Dying Without a Will in New Haven
When a Connecticut resident dies, probate courts will oversee the distribution of the deceased’s assets to any beneficiary or heir. If the deceased has a Will, the distribution of the deceased’s assets will be carried out according to Will.
However, dying without a will in New Haven means Connecticut’s laws of intestacy succession apply to the distribution of the deceased’s estate. If you are wondering what to do after a loved one died without a will, you may benefit from speaking with a knowledgeable wills attorney.
What Assets Are Passed By Intestate Succession?
Connecticut’s intestate laws cover not all of the deceased’s assets. Only assets that would have been passed through the deceased’s will (if they had one) are affected. This usually includes all assets that were solely owned by the deceased. Thus, any property jointly owned by the deceased and another individual will not be passed by intestate succession.
Other examples of assets not affected by intestate succession include:
- Property held in living trust
- Life insurance benefits
- Retirement funds
- Payable-on-death bank accounts
The assets described above automatically pass to the named beneficiary or to the surviving joint tenant, regardless of whether or not the deceased had an executed will.
Laws of Intestate in New Haven
Under Connecticut Code Section 45a-437, if the deceased dies without a will, their assets will be distributed in a certain manner.
If the deceased dies:
- Leaving a surviving spouse and no children, the spouse inherits all of the deceased’s assets
- Leaving surviving children, but no spouse, the children inherit everything
- Leaving a surviving spouse and children from that spouse, the spouse inherits the first $100,000 of intestate property plus half of the balance, and the children inherit the rest
- Leaving a surviving spouse and children from a different individual, the spouse inherits half of the intestate property and the children inherit the other half
- Leaving a surviving spouse and parents, the spouse inherits the first $100,000 of intestate property plus 75 percent of the balance, and the parents inherit the remaining 25 percent
- Leaving surviving parents but no spouse or children, the parents inherit everything
- Leaving surviving siblings but no spouse, children or parents, the siblings inherit everything
The state’s intestate laws generally favor spouses, parents and children of the deceased. If the deceased dies without any of those categories of kin, the state will look to other blood relatives when distributing the estate. In the unlikely event that the deceased dies without any surviving kin, the deceased’s estate will escheat to the state of Connecticut under Section 45a-452 of the Connecticut Code.
Different Categories of Children
In Connecticut, the law distinguishes between different types of children. For example, if the deceased legally adopted a child, the court will treat that child exactly like a biological heir. Foster children, or any stepchildren, that the deceased did not legally adopt will not automatically inherit any of the deceased’s assets.
Any children that the deceased placed for adoption and were subsequently adopted will not receive any inheritance. Connecticut treats children born out of wedlock the same as children born to a marriage.
Contacting a New Haven Attorney To Discuss Dying Without a Will
Intestacy succession can get confusing very quickly. To ensure that your best interests are protected, contact a New Haven attorney who can help you understand the laws surrounding dying without a will in New Haven. Call now to get started.