How to Avoid Probate in CT
When creating an estate plan, there are proactive steps individuals can take so beneficiaries can avoid probate. Probate is the legal proceeding to determine if proper documentation (such as a will) on how and to whom assets are distributed.
This process can be costly and can last for several months or more than a year. When considering the best estate plan for their family, many will take preventative steps to avoid probate.
1. Create a Living Trust
A living trust is one of the most common ways probate can be avoided in Connecticut. This is established when the assets of the trust's creator (known as the settlor) are put into a trust and then the settlor legally gives up their ownership of those assets.
Instead, a trustee is named and manages the trust until the settlor's death. An additional responsibility of the trustee is to distribute assets to beneficiaries according to the settlor’s wishes.
Because the settlor does not have legal ownership of their assets at the time of their passing, a court proceeding is not needed to determine how the assets should be distributed. In addition to avoiding probate, should the settlor become incapacitated prior to their passing, the trustee has the authority to manage the assets if needed.
2. List Assets Under Joint Ownership
If assets or property are listed under joint ownership, the ownership will be transferred to the living individual upon one person's passing.
3. Transfer-on-Death Registrations
This type of property transfer is a form that must be completed prior to an individual’s passing if they want to keep their assets out of probate.
The types of assets that can be transferred upon death include:
- And vehicles
Real estate is not allowed to be listed as a transfer-on-death in the state of Connecticut.