One of the most important things a person can do for themselves while they are alive is to create an extensive estate plan. In doing so, they make a plan to prepare for what happens to their assets after they pass away. This may include assets such as real estate, bank accounts, securities, and personal items. A crucial part of an estate plan is writing a will. This is a legal document that recognizes how a person wishes to have their assets handled after they are gone.
Why is a Will Important?
When an individual lives a long life, it comes with valuable assets. Many times, an individual wishes to leave these assets to loved ones when their life is over. In writing a will, people are able to pass these belongings on to whomever they wish. This ensures that the assets fall into the right hands. It also prevents any worries about what would happen to an estate if it was left without a plan.
When someone fails to create a will, they die “intestate.” When this happens, an application must be filed with the Probate Court for the administration of the decedent’s estate. This leaves the estate in the hands of the state of Connecticut. A judge then makes all decisions regarding the assets.
In Connecticut, a succession schedule determines who these assets belong to if an individual dies intestate. If a decedent is survived by:
- A spouse and children (both of the decedent), the spouse receives $100,000 and half of the remainder. The children then take the other half.
- A spouse and child (if one or more is not a child of the surviving spouse) the spouse receives half. All remaining children share the other half equally.
- A spouse and parents, without children, the spouse receives $100,000 and ¾ of the remainder. The parents of the decedent then take the other fourth.
- Only a spouse, they receive the entire estate.
- Only children, they receive the entire estate.
- Only parents, they receive the entire estate.
- Brothers and sisters, both receive the estate.
- The next of kin, they receive the entire estate. If there is no next of kin but there is a stepchild, they will be the next in line to receive the estate.
If there is no next of kin or stepchild, the entire estate goes to the state of Connecticut.
Executing a Will
There are specific guidelines to follow when creating a will. This is to ensure that it is a valid document. In Connecticut, a will must be written and signed by the individual creating the document. In addition to this, there must be two witnesses present at the signing who can attest to hearing the individual signing their will.
Contact our Firm
If you or a family member is looking to create an estate plan and wish to speak with an experienced attorney, contact The Law Offices of Marc N. Needelman today.
Marc N. Needelman is an experienced attorney working throughout the state of Connecticut. Contact the law firm to set up a free initial consultation for matters, related to real estate, personal injury, criminal defense, estate planning, and more.