Attorney F.W. O'Connor of CT

The Law Office of F. William O'Connor, LLC

P.O. Box 1224
20 East Main Street
Avon, CT 06001-1224

Telephone: 860.677.2254
Fax: 860.676.8912



The document offered below is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. With respect to any specific issue or problem, you should contact an attorney for advice. Thank you.

-- F.William O'Connor, Attorney at Law


Q: What is Probate?

A: Probate is the process of settling a decedent’s estate by notifying creditors to present any claims against the estate and also serves to re-title assets held in the decedent’s name and to see that those assets get properly distributed to the intended beneficiaries. The Probate Court for the district where the decedent resided at the time of his or her death has jurisdiction. The Probate Court’s role is to make sure that creditors have an opportunity to present their claims against the estate and that the decedent’s wishes contained in the Will are followed. If the decedent does not have a will, the property will be divided according to the laws of intestacy in Connecticut.

Q: Do Estates Need To Be Probated in Connecticut?

A: In Connecticut, a decedent's estate needs to be probated if at the time of his death he owned real estate or assets exceeding forty-thousand ($40,000) dollars. For estates under forty-thousand ($40,000) there is a Small Estate procedure which allows Small Estates to be administered with only minimal intervention by the Probate Court. For all other estates an application to probate the estate needs to be filed in the Probate Court. After the will is admitted, the Probate Court appoints a fiduciary (the Executor named in the will or an Administrator appointed by the court). The Executor files an Inventory listing all probate, federal and/or Connecticut Estate Tax Returns, a Return of Claims, a Final Accounting and a closing affidavit. If an estate tax is due, the State of Connecticut requires payment within six (6) months of the decedent's death and the federal government requires payment within nine (9) months following the date of death.

Q: What is a Probate Inventory?

A: A Probate Inventory is a list of the assets owned by the decedent in his or her own name at the date of death. The Executor needs to file an Inventory with the Probate Court within sixty (60) days of being appointed.

Q: Is there a simplified method for settling small estates?

A: Yes. There is an expedited procedure for settling estates where probate assets do not exceed $40,000 and where the decedent owned no real estate. The simplified method usually does not require the appointment of an Executor. In addition to the Small Estate Affidavit being filed, a Connecticut Estate Tax Return must be filed.

Q: What is a Return and List of Claims?

A: In a decedent's estate, creditors and debts owed by the decedent need to be listed on a form known as a Return and List of Claims.

Q: How does the Probate Court Get Paid?

A: The Probate Court system in Connecticut is self-funding and relies on user fees to generate the revenue to keep it operating. A tax is levied upon decedent’s estates pursuant to a schedule based on the size of the estate. The Probate Court fee is based on the Connecticut Estate Tax filed with the Probate Court.

Q: What is a Final Accounting?

A: In a decedent's estate, the Executor must account for all revenues and expenses incurred during his or her administration of the estate. This accounting starts with the Inventory and lists all income receipts and all expenses paid during the estate administration period and also lists the proposed distributions to the beneficiaries.

Q: How do I Close the Estate?

A: Once the final accounting of an estate is approved and any tax clearances are received, the Executor will file an Affidavit of Closing with Probate Court.

Q: What is a "Conservator"?

A: A Conservator is someone appointed by the Probate Court to handle the person’s financial or personal affairs. The law views a person as a financial entity and as a
personal entity and can appoint someone to be the Conservator of the Estate for finances or as the Conservator of the Person for personal affairs. Conservatorships can be voluntary or involuntary.


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