Dying Without a Will in Connecticut

Last will and testament on table among other estate planning documents
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When a Connecticut resident dies without a last will and testament, the intestacy succession laws found in the Connecticut Statutes will dictate who inherits the deceased person's probate estate. Below is a summary of the Connecticut intestacy laws in various situations.

During probate, beneficiaries must prove to a judge that the division of property is honest and fair. Any assets controlled by the decedent at their death—plus the bills or debts they owed—are part of the probate process. Debt is subtracted from the value of assets. Then the remaining balance is separated according to Connecticut law. On average, probate costs about $1500—for estates under one million dollars. Also, you can spend up to two years to complete the entire process.

Chapter 802b of the Connecticut code defines the dispersal of decedents' estates.

When the Deceased Is Survived

Here is what will happen under the Connecticut intestacy laws if the deceased person is survived by a spouse or descendants—children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren—or parents:

  • Survived by a spouse and children all of whom are children of the spouse: The living spouse will inherit the first $100,000 of the descendants' estate and one-half (1/2) of the balance and the children will inherit the remainder, per stirpes.
  • Survived by a spouse and one or more children who are not descendants of the spouse: The living spouse will inherit one-half (1/2) of the deceased partners' estate and the deceased person's children will inherit the remaining one-half (1/2), per stirpes.
  • Survived by a spouse and no descendants or parents: In this case, the living spouse will inherit the deceased spouse's entire estate.
  • Survived by descendants and no spouse: The deceased person's descendants will inherit the entire probate estate, per stirpes.
  • Survived by a spouse and parent or parents and no descendants: The surviving spouse will inherit the first $100,000 of the probate estate and the balance will be distributed three-fourths (3/4) to the surviving spouse and one-fourth (1/4) equally to the parents or all to the only surviving parent.
  • Survived by a parent or parents and no spouse or descendants: In this case, the deceased person's mother and father will inherit the estate in equal shares if both are living or the entire probate estate will go to the only surviving parent.

Without Surviving Spouse or Close Relative

Here is what will happen under the Connecticut intestacy laws if the deceased person is not survived by a spouse, any descendants—children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren—or their parents:

  • Survived by brothers and/or sisters or descendants of deceased brothers and/or sisters: The deceased person's siblings and the descendants of deceased siblings—nieces and nephews—will inherit the entire of the probate estate, per stirpes.
  • Not survived by any family members: In the unlikely circumstance that the deceased person is not survived by any family members as described above, then the entire probate estate will escheat to the State of Connecticut.

What You Will Inherit From a Connecticut Intestate Estate

What will you inherit if your relative dies without leaving a will and the relative was a resident of Connecticut or owned real estate located in Connecticut? Even if you determine based on the information presented above that you are entitled to an intestate share of your relative's estate, you may not inherit anything. Why? Because your relative may have left the only non-probate property or the debts your relative owed at the time of death may exceed the value of the probate estate which will make the estate insolvent.

If you're not sure about your legal rights as an intestate heir in Connecticut, then consult with a Connecticut probate attorney to be sure.

The information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently, and the information in this article may not reflect your own state’s laws or the most recent changes to the law. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney.