Who Can Serve as Executor?

Who Can Serve as an Executor or Administrator of an Estate?

An executor or administrator can be anyone: a member of the decedent’s family, an attorney, a bank, or a beneficiary of a will.   An executor is named in the will and chosen by the person making the will.   If that person is capable, the Court must appoint that individual as executor. If there is no will, the selection of an administrator is made by the Court.  The law requires that a family member or designee of the family member be chosen, unless it appears to the Court that it would not be in the best interests of the parties concerned, in which case the Court will usually appoint an impartial person or a bank.

What Taxes Might Be Due at the Time of Death?

Taxes payable as a result of death include one to the federal government called the Federal Estate Tax, which is reported on federal form 706 and another to the State of Connecticut known as the Connecticut Estate and Gift Tax, which is reported on form CT 706/709. There may also be taxes payable to other states in which the decedent owned property. In addition, there may be income taxes, property taxes, and other taxes due from a decedent if these taxes accrued prior to death. It is the fiduciary’s responsibility to ascertain and pay such taxes. Fiduciaries are also responsible for reporting income received during estate administration.

Probate Court Jurisdiction

According to the State of Connecticut publication “The Probate Court and You” the Probate Courts have jurisdiction over many matters

Connecticut is divided into 117 probate districts, each of which is presided over by a probate judge who is elected to office for a four-year term.

Probate Courts have jurisdiction over many matters:

1) probating wills and the administration of estates;

2) overseeing testamentary and living trusts;

3) determining title to real and personal property;

4) construing the meaning of wills and trusts;

5) appointing guardians for the mentally retarded;

6) appointing conservators of the person and the estate of incapable individuals;

7) committing those suffering from mental illness, alcoholism, or drug addiction to an appropriate facility;

8) removing unfit parents as guardians of their children;

9) terminating the parental rights of parents who cannot fulfill their parental responsibilities;

10) granting adoptions;

11) granting name changes;

12) other matters.

Sometimes the issues presented to the Probate Courts are complex and difficult. Therefore, it is important that you seek competent professional advice, so that your legal rights are fully protected.

What happens without a will?

It may surprise you what will happen to your estate if you die without a will.  One might assume that all of their worldly assets would go directly to their spouse.  While this may be your intention the laws in the state you live in determine the exact distribution of your estate if you do not have a will.  It also may surprise you that in Connecticut the estate does not all automatically go to the spouse.

Connecticut’s laws of “intestacy.”

 

How Is the Property Distributed When There Is No Will?

If the decedent is survived by:

Spouse, and children* of both decedent and spouse – Spouse takes first $100,000, + 1/2 of the remainder.  Children* take the other 1/2.

Spouse, and children* of decedent, one or more of whom is not the child of the spouse -  Spouse takes 1/2. All the children* share the other 1/2 equally.

Spouse and parent or parents (no children**) - Spouse takes first$100,000 + 3/4 of the remainder. Parent(s) takes the other 1/4.

Spouse only (no children**, no parents) - Spouse takes all.

Children* only (no spouse) -  All goes to the children*.

Parent(s) (no spouse, no children**)  - All goes to the parent(s).

Brothers* and sisters* (no spouse, no parents, no children**) – All goes to the brothers* and sisters

Next of kin (no spouse, no children**no parents, no brothers** or sisters**) - All goes to the next of kin.