CHAPTER 802b
DECEDENTS' ESTATES

Table of Contents

Sec. 45a-273. (Formerly Sec. 45-266). Settlement of small estates without probate of will or letters of administration.
Sec. 45a-274. (Formerly Sec. 45-266a). Payment of medical or health benefits.
Sec. 45a-287. (Formerly Sec. 45-170). Will of nonresident testator proved in this state. Application. Governing law. Tax. Determination of domicile. Costs for settlement of estate.
Sec. 45a-303. (Formerly Sec. 45-195). Jurisdiction of intestate estates. Probate costs. Issuance of letters of administration.
Sec. 45a-316. (Formerly Sec. 45-249c). Appointment of temporary administrator.
Sec. 45a-317. (Formerly Sec. 45-249d). Powers and duties of temporary appointee. Removal. Account.

PART I
SETTLEMENT OF CERTAIN SMALL ESTATES
WITHOUT LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION
OR PROBATE OF WILL

      Sec. 45a-273. (Formerly Sec. 45-266). Settlement of small estates without probate of will or letters of administration. (a) The surviving spouse of any person who dies, or if there is no surviving spouse, any of the next of kin of such decedent, or if there is no next of kin or if such surviving spouse or next of kin refuses, then any suitable person whom the court deems to have a sufficient interest may, in lieu of filing an application for admission of a will to probate or letters of administration, file an affidavit or statement signed under penalty of false statement in the court of probate in the district in which the decedent resided, stating, if such is the case, that all debts of the decedent have been paid in the manner prescribed by section 45a-365, at least to the extent of the fair value of all of the decedent's assets, when (1) such decedent leaves property of the type described in subsection (b) of this section, and (2) the aggregate value of any such property as described in subsection (b) of this section does not exceed the sum of forty thousand dollars. In addition, such affidavit or statement shall state that the decedent either did, or did not, receive aid or care from the state, which shall also include aid or care from the Department of Veterans' Affairs, whichever is true.

      (b) Such property includes: (1) A deposit in any bank; (2) equity in shares in any savings and loan association, federal savings and loan association or credit union, doing business in this state; (3) corporate stock or bonds; (4) any unpaid wages due from any corporation, firm, individual, association or partnership located in this state; (5) a death benefit payable from any fraternal order or shop society or payable under any insurance policy for which the decedent failed to name a beneficiary entitled under the bylaws and regulations of such order or society or under the terms of such insurance policy to receive such death benefit; (6) other personal property, tangible or intangible, including a motor vehicle or motor vehicles and a motor boat or motor boats registered in his name; or (7) an unreleased interest in a mortgage with or without value.

      (c) Thereafter, except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, the judge of probate for such district shall issue a decree finding that no probate proceedings have been instituted in connection with the estate of such decedent and authorizing either the holder of such property or the registrant thereof, including the authority issuing the registration, to transfer the same or pay the amount thereof to the persons legally entitled thereto. The court of probate may issue such certificates and other documents as may be necessary to carry out the intent of this section. If the petitioner indicates in such affidavit that the assets listed in such affidavit or a portion thereof are necessary to pay the funeral director who buried such decedent or to pay debts due for the last sickness of the decedent, the court may order the payment of such assets directly to such funeral director or to those creditors to whom debts are due for the last sickness of the decedent to the extent necessary to pay their preferred claims for funeral expenses or expenses for the decedent's last sickness, or may order such assets sold and the proceeds from such sale paid directly to the funeral director or such creditors. If the petitioner indicates in such affidavit that the decedent received public assistance or institutional care from the state of Connecticut, the court shall not issue a decree until thirty days after notification to the Department of Administrative Services. Any decree issued by the court may authorize the surviving spouse or next of kin, or some suitable person whom the court deems to have a sufficient interest, to release an interest in any mortgage reported under the provisions of this section.

      (d) If there is no surviving spouse or next of kin of a person who dies leaving property as described in this section, the funeral director who buried such decedent or any creditor to whom a debt is due for the last sickness of the decedent may file in such court of probate an affidavit as described in this section that such funeral director or any creditor to whom a debt is due for the last sickness of the decedent has a lawful preferred claim for funeral expenses or expenses for the decedent's last sickness. Thereupon such court may, in its discretion, authorize either the holder of such property or the registrant thereof, as aforesaid, to transfer the property or pay from the property the amount of such claim, or to pay proceeds from the sale of any such assets ordered sold by the court, to such funeral director or any creditor to whom a debt is due for the last sickness of the decedent, in satisfaction of the amount of the claim of each.

