CT Probate FAQ


What is probate?

Probate is a legal process during which the court oversees the distribution of assets that were left in a Will. This process can take a matter of months or even a number of years to be completed.

What assets are subject to probate administration?

All assets owned by you in your own name, not in joint tenancy, in trust or with a beneficiary designation, are subject to probate administration when you die.

How long does it take to go through probate?

The minimum amount of time that the probate process can be completed is approximately six months, but it normally takes longer. Reasons for delays can include Will contests, property cannot be sold, one or more claimants not being notified in the original four-month Claim period so they end up having to be re-noticed, etc. This is among the reasons why it is important to have a good probate attorney; it reduces the chances of complications during the probate process.

Is there any way to avoid probate?

Yes, most states have a summary procedure whereby probate is avoided if the value of your assets is less than a certain value, or if the only heir or beneficiary is your spouse. For example, in California, if your assets amount to less than $100,000, probate can be avoided entirely. Property held in joint tenancy or with a beneficiary designation is not counted toward this $100,000. Also, no more than $10,000 of this $100,000 can be held in real estate. Otherwise, you will need to prepare a Trust in order for your assets to be distributed outside of probate court. It is in your best interest to consult with an attorney to minimize the chance of legal complications in trying to avoid probate.