Literally, probate, in early canon law (laws promulgated by the church) meant proof of a will’s validity by the named executor. This was called probatio and the ecclesiastical judge in charge gave approbatio to the proof, meaning it was approved or not as the case may be. Today probate courts have jurisdiction over more than wills. For example, if a loved one becomes incapacitated due to mental or physical infirmity, it may be necessary to appoint a conservator for the person and/or her estate. A petition for a conservator is filed with the probate court that will ultimately hold a hearing to determine whether a conservator should be appointed. Adoptions, as well as a myriad of other matters, are by statute committed to the probate court. Much of what happens in probate court involves loved family members. For more than 30 years, Attorney Morasutti has helped families in Central Connecticut who are involved in a probate court. Whether it is the probating of a will, an adoption, conservator or the contest of a will, he will put his experience to work for you. Contact our firm for a free confidential legal consultation. Call 203-639-7245 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When a person dies, with or without a will, his representative should file an application with the probate court, with the will if there is one. The application lists the names and addresses of all the decedent’s heirs and beneficiaries, who will receive notice of a hearing from the court, and each has the right to attend the hearing and either support or object to the will or the executor being proposed. Once the petition is granted, an inventory of the decedent’s estate must be filed by the executor. The inventory includes all property of any description the decedent owned at the time of death. Depending on specific language in the will, or if there is no will, the executor may have to purchase a bond in an amount set by the probate judge.
A notice is published in a newspaper giving creditors notice that they have 150 days to present claims against the estate. Procedurally thereafter, a Connecticut Estate Tax Return is filed with the probate court, and if necessary, a federal Estate Tax Return. These are to be filed six months and nine months, respectively, following date of death. A final Accounting and Proposed distribution is then filed and if approved by the court, the beneficiaries will receive their share.
We know how to search for assets, find missing heirs, what to file and when so that the estate is administered properly. It should only take about a year to complete the probate of an estate. This time could be more or less depending on the size of the estate, and, if there is property to sell, how quickly that happens.
If you have any questions about probate courts or when and whether you need to utilize one following the death of a family member, contact us. Remember, with few exceptions, title and rights to property owned by the decedent, individually or jointly, at the time of her death, must go through a probate court in order to be properly transferred. It only becomes more difficult later on when you realize you can’t sell the house you lived in with your husband because it was never probated.
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Bruno R. Morasutti, LLC
405 Broad St. Meriden, CT 06450