      (e) If an affidavit is filed under subsection (a) of this section in lieu of an application for admission of a will to probate or letters of administration and the fair value of the property of the decedent exceeds the total amount of claims, including any amounts allowed to the family under section 45a-320, the court shall proceed as follows: (1) If no purported last will and testament is found, the court shall order distribution of the excess in accordance with the laws of intestate succession; (2) if the decedent left a duly executed last will and testament and the will provides for a distribution which is the same as that under the laws of intestate succession, the court shall order distribution of the excess in accordance with the laws of intestate succession; (3) if the decedent left a duly executed last will and testament and the will provides for a distribution different from that under the laws of intestate succession, and the heirs at law of such decedent sign a written waiver of their right to contest the will, the court shall order the excess to be paid in accordance with the terms of the will; (4) if the will directs a distribution different from the laws of intestate succession, and the heirs at law do not waive their right to contest the admission of such will, the will shall be offered for probate in accordance with section 45a-286. In such case, the court may issue a decree under this section only if the persons entitled to take the bequests under the will consent, in writing, to the distribution of the bequests in accordance with the laws of intestate succession. If the claims against the estate exceed the value of the property of such decedent, the claims shall be paid in accordance with the priorities set forth in section 45a-365. As used in this subsection, the term "will" includes any duly executed codicil thereto.

      (f) Any such transfer or payment shall, to the extent of the amount so transferred or paid, discharge the registrant or holder of such property from liability to any person on account thereof.

      (g) As a condition of such transfer or payment, the registrant or holder may require the filing of appropriate waivers, the execution of a bond of indemnity and a receipt for such transfer or payment.

      (h) The authority issuing the transfer of registration shall charge a fee of three dollars for the transfer of each motor vehicle and a fee of one dollar for the transfer of each motor boat under this section.

      (i) Any transfer or payment under the provisions of this section shall be exempt from taxation under the provisions of chapter 219.

      (j) (1) Any person to whom such transfer or payment has been made shall be liable for the value thereof to the Commissioner of Revenue Services for any succession or transfer tax on the property transferred or payment made and to the executor or administrator of the estate of the decedent thereafter appointed.

      (2) The Commissioner of Revenue Services shall be given notice by the court of probate of the issuance of any such decree upon such form as may be provided by said commissioner unless such surviving spouse or next of kin, or other suitable person whom the court deems to have a sufficient interest, files with the court of probate a sworn return provided for by chapter 216, in which event the judge of probate may incorporate in the decree a statement that the Commissioner of Revenue Services has issued a finding that no succession or transfer tax is due, or that any such tax computed by him as due has been paid. Such statement shall be conclusive evidence of the consent by the Commissioner of Revenue Services to the transfer or payment of such property as provided in this section free from any claim for such tax, notwithstanding any provision in chapter 216 to the contrary.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7049; 1953, 1955, S. 2945d; 1967, P.A. 558, S. 53; P.A. 73-464, S. 1; P.A. 77-614, S. 139, 610; P.A. 78-121, S. 77, 113; P.A. 79-193, S. 1; P.A. 80-476, S. 227; P.A. 81-82, S. 1; P.A. 86-196; P.A. 88-107, S. 1; 88-285, S. 32, 35; P.A. 89-56, S. 2; P.A. 99-84, S. 18; P.A. 07-32, S. 1; P.A. 11-128, S. 4, 5.)

