As a Connecticut personal representative lawyer can tell you, it is a critical role to play when you are appointed as an executor, also known as a personal representative. Not every person is eligible to serve in the role of personal representative but when you have been named in a loved one’s will, this means you are undertaking a significant amount of responsibility and even liability. The Connecticut rules related to appointing a personal representative are found in C.G.S. § 45a-282 et seq.
Naming a personal representative is one of the most common and important reasons to make a will. The primary purpose of a Connecticut personal representative is to protect the property of the deceased until any taxes and debts have been paid after which point it gets transferred to those who are entitled to it.
Selecting a Personal Representative
In the state of Connecticut, per statutes 45(a)-290, you are free to name any adult that you trust as your personal representative and the court has to appoint that individual unless there is irrefutable evidence that they are incompetent and unwilling to serve. Choose someone who is experienced with keeping things organized and who is also honest.
Your Connecticut personal representative will be responsible for interacting with your beneficiaries as well so it’s even better if they can be an impartial third party who is a great communicator. Although Connecticut has no strict requirements about who is eligible to serve as a personal representative, probate courts in Connecticut can reject potential executors who are found to be incompetent. In the event that this happens the court must hold a formal hearing in front of all interested persons, including creditors, heirs, your spouse, and other potential personal representatives.
At this hearing a judge will evaluate all of the factors in front of them to determine who is best suited to serve as personal representative and to terminate any existing appointments that are found to be improper.
Role of a Connecticut Personal Representative
As a Connecticut personal representative lawyer can tell you, the executor’s task begins promptly after the papers have been filed in court along with the death certificate. This formally opens probate, the process through which the deceased’s affairs are managed.
Probate is important for closing out any open creditor claims and passing on assets to beneficiaries after this process has been concluded. This typically starts with a Connecticut personal representative gathering evidence of all inventory owned by the probate estate. Not all assets owned by an individual will necessarily have to go through probate in Connecticut but the vast majority of their personal belongings will. Exceptions to what goes through probate include things, such as funds from life insurance policies, funds in brokerage retirement accounts, or those funds in bank accounts that are classified as transfer on death or payable on death. For more information about assets that are not part of a decedent’s probate estate, contact an personal representative attorney in Connecticut.
Outside of this and property inside the trusts, the Connecticut personal representative needs to gather all of this information and document it in an inventory. At this point creditors must be notified about the opening of the estate so that they have the opportunity to come forward and lay claim to items inside the estate.
The probate executor then moves things through the process of paying out debts and responsibilities to ensure that the proper priority order is handled. Following this point in time, once all taxes and debts have been paid, then the personal representative must be prepared to pass on these assets to estate beneficiaries.
This means being ethical, understanding their responsibility and liability associated with this role and keeping excellent detailed records so as to minimize these exposures to unnecessary risk. Unfortunately, family relationships can fall apart during probate and this all too often turns their area of focus onto the Connecticut personal representative. Hiring a personal representative attorney serving Connecticut at the outset of being appointed to probate can minimize possible conflicts affecting you.