New Haven Probate Process
The New Haven probate process may seem complicated to an outsider looking in. However, it is actually a very typical legal procedure that involves formally passing a decedent’s assets to the named heirs or beneficiaries, usually through a court process. Essentially, the probate process is a judge giving legal permission to transfer the assets of the deceased, with or without a will. To learn more about the process, contact a practiced probate lawyer.
Probate is Not Always Required
In New Haven, probate may not always be necessary. Title 45a of the Connecticut General Statutes governs the probate courts and procedures.
The probate process only needs to occur if the deceased solely owns property that exceeds $40,000 and has no designated beneficiary; or the deceased solely owns real property—typically land and buildings—of any value.
Thus, if the deceased did not own any real property and their assets are valued at less than $40,000, the estate can be passed to the heirs or beneficiaries without probate.
Small Estates Limit in New Haven and other Exceptions
As stated above, any assets that are valued under $40,000 do not need to go through the probate process, regardless of whether or not the deceased left a will. This exception is called the “small estates limit.” Under Section 45a-273 of the Connecticut General Statutes, Form PC-212 can be filed with the proper probate court to expedite the settlement of a small estate.
Other exceptions to the probate process include:
- Joint tenancy: if the deceased jointly owned property with another individual, the property passes directly to that individual
- Assets with beneficiaries already designated: these assets will be passed directly to the beneficiaries and include life insurance policies, IRAs, and certain financial accounts.
- Assets in living trusts: living trusts are separate from the probate estate and therefore, any assets held in living trust do not need to go through probate
Probate Process in New Haven
If probate is required, you will need to file an application for the administration or probate of a Will with the proper probate court. The application should list basic information about the deceased, including any beneficiaries in the Will, or if there is no Will, all of the deceased’s legal heirs. The application should be accompanied by the death certificate and the deceased’s Will, if applicable. Once the application is admitted, the court will schedule a hearing to appoint an executor or administrator.
Once an executor or administrator is appointed, they will need to gather all of the deceased’s assets and determine its value as of the date of the deceased’s death. If the deceased owned any real property, the court will issue a Certificate for Land Records that the executor/administrator must file with the town clerk.
Complete an Inventory Form
All of the deceased’s solely-owned assets must be reported to the probate court. The executor/administrator is required to file an inventory form listing all of these assets and their values within two months of being appointed. Assets that are jointly owned or already have named beneficiaries do not need to be included in the inventory form.
Pay the Deceased’s Creditors
The executor/administrator will need to give notice to the deceased’s creditors. This typically involves publishing the information in a local newspaper. From that date, creditors will have five months to submit any outstanding claims against the deceased’s estate. Any claims and outstanding bills will need to be paid.
File Estate Tax Returns
The executor/administrator must file a state estate tax return in Connecticut, as well as a federal estate tax return.
Final Account and Distribution
The last step of the probate process is to do a final accounting of all the activity involved in the estate and to distribute the assets accordingly.
An Attorney Can Be a Guide Through the New Haven Probate Procedures
The probate process can be lengthy and confusing. If you need guidance throughout the probate process, contact an adept probate lawyer today. They can help guide you through the New Haven probate process. Call today.