New Haven Wills Lawyer

A will is a central component to every estate plan and can be used to dispose of most of the property an individual typically owns at the time of their death. Using a will, a testator—the person who created the will and to whose property the will applies—is able to designate beneficiaries they wish to inherit the assets in their estate.

An experienced New Haven wills lawyer is a skilled drafter who could prepare an individualized document that fully and accurately expresses your final wishes. Contact a skilled attorney today to learn more about how they can help ease this process.

Creating a Valid Will

Tangible personal property, real estate, and bank accounts are all examples of assets that can pass under a will. Assets that are not governed by wills include:

  • Assets that have a designated beneficiary (such as a life insurance policy)
  • Jointly owned assets with a surviving joint owner
  • Assets titled in the name of a trust

In order for a document to be considered a will under New Haven law, there are certain requirements that must be met. A valid will must be in writing and signed by a testator who is of sound mind and at least 18 years of age in the presence of two witnesses.

Probating a Will

If a person dies in New Haven owning assets in their sole name, their estate needs to go through the state probate process in order for assets to be distributed. This is true regardless of whether that person had a will at the time they passed away.

When a person dies with a will, they technically died “testate,” whereas a person who dies without a will has died “intestate.” The purpose of the probate process if someone dies with a will is for the court to validate the will.

If an individual dies intestate, their assets will be distributed according to Connecticut laws of intestate succession. This means that assets will pass to the closest living relatives, such as a spouse, children, or parents. These laws are intended to reflect how the majority of people would want their assets to pass; however, they certainly will not satisfy everyone’s wishes or account for all family dynamics.

Having a will is crucial to avoid the application of these default provisions. If a person does not have many close relatives, it can be even more important for them to have a will to avoid property passing to distant or unknown relatives under intestacy laws.

What Can A Will in New Haven Cover?

Many people mistakenly believe that wills are only important for individuals with substantial assets. Although a will can play a large role in the distribution of assets, this document can also serve many other important functions, such as naming a guardian for minor children and appointing an executor.

Naming a Guardian for Minor Children

If a parent with minor children dies, a guardian will need to be appointed for those children. In the event a parent has not designated a guardian, the court will have the discretion to appoint someone to fill this role. Although the court will consider the best interests of the child when making this decision, it may not align with what the parent would have wanted.

Appointing an Executor

Another important function of a will is to appoint an executor of the estate. The executor is responsible for managing the decedent’s affairs after they pass away. The legal responsibilities of this role include gathering and distributing assets, paying creditors, and filing necessary estate tax returns.

Revocation of a Will

A testator may revoke an existing will at any time prior to their death. Revocation may occur by a physical act such as burning or tearing. Alternatively, a will may be revoked by the execution of a subsequent will or codicil.

Get in Touch with a New Haven Wills Attorney Today

A will can be one of the most critical documents you ever compose, and it is just as important to ensure every part of it is valid and enforceable. To consult with a New Haven wills lawyer about preparing a last will and testament, please get in touch today.