      History: 1967 act rephrased provisions, added references to death benefits payable under terms of insurance policies and to intangible personal property and increased maximum amount authorized for payment of claims of funeral director or physician from $500 to $1,000; P.A. 73-464 applied provisions to corporate stock or bonds and tangible personal property, including motor vehicles and motor boats, raised maximum value of estate with respect to which provisions apply from $1,000 to $5,000, inserted new procedure whereby court orders transfer of property, rather than the holder of property without court action, as previously was the case, removed limit on payment of physician's and funeral director's claims and rephrased provisions re pro rata payments to each, added provisions re transfer fees applied to motor vehicles and motorboats, re tax exemption, re discharge of liability and re tax commissioner's duties and rights with regard to transfers; P.A. 77-614 replaced tax commissioner with commissioner of revenue services, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 78-121 referred to saving and loan associations rather than to "building or" savings and loan associations; P.A. 79-193 applied provisions to unreleased interests in mortgages and stated that court decree may authorize surviving spouse or next of kin to release interest in mortgage; P.A. 80-476 divided section into Subsecs., rephrased and reordered provisions but made no substantive changes; P.A. 81-82 amended Subsec. (a) to provide for filing of affidavit when there is no next of kin or next of kin refuses to file, to change maximum value of applicable estate in Subdiv. (2) from $5,000 to $10,000 and to require that affidavit state whether decedent received aid or care from the state, amended Subsec. (c) to allow court to order director payment of funeral director and physician and to require postponement of decree until 30 days after notification of administrative services department when decedent has received public assistance or institutional care and amended Subsec. (e) to require payment of claims in accordance with priorities in Sec. 45-204c if claims exceed value of decedent's property, replacing provision whereby claimants received pro rata share in such cases, and to require payment to those legally entitled of any excess when value of property exceeds amount of claims; P.A. 86-196 increased maximum value of estate eligible for settlement without probate of will or letters of administration from $10,000 to $20,000 and provided for payment to any creditor to whom debt is due for last sickness of decedent rather than to attending "physician" during last illness; P.A. 88-107 amended Subsec. (c) by adding exception for provisions of Subsec. (e), permitting probate court to issue certification and other documents necessary to carry out intent of section and permitting court to order assets sold and proceeds paid directly to funeral director or creditors and amended Subsec. (e) by adding provisions re distribution of property of decedent; P.A. 88-285 amended Subsec. (a) to replace veterans' home and hospital commission with department of veterans' affairs; P.A. 89-56 amended Subsec. (e) to condition its provisions in part on the filing of an affidavit in lieu of application for admission of a will to probate or letters of administration rather than on filing of an application; Sec. 45-266 transferred to Sec. 45a-273 in 1991; P.A. 99-84 amended Subsec. (a) by inserting "or statement signed under penalty of false statement"; P.A. 07-32 amended Subsec. (a) to make a technical change, and in Subdiv. (2), substitute $40,000 for $20,000 re aggregate value of property; P.A. 11-128 amended Subsecs. (a) and (e) to substitute reference to Sec. 45a-365 for reference to Sec. 45a-392, effective July 1, 2011.

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      Sec. 45a-274. (Formerly Sec. 45-266a). Payment of medical or health benefits. When any decedent is entitled to payment of medical benefits, federal or state, or insurance or health benefits or proceeds, or other intangible personal property owned by or payable to the decedent or to the decedent's estate in a sum not exceeding one thousand dollars, the judge of probate for the district within which such decedent resided may name an administrator, ex parte, for the purpose of enabling distribution to the surviving spouse or, if there is no surviving spouse, to the next of kin of such decedent or to the funeral director or physician, as the case may be, upon evidence satisfactory to him that all debts have been paid or provided for as prescribed by section 45a-365.

      (1967, P.A. 558, S. 54; P.A. 80-476, S. 228; P.A. 11-128, S. 6.)

      History: P.A. 80-476 rephrased provisions but made no substantive changes; Sec. 45-266a transferred to Sec. 45a-274 in 1991; P.A. 11-128 substituted reference to Sec. 45a-365 for reference to Sec. 45a-392 and made technical changes, effective July 1, 2011.

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PART II
PROBATE OF WILL

      Sec. 45a-287. (Formerly Sec. 45-170). Will of nonresident testator proved in this state. Application. Governing law. Tax. Determination of domicile. Costs for settlement of estate. (a) If the testator, at his death, was not domiciled in this state, his will may be proved in any district in this state in which: (1) The testator last resided; (2) any of the testator's real or tangible personal property is situated; (3) any of the testator's bank accounts are maintained or evidences of other intangible property of the testator are situated; (4) any one of the executors or trustees named in the will resides, or, in the case of a bank or trust company, has an office; or (5) any cause of action in favor of the testator arose or any debtor of the testator resides or has an office. If the will of any such testator may be proved in more than one district, the court which first assumes jurisdiction thereof pursuant to this section shall retain the same as to all the property of the testator situated in this state at the time of his death together with any property which subsequently comes into possession of any of the executors, trustees or other fiduciaries of the testator's estate appointed in this state.

