Most people feel strongly that they want to control who may access their assets and what happens to their assets while they are alive; they limit who may view bank accounts, write checks, make investment decisions, or other important financial decisions. After all that hard work acquiring and protecting assets while you’re alive what happens to your assets after your death?
When given the choice, most people prefer to leave their assets to the people they choose, and in custody of people they trust, rather than having Connecticut laws decide for them. An estate plan allows you to exercise that right to choose.
Estate planning gives you the opportunity to state who has access to your assets, who has the right to make decisions, and, ultimately, who receives your assets after your death. If you are a Connecticut resident and you don’t have an estate plan (Will and/or Revocable Trust) stating who gets what, Connecticut statutes provide a plan for you. This statutory plan varies based on your family dynamics and may or may not match your actual wishes. It will apply to anything you own that does not have a joint owner or a designated beneficiary. Your estate will be called an “intestate estate”.
|If you die survived by:||Then:|
|Spouse and children (from you and that same spouse)||Spouse inherits the first $100,000 plus ½ of the balance of your intestate property. Your children inherit the other ½|
|Spouse but no children or parents||Spouse inherits everything|
|Children but no spouse||Children inherit everything|
|Spouse and at least one child from you and someone other than your spouse||Spouse inherits ½ of your intestate property. Your children inherit the other ½|
|Spouse and parents (no children)||Spouse inherits the first $100,000 of your intestate property plus ¾ of the balance. Your parents inherit the other ¼|
|Parents but no spouse or children||Parents inherit everything|
|Siblings but no spouse, children or parents||Siblings inherit everything|
The outcome of this Connecticut statutory asset distribution may have a major impact, with unintended results, on your surviving spouse or loved ones.
We encourage you to assess how your loved ones would be impacted if you died intestate. If the Connecticut statutory laws were followed to distribute your assets, would that accomplish what you want? If you are interested in learning more about how to exercise your right to control who gets your assets using an estate plan, please contact our office. We would be glad to meet with you for a no hassle, no charge initial consultation, no matter how long it lasts.