Probate Courts may seem less intimidating than Superior Courts, but the outcomes can be life-altering. Probate Courts adjudicate matters that affect people at a very personal level and can be hard or impossible to reverse. Experience can make the difference in your outcome.
The administration of an estate includes many filing deadlines and procedural requirements. Even non-taxable estates require a Connecticut Estate Tax return. Issues of tax elections, asset valuation, disclaimers, creditors’ claims, elective shares, and support allowances make administration much more complicated than just filing forms and distributing property. We provide up-to-date advice regarding all decision points; obtain necessary court approvals for sales of real estate, partial distributions, ascertainment of heirs, etc.; prepare all probate court forms and estate tax returns; protect you as executor; and show you where to sign.
If you need to obtain conservatorship over an incapable loved one or prevent a loved one from obtaining conservatorship over you, the outcome can be profound and therefore failure is not an option. The laws are specific, the burden of proof is high, and the consequences usually are permanent. Success depends on experience and advocacy. The easiest way to avoid conservatorship is to execute a Durable Power of Attorney and an Appointment of Health Care Representative, and to make sure that they contain all the powers needed to accomplish your goals (most internet forms do not). Our attorneys also are available to serve as conservator when no family member is able or willing.
If you need to challenge the Will of a decedent, or if someone is challenging a Will you have submitted for probate, the result can permanently affect the appointment of the executor and the final distribution of the estate. Probate courts also can be used to interpret Trusts, appoint trustees, appoint guardians, change one’s name, and seek accountings from persons acting under Power of Attorney. Knowledge of the probate court rules of procedure and the law of Wills, Trusts, etc. is essential to success.
Estate Tax Returns:
A Connecticut Estate Tax return must be filed on behalf of all decedents whether or not tax is owed. If a married person dies who held real estate jointly with a spouse, the filing of the return is especially necessary, to obtain a certificate from the Probate Court stating that the decedent owed no estate tax. Such a certificate is necessary to sell or mortgage the property, and is best done soon after death when asset information is available. For taxable estates, prompt filing is necessary to avoid interest and penalties.