      (b) Any proceeding for the proving of a will of a testator pursuant to this section shall be commenced by an application of any person who is named as an executor of such will or by any other person who is interested in such estate. The application shall set forth a statement of the basis for jurisdiction by the court of probate of the district in which such application is filed. The court shall give notice of the hearing on such application to the Commissioner of Revenue Services, to any person named as an executor or trustee in such will, to the heirs at law of the testator, as determined by the laws of this state, and to such other persons as the court may order. Any will which has been denied probate or establishment by judgment or decree of a competent court in the testator's domicile may not be proved in this state except where such denial of probate or establishment is for a cause which is not grounds for rejection of a will of a testator domiciled in this state. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the laws of this state relating to proof and admission of wills to probate for domiciliary testators shall apply to proceedings under this section.

      (c) Whenever a testator of a will which is proved in this state pursuant to this section expressly provided in his will that he elects to have the administration and disposition of his estate governed by the laws of this state, then the validity, effect and interpretation of such will, and the administration and disposition of such estate, wherever situated, including rights of creditors and rights of inheritance, shall be determined by the laws of this state in the same manner as if such testator had been domiciled in this state at the time of his death, except as otherwise provided in this section. The rights of persons who are creditors of the testator or of his estate or who may possess or claim rights of inheritance to or elections against the testator's estate pursuant to the laws of the jurisdiction in which the testator was domiciled at the time of his death shall be governed by and subject to the laws of such jurisdiction as to any real or tangible property situated in such jurisdiction or as to any bank accounts which are maintained or other intangible property of the testator the evidences of which are situated in such jurisdiction at the time of the testator's death. Any proceeding pursuant to this subsection shall not be deemed to impair or otherwise adversely affect the claim of any other state or any possession of the United States, for inheritance, succession, estate or other death taxes which may be due and payable by reason of the testator's death.

      (d) All property of a testator whose will is proved under this section shall be subject to the laws of this state relating to the taxation of inheritances and successions, except that such laws shall not be applied on the basis that the testator was a domiciliary of this state unless there is a finding that such person was domiciled in this state as provided in section 45a-309. Costs of the court of probate under section 45a-105, for proceedings in the settlement of the estate of a nondomiciliary testator whose will is proved under this section, shall be determined on the basis of an assumed gross taxable value equal to the sum of (1) the actual gross taxable estate determined under section 12-349 and (2) the value set forth in the inventory of such estate under section 45a-341 of all property therein which is not part of the actual gross taxable estate, excluding any insurance proceeds exempt from taxation under section 12-342.

      (e) In proceedings in the settlement of estates under this section, for the purpose of computing the costs of the court of probate under section 45a-107, the testator shall be deemed to have been domiciled in this state, unless the court of probate determines that the proceedings in this state are ancillary to proceedings in the state of the testator's domicile.

      (1949 Rev., S. 6964; P.A. 80-410, S. 4; 80-476, S. 245; P.A. 86-144, S. 1; P.A. 11-128, S. 16.)

      History: P.A. 80-410 expanded provisions to allow proving of will in any district where testator last resided, where testator's bank accounts are maintained or evidence of other intangible property is situated, where executor or trustee resides or has office or where a cause of action in testator's favor arose or debtor of testator resides or has an office and added Subsecs. (b) to (d); P.A. 80-476 had no effect, P.A. 80-410 taking precedence; P.A. 86-144 amended Subsec. (d) by adding provision re probate costs for proceedings in settlement of estate of nondomiciliary testator; Sec. 45-170 transferred to Sec. 45a-287 in 1991; P.A. 11-128 made technical changes in Subsec. (d) and added Subsec. (e) re testator deemed domiciled in this state for purpose of computing costs under Sec. 45a-107, unless court determines proceedings in this state are ancillary, effective July 8, 2011.

