Many people in Connecticut think that they have plenty of time to write their last will and testament and put it off until they pass away. When people die without wills, several unintended consequences can occur. The estates of people who pass away without writing wills must be probated under the state’s intestate succession laws instead of being handled in the way that the deceased person might have wanted.
Intestate succession laws
People who write wills are called testators. When a testator dies, his or her will can be filed with the court to be validated. Once that occurs, the executor will be tasked with paying the creditors of the estate, notifying beneficiaries, paying taxes and court fees, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries of the will. When someone dies without a will, the estate will likely still need to be probated if the decedent owned any probate property. Instead of the assets being distributed in the way that the deceased person would have wanted, the state’s intestate succession laws will control. These laws cover who will receive the assets and in what proportion.
How assets pass under the intestate succession laws
If there is a surviving spouse, and all children are shared by both spouses, the surviving spouse will receive the first $100,000 and one-half of the remaining estate. The children will receive the other one-half divided equally between them. If there is a surviving spouse and children of the deceased spouse who are not shared with the surviving spouse, the living spouse will receive one-half of the estate. The children will divide the remaining one-half between them. If there is no surviving spouse, the children will receive the entire estate. If there is no spouse or children, the estate will go to any living parent of the deceased person. If no parent survives, the estate will go to siblings or descendants of deceased siblings. Finally, if there are no surviving relatives, the estate will go to the state of Connecticut.
Estate planning can help to prevent assets from being distributed in a manner that does not follow your wishes. If you want to leave money to charity or a friend, writing a will might help you to do that. A will can also help you to avoid other unintended consequences such as accidental disinheritances.