What are the requirements of submitting a Will to probate in Connecticut? What are the rights and obligations of each party?
Person must deliver Connecticut Will
The person who has possession of the testator’s Connecticut Last Will and Testament and any codicil must deliver it to the probate court or to the executor within 30 days of becoming aware of the death. Failure to do so entitles to court to fine the person up to $1,000 or impose a one year imprisonment term (or both). 45a-282
Will in Safety Deposit Box
If the deceased left a safety deposit box solely in his name, then the court may issue an order to open the box to obtain any Will or cemetery deed that may be contained in the box. The order may be applied for by the spouse, next of kin or any person who has a sufficient interest in the presence of a Connecticut Will. Once granted, the box must be opened in the presence of a bank officer, who has an obligation to report back to the probate court. 45a-284
Executor must apply for Probate
The executor named in the Connecticut Will must apply for probate of the Will within 30 days of the death. A fine of $100 or 30 days imprisonment or both may be imposed for failing to do so. 45a-283
A Connecticut Last Will and Testament cannot be accepted for probate after 10 years from the date of death 45a-330. Exceptions apply.
Probating the Will
After an application has been received, the court must hold a hearing. Personal or public notice (depending on the court’s requirements) must be given to all persons interested in the estate. Notice will not be required where the estate is only enough to pay administration and funeral expenses and the costs of the deceased’s last sickness. 45a-286
After the hearing, the court will either admit the Connecticut Will to probate or reject it.
Appointing a Personal Representative
The personal representative is the person who administers the estate and is usually the person named as executor in the Connecticut Will. If no person is named, the court appoints an administrator. 45a-290
Provided they are entitled to share in the deceased’s estate, the following persons have priority to be administrator:
- The spouse;
- Any of the deceased’s children (or his/her guardian);
- Any grandchild of the deceased (or his/her guardian);
- The deceased’s parents;
- Brother or sister;
- Next of kin;
- Any other person deemed proper by the court. 45a-303
An estate is considered to be small if it consists only of personal property prescribed by the statute and does not exceed the sum of $40,000. 45a-273
Probate of the Connecticut Will is generally not required in small estates. An affidavit or statement signed under penalty of false statement needs to be filed with the probate court.
Once filed, the court may issue a decree authorizing transfer of the personal property. If the estate exceeds the total amount of claims (including the family allowance), then the court must determine how the excess is distributed depending on whether the decedent left a valid Connecticut Last Will and Testament.
Who may file the small estate affidavit?
- The surviving spouse;
- If there is no surviving spouse, the deceased’s next of kin;
- If there is no next of kin, any suitable person as long as the court deems they have a sufficient interest in the estate. 45a-273
Connecticut Estate Tax
The Connecticut succession / inheritance tax no longer applies. However, the state still has an estate tax and a Connecticut Estate and Gift Tax Return (CT-706/709) needs to be filed with the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services if the amount of the taxable estate exceeds $2,000,000.
If the estate is $2,000,000 or less, the estate needs to file a Form 706 NT, Connecticut Estate Tax Return (for Non-taxable Estates) with the probate court (not with the DRS). The judge issues a written opinion as to whether any Connecticut estate tax applies. If the court deems no tax is due, a certificate of release of estate tax lien is issued by the probate court.