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PART III
GRANT OF ADMINISTRATION OF INTESTATE ESTATES

      Sec. 45a-303. (Formerly Sec. 45-195). Jurisdiction of intestate estates. Probate costs. Issuance of letters of administration. (a) Jurisdiction of intestate estates. Probate costs. (1) When any person domiciled in this state dies intestate, the court of probate in the district in which the deceased was domiciled at his death shall have jurisdiction to grant letters of administration.

      (2) When any person not domiciled in this state dies intestate, administration may be granted by the Court of Probate determined under the jurisdictional prerequisites provided in subsection (a) of section 45a-287 for nondomiciliary testators, and the provisions of subsection (e) of section 45a-287 regarding Probate Court costs applicable to testate estates shall apply also to intestate estates granted administration under this section.

      (b) Application, notice and hearing re letters of administration. Upon application for letters of administration to the court of probate having jurisdiction of the estate of an intestate decedent, the court shall, before granting letters of administration, after notice required by this section, hold a hearing. Notice of such hearing, either public notice, personal notice or both as the court deems best, shall be given to all persons interested in such estate, including the Commissioner of Revenue Services in the case of a nondomiciliary decedent, unless all persons so interested sign and file in court a written waiver of such notice, or unless the court, for cause shown, dispenses with such notice. The finding by the court that such estate is not more than sufficient to pay the expenses of administration, the funeral and last sickness shall be sufficient cause to dispense with such notice.

      (c) To whom letters of administration granted. (1) Upon hearing as required by this section, the court of probate having jurisdiction shall grant administration of the intestate decedent's estate to any one or more persons or their designees appointed in the following order, provided such person or persons are entitled to share in the estate of the decedent: (A) The surviving spouse, (B) any child of the decedent or any guardian of such child as the court shall determine, (C) any grandchild of the decedent or any guardian of such grandchild as the court shall determine, (D) the decedent's parents, (E) any brother or sister of the decedent, (F) the next of kin entitled to share in the estate, or, on their refusal, incapacity or failure to give bond or upon the objection of any heir or creditor to such appointment found reasonable by the court, to any other person whom the court deems proper.

      (2) If the intestate decedent lived out of the state leaving property within the state, the court of probate having jurisdiction shall, upon notice and hearing as required by this section, grant administration to such person as the court deems proper.

      (d) Bond required of administrator. The court, upon granting any administration, shall take a probate bond from the administrator or any successor administrator appointed by the Court of Probate.

      (1949 Rev., S. 6980; P.A. 80-410, S. 6; 80-476, S. 254; P.A. 81-472, S. 138, 159; P.A. 82-2, S. 2; P.A. 84-294, S. 10; P.A. 86-144, S. 2; P.A. 11-128, S. 17.)

      History: P.A. 80-410 reorganized provisions, dividing them into Subsecs., restating provisions and clearly distinguishing between persons domiciled in state at time of death and persons domiciled out of state; P.A. 80-476 made similar changes but where differing, P.A. 80-410 took precedence; P.A. 81-472 made technical changes; P.A. 82-2 amended Subsec. (c)(1) to provide the priority for granting administration of the intestate decedent's estate where previously administration was granted to "the decedent's spouse or next-of-kin or both"; P.A. 84-294 amended Subsec. (a) by changing "last dwelt" to "was domiciled at his death"; P.A. 86-144 amended Subsec. (a)(2) by adding provision re costs of probate applicable to intestate estates of nondomiciliary decedent; Sec. 45-195 transferred to Sec. 45a-303 in 1991; P.A. 11-128 amended Subsec. (a)(2) to substitute "subsection (e)" for "subsection (d)" re reference to Sec. 45a-287, effective July 8, 2011.

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PART V
SETTLEMENT OF DECEDENTS' ESTATES

      Sec. 45a-316. (Formerly Sec. 45-249c). Appointment of temporary administrator. (a) Whenever, upon the application of a creditor or other person interested in the estate of a deceased person, it is found by the court of probate having jurisdiction of the estate that the granting of administration on the estate or the probating of the will of the deceased will be delayed, or that it is necessary for the protection of the estate of the deceased, the court may, with or without notice, appoint a temporary administrator to hold and preserve the estate until the appointment of an administrator or the probating of the will. The court shall require from such administrator a probate bond. If the court deems it more expedient, it may order any state marshal or constable to take possession of the estate until the appointment of an administrator or executor.

