Attorney Kate Cavanaugh-Forte
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Do I need a will?

The short answer is no. If you die without a will in Connecticut it’s called an intestate estate and it goes like this:

If you die with: here’s what happens:
children but no spouse children inherit everything
spouse but no descendants or parents spouse inherits everything
spouse and descendants from you and that spouse spouse inherits the first $100,000 of your intestate property, plus 1/2 of the balance

your descendants inherit everything else

spouse and at least one descendant from you and someone other than that spouse spouse inherits 1/2 of your intestate property

descendants inherit everything else

spouse and parents spouse inherits the first $100,000 of your intestate property, plus 3/4 of the balance

parents inherit remaining intestate property

parents but no spouse or descendants parents inherit everything
siblings but no spouse, descendants, or parents siblings inherit everything

So, if you fall into the situations above and the people you want to get your stuff end up getting then you’re good. Except- the number one reason I tell everyone to have a will, when you have children or loved ones who cannot handle receiving a large amount of money and property.

If you have children, go and get a will today. Do not wait. If you do not have a will you have no voice in what happens to your kids as far as where they live, who becomes their guardian, when they can get their hands on the money you left for them. (by law, if you have no will, the kids get the money as soon as they turn 18, it is put into a trust if they are under 18). The probate court would hold a hearing and your relatives would petition to become the kids guardian and the trustee of the trust created on their behalf. I don’t know about your specific family, but I do know that death is tragic, it affects people in some really horrible ways and the people you think would step up and handle things for you may be the first ones to bail. In the days, weeks and months that follow your death, your kids lives will be turned upside down. Who wants that.

If you die with without a will: If you die with a will:
The probate court has final say on children’s guardian, they will listen to family-but who has the loudest voice may not be the best guardian You name your child’s guardian and an alternate in case your first choice isn’t capable
A trust is set up for you children but they inherit everything at 18 You get to decide what age your child can access the money, and under what conditions-if they’re employed, in school, getting good grades, etc
The probate court names a trustee,   again, the family is consulted-but has the loudest voice may not be the best trustee You name the trustee and an alternate in case your first choice isn’t capable
You cannot give specific gifts-like jewelry, to specific people You can leave your engagement ring to your daughter and a grandad’s watch to your son. You can give a favorite niece your pearls


The bottom line is-you don’t need a will but the peace of mind you get from knowing you have taken care of your family-that you do need.

Give me a call and we can get it done. Quick and painless-I promise.

About the Author Kate Forte

Kate's a practicing Attorney for over 20 years. She is a pet rescuer and a strong supporter of pets Rights. Kate expertise is Real Estate, Probate, Estate Planning, Personal Injury, and Business contracts. Kate is happy to discuss any legal or pet matter you may have and if she cannot help; she is more than happy to point you in the right direction. Kate Forte 17 Good Hill Rd Woodbury Ct 06798 Office 203-598-8847 Fax 203-841-1116

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