The process of probating an estate begins with the filing of a Will and having the named fiduciary (Executor) appointed. If a person dies without a Will (Intestate), a Petition is filed asking that a fiduciary (Administrator) be appointed. A petition for probate is to be filed within 30 days of death. If waivers are signed by the beneficiaries, a Will may be admitted and fiduciaries appointed without a formal court hearing. This is referred to as “streamlining” approval. If objections are filed, a formal hearing will be convened.
To protect the assets of an estate a bond may be ordered. A bond can be acquired from an insurance company. Bond may be waived by the Judge if the estate assets are less than $20,000, or assets are deposited in a “restricted account” (can’t be accessed without Court permission and unrestricted assets can’t exceed $10,000).
The appointed executor or administrator must gather and protect the decedent’s assets. An Inventory of all assets must be filed within two months of appointment. Notice is published, giving Creditors 150 days to file their claims. Within 60 days after the claims period the fiduciary must file a Return of Claims, setting forth claims made, and whether such claims were allowed or rejected. Disputed claims are decided by the Court.
If assets are insufficient to pay debts, the estate may be settled as insolvent.
The estate must file tax returns. The estate and gift tax return for Connecticut is filed on a CT-706 Form. Even if the estate is not taxable (under $2.6 Million) a CT-706NT return must be filed. For estates over $5.49 Million a federal Form 706 must be filed.
The executor or administrator must file a Financial Report, usually within 12 months of the decedent’s death. The Financial Report identifies expenses paid, advance distributions, claims paid and the proposed distribution to heirs and beneficiaries. Once approved by the Court, final distributions can be made.
Finally, an Affidavit of Closing is filed within 30 days of distribution of all assets at which time the Court closes the file and the bond is released.
If an estate has no solely owned real estate and solely owned assets are less than $40,000 an Affidavit in Lieu of Probate may be filed. It is a simplified process in which the estate can be settled without being subject to a creditor’s claim period.
If you would like more information, please contact Attorney David Baram (860) 242-2221 or firstname.lastname@example.org