Articles Posted in Estate Administration

New Car GiftWhen you die, someone is going to benefit from the use of your car. Wouldn’t it be nice to decide now exactly who that person should be?

You can do that today – it’s easy!  When registering a vehicle, you can designate a transfer-on-death (TOD) beneficiary, not unlike what you can do with a bank account.

How to designate a beneficiary

Simply complete the area reserved for this purpose on the reverse side of your registration certificate. If you do not have a registration certificate, or if you are registering a new vehicle, complete the Official Registration, Form H-13, and designate the Owner in Box 1 as “John Doe, Transfer on Death to Jane Doe.”

When you die, the transfer-on-death beneficiary need only bring a certified copy of your death certificate to the nearest Department of Vehicles office to have the registration transferred. Continue reading


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If you’re confused, or unfamiliar with trusts as part of an estate plan, you’re not alone! Some people need to have a trust, others do not.

Then there’s the probate process. Does having a trust impact the probate process? Should you have a trust to avoid the probate process?

To answer your questions about trusts and probate, read on!

Helpful tipsSo your duty as executor has kicked in. And the word “probate” keeps popping up.

Not sure what probate is? You’re not alone.

Most people don’t know much about the probate process in Connecticut unless they’ve had firsthand experience with it, for example, when a family member dies and his or her estate needs to be administered.

The Connecticut probate court oversees an orderly transfer of title of the decedent’s (deceased person’s) assets from the decedent’s name to his or her beneficiaries. It also makes sure that all the assets are accounted for and all the bills are paid. Continue reading

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Of all the things we do in taking care of our aging parents, dealing with their household stuff might be the most cumbersome. After all, when the end finally comes, it’s up to us to sort, store, sell, toss, donate, and clean everything until the home is empty.

This is no small task, especially in a time of grief. Where to start?

Here are some options for dealing with your parents’ items that won’t be finding a new home with family members. Remember that the more time you have, the more money you can make for the estate. Continue reading

By E. Jennifer RealeAdobeStock_116263415-300x200

Trustees have been given an important responsibility to administer an estate. But not all trustees live up to what is expected of them. If you are having problems with a trustee and considering legal options against them but the trustee is discouraging you from taking action by denying you information, and telling you that he or she has a defense under the terms of the trust, there are some things you should know.

Here are some of the most common misconceptions about the protection a trustee can enjoy under the terms of the trust:

receipts-300x236The saying “you can’t take it with you” is meant to remind people that no matter how much wealth you accumulate in your lifetime, you’ll have to leave it behind when you shuffle off this mortal coil. Unfortunately, for your heirs, the same goes for your debts.

Turns out that dying is no excuse for defaulting on debt. The pertinent questions then become

a) who is responsible for making good on any financial obligations, and

AdobeStock_133177217-300x169How do you know whether or not you’ll need to go through the Connecticut probate court?

The process of properly handling inherited property can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the relevant laws and legal procedures.

While there are unique elements to each case, there are some basic guidelines that are universally applicable.

The role of probate in CT and when it applies

Probate is the process for settling an estate under court supervision. It’s designed to serve as a protection against fraud by freezing the estate’s assets until a judge can confirm that everything is in order with the Will, beneficiaries, and creditors. Continue reading

240_F_165554826_xYrYqGfnlw7NiLoI42t8C88r6SOn57hsModern law offers a variety of ways for individuals to manage, distribute, and protect their property, whether it be for their own benefit or for that of a loved one.  A well-known, and yet seemingly complex, mechanism for doing so is a Trust.  But what does this mean for you, the beneficiary? 

Do you think you are a beneficiary of a trust but have never been contacted by the trustee?  

Have you ever had reason to believe that a trustee is mismanaging or not being truthful about trust assets?  

AdobeStock_35685286-182x300By E. Jennifer Reale

It happens more often than you might imagine. After losing a loved one, family members discover that the deceased’s life insurance policy is about to be paid out to an unexpected beneficiary. Such news can come as a nasty shock, and—unfortunately—it can herald an uphill battle to get the situation resolved.

Given that a life insurance or annuity is a direct contact between the insured (the deceased) and the company providing the insurance/annuity, the claims are settled independently from any Will or Trust that the deceased may have had in place.

Bidding on a homeYour spouse just passed away, and everything your spouse owned had a joint or beneficiary designation. All of your spouse’s assets go to you without having to go through probate first.

End of story, right?  Not exactly.

Did you know that you still have to file paperwork with the probate court?  At the very least, a Connecticut estate tax return must be filed, even if no tax is due.  Not filing can cause problems for you down the road, and here’s why. Continue reading

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