Probate Attorney in Rocky Hills, Connecticut
Dealing with the death of a family member or a loved one can be emotionally stressful. In addition, administering a deceased loved one’s estate makes it even more challenging. Probate is one of the many things you’ll have to deal with. To ease the burden of this complex process, it is highly advisable to seek legal help from a reliable Connecticut attorney.
At Darius Law Group, we are dedicated to representing our clients in probate proceedings, estate administration, and other estate planning matters. Our legal team will guide the executor of the will or beneficiaries of an estate through the probate process. We will provide the care and legal guidance your family needs to get through this difficult time. We understand how complex and overwhelming the probate process is. Therefore, we will strive to guide you throughout the whole process.
What is Probate?
Probate is the process of settling a decedent’s estate under court supervision. It is a legal proceeding that involves validating a will, identifying and determining the value of the deceased person’s assets, paying their final bills and taxes, and transferring the estate’s ownership to the rightful beneficiaries and heirs. Probate may seem to be a complicated and expensive legal process. However, it is considered a formal and lawful way of transferring the ownership of your assets to your beneficiaries when you die.
Probate laws may differ from state to state. Therefore, it is essential to seek legal assistance from a reliable Hartford County probate attorney to help you know your state’s laws to administer your final wishes efficiently. State laws vary on what happens if you die with or without a will.
When is Probate Necessary?
Each state has different laws concerning probate. Some people want to avoid probate because the process can take months or even years. Whether probate is needed depends on the type of property, how it is owned, and state laws. A knowledgeable probate attorney in Rocky Hills and surrounding areas in Connecticut can help you determine if you need to undergo the probate process.
Probate is not always required to transfer property. For instance, if the deceased’s assets are in joint tenancy with someone else, survivorship property, or living trust, those assets do not require probate. Property and assets only in your name are part of your probate estate. Most states allow a certain amount of property to pass free of probate or a simplified probate procedure. But if an estate exceeds that value, then probate must be initiated.
In Connecticut, an estate that is less than $40,000 in value can be settled through the simplified small estate process.
How Does the Probate Process Work?
In probate, the court supervises preparing the inventory of a deceased person’s estate and paying all outstanding debts. Then, the estate is settled and can be distributed to the heirs. The process may vary depending on whether an individual died with or without a will. A skilled Hartford County probate lawyer can help you understand how probate works.
File a Petition to Begin the Probate
File a petition with the appropriate probate court, together with a certified death certificate, original will, and codicils. Once the probate court receives the application, it will schedule a hearing to validate the will and appoint an executor. Typically, a will names an executor who oversees the probate process. This person is given 30 days from the will owner’s death to file the document with the appropriate probate court and initiate the probate process.
On the other hand, if there is no will, then the decedent is intestate. The court initiates procedures for intestate probate, which take longer than if there was a will. When you die without a will, the court will appoint an administrator. Furthermore, the law will determine your beneficiaries and will usually be the next of kin.
Inventory the Estate Assets
As the appointed executor, it is your responsibility to collect, inventory, and appraise all assets subject to probate and present them to the probate court. You need to itemize and appraise a list of all assets, including their respective fair market values, on the date of the decedent’s death. These assets may include bank accounts, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts, real estate, and other valuable possessions. You must carefully manage all assets since the fiduciary will be personally liable for any loss that will take place during this process.
File a Notice for Land Records
Suppose the decedent was the sole owner of the real estate. In that case, the probate court provides a Certificate for Land Records that need to be recorded with the town clerk showing that the executor or administrator has been appointed. The fiduciary is responsible for proper property maintenance to prevent any damage.
Pay All Estate Debts and Expenses
As the decedent’s personal representative, you are required to pay any valid creditor claims. The fiduciary should estimate these costs in advance. You must be prepared to pay all estate debts and expenses, including funeral expenses, applicable estate taxes, and other claims. You must review all outstanding debts and decide whether they must be paid. You can dispute or settle creditor claims on behalf of the estate.
In addition, the probate court will have a Notice to Creditors published in a local newspaper within 14 days after the probate process begins. Creditors generally have five months from the appointment of the executor to present claims against the estate to the executor.
Distribute Remaining Assets to Beneficiaries
After all debts, expenses, claims, and taxes are paid, the executor can start to prepare a final accounting and proposed distribution of the estate. The remaining assets must be distributed to the rightful beneficiaries and heirs according to the decedent’s final wishes stated in the will. If there is no will, the distribution will be done according to state intestacy laws.
Close the Estate
Once everything has been distributed, you need to submit a final accounting report to the court and then request for the estate to be closed. The report must include the list of all debts paid and all distributions made to the beneficiaries or heirs. When the court approves this report, the judge will discharge you from the probate duties and formally close the probate estate.
Call Our Experienced Probate Attorney Now!
Probate is one of the most complex practice areas of law. Dealing with probate matters alone can be overwhelming and time-consuming. The probate process involves a lot of documentation and steps to be followed according to the probate rules. It should be handled with a deeper understanding of the legal principles involved.
Suppose you are handling the distribution of an estate of a person who died with or without a will. In that case, it is advisable to get legal help from our experienced probate attorneys at Darius Law Group, LLC. Our office is located in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.
Our estate planning law firm handles all aspects of probate and estate administration. We will help you prepare and file the documents required and represent you in court hearings. We will guide you through each stage of the probate process to help you achieve peace of mind