of the deceased spouse’s children, the spouse receives the first $50,000 and half of the remaining assess, with the children receiving the remaining of the assets.

Our Probate Attorneys Can Help You Avoid Probate

Most people want their end-of-life business kept confidential. When an estate is settled through a probate court, the records are public. Probate can be minimized or avoided by establishing a trust, which keep the details of the deceased person’s estate confidential.

Our Probate Attorneys Can Help You Avoid Probate Contests and Litigation

An executor’s duties are to identify the deceased person’s assets, pay the deceased person’s debts, and distribute the remaining assets to the deceased person’s beneficiaries as identified in the will. But the devil is in the details. Many executors have never done this before. We assist executors who want to make sure that they fulfill their duties to the probate court and beneficiaries. If an executor performs these duties poorly, or if the beneficiaries contest the will or the appointment of the executor, a probate contest in the form of litigation may arise. Our attorneys provide litigation services to help protect the rights of executors and the heirs.

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We practice law in all Connecticut counties including Windham, Tolland, Litchfield, Hartford, Middlesex, Fairfield, New London and New Haven; we also practice law in New York and Massachusetts. To learn more about our probate attorneys, their services, and how we might help you, connect with us today by clicking here Contact Us to find the form on this website. Fill it out and send it in. Or just call us at 860.928.2429.