      (b) Any person interested in the estate of a deceased person and having a need to obtain financial or medical information concerning the deceased person for the limited purpose of investigating a potential cause of action of the estate, surviving spouse, children, heirs or other dependents of the deceased person, or a potential claim for benefits under a workers' compensation act, an insurance policy or other benefits in favor of the estate, surviving spouse, children, heirs or other dependents of the deceased person, may apply to the court of probate having jurisdiction of the estate of the deceased person for the appointment of a temporary administrator. The court of probate may grant the application and appoint a temporary administrator for such limited purpose if the court finds that such appointment would be in the interests of the estate or in the interests of the surviving spouse, children, heirs or other dependents of the deceased person. If the court appoints a temporary administrator under this subsection, the court may require a probate bond or may waive such bond requirement. The court shall limit the authority of the temporary administrator to disclose the information obtained by the temporary administrator, as appropriate, and may issue an appropriate order for the disclosure of such information. Any order appointing a temporary administrator under this subsection, and any certificate of the appointment of a fiduciary issued by the clerk of the court, shall indicate (1) the duration of the temporary administrator's appointment, and (2) that such temporary administrator has no authority over the assets of the deceased person.

      (1949 Rev., S. 6982; P.A. 80-476, S. 295; P.A. 96-202, S. 5; P.A. 00-99, S. 85, 154; P.A. 11-128, S. 18.)

      History: P.A. 80-476 rephrased provisions; Sec. 45-197 transferred to Sec. 45-249c in 1981; Sec. 45-249c transferred to Sec. 45a-316 in 1991; P.A. 96-202 deleted references to "insolvent debtor", "appointment of a trustee in insolvency", "insolvent person" and "trustee"; P.A. 00-99 replaced reference to deputy sheriff with state marshal, effective December 1, 2000; P.A. 11-128 designated existing provisions as Subsec. (a) and added Subsec. (b) re appointment of temporary administrator to obtain financial or medical information re potential cause of action.

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      Sec. 45a-317. (Formerly Sec. 45-249d). Powers and duties of temporary appointee. Removal. Account. (a) The temporary administrator or officer appointed pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of section 45a-316 shall take immediate possession of all the real and personal property of the deceased, collect the rents, debts and income thereof and do any additional acts necessary for the preservation of the estate that the court authorizes.

      (b) Such administrator or officer may be authorized by the court to sell any personal property of the estate which is perishable in its nature or which the court finds cannot be retained to advantage, and may be further authorized to make up or complete any stock or materials in an unfinished state, and to continue any business, so far as may be necessary for the preservation of the same.

      (c) Such administrator may be authorized by the court to sell or mortgage any real property of the estate.

      (d) Such administrator or officer shall file forthwith an inventory signed under penalty of false statement of all personal property of the deceased and, when ordered to do so, shall exhibit to the court an account of his or her actions.

      (e) Such administrator or officer may be removed by the court with or without notice and a successor appointed whenever such action appears to the court advisable.

      (f) Upon the appointment and qualification of the administrator or the administrator with the will annexed or the qualification of the executor, such temporary administrator or such officer shall exhibit forthwith to the court an account of his or her trust and deliver to the administrator, executor or administrator with the will annexed all of the estate of the deceased remaining in his or her hands.

      (1949 Rev., S. 6983; P.A. 80-476, S. 296; P.A. 96-91, S. 2; P.A. 98-52, S. 14; P.A. 99-84, S. 19; P.A. 11-128, S. 19.)

      History: P.A. 80-476 divided section into Subsecs., rephrased and rearranged provisions and substituted personal and real "property" for personal and real "estate"; Sec. 45-198 transferred to Sec. 45-249d in 1981; Sec. 45-249d transferred to Sec. 45a-317 in 1991; P.A. 96-91 inserted new Subsec. (c) re authorization of temporary administrator to sell real property of the estate, relettering former Subsecs. (c) to (e) accordingly; P.A. 98-52 amended Subsec. (c) by authorizing the mortgage of real property; P.A. 99-84 amended Subsec. (d) by deleting "under oath" and inserting "signed under penalty of false statement"; P.A. 11-128 amended Subsec. (a) to add "subsection (a) of" re reference to Sec. 45a-316.

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