Probate Administration is most commonly thought of as the process of “settling” an estate through a Probate Court. There are several steps involved in this process and they can be quite complicated, especially for those with no previous experience. There are multiple forms to be completed, assets to be identified and properly recorded, and tax forms to be completed. And, as if that is not challenging enough, there are deadlines for when the process needs to be completed. If questions arise during the probate administration process, a Probate Judge may hold hearings to resolve outstanding issues, and the executor of the estate will need to ensure as much as possible that the intent of the will is respected. A person my die testate (meaning he or she had written a will during their lifetime), or intestate (meaning he or she did not leave a will). The probate process will be different for each one. For a testate estate, the assets will be distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with the will. For an intestate estate, the assets will be distributed according to state law, which may not be what the decedent would have wanted. Only proper estate planning during one’s lifetime can ensure that the decedent’s wishes will be followed after his or her death.
Probate Courts do much more than handle estates. In Connecticut, Probate Courts have authority to oversee trusts, determine title to real and personal property, appoint guardians and conservators, terminate parental rights, grant adoptions and many other activities.