People who are committed to their family, friends and causes will take time as early as necessary to see that their estate is disbursed to beneficiaries with clarity and finality after they're gone. Last wills and testaments join trust documents and other records of assets to create Connecticut's legal framework for estate planning.
Even the best plans, however, can be challenged as unfair or unclear. When relatives and other beneficiaries have disputes over the assets in a deceased person's estate, litigation in probate court is often the last resort. Probate courts are designed to make the most basic functions of civil law available to everyone.
Connecticut's estate tax applies to specific estates of high value. Any estate with a total value of $3.5 million or more may be taxed by the state government at rates starting at 7.2 percent. Every estate is subject to trimming to pay off a decedent's debts, taxes that remain due or other legal claims. A probate court may also be called upon to adjudicate these claims.
The greatest complications lie in estates without a will or with conflicting claims. If a person dies intestate, or without a will, Connecticut law will divide the value of the estate between claimants and the government. Most people would prefer to avoid this option.
The state only has the right to divide a person's estate if that person did not take the time to carefully consider options. An attorney can help advise estate planners at all levels feel more secure in their plans for bequests and building value for those whom they love.