Estate planning can be a scary prospect. It involves contemplating our death and assigns loved ones physical items and assets we own. However, to die without a will may mean your assets go to certain people who you didn't intend. To learn more, read the Understanding Intestacy article about intestate succession or how assets are distributed when a person has no valid will.
The following table details the main will laws in Connecticut.
||Connecticut General Statutes Chapter 802a – Wills: Execution and Construction
|Age of Testator
||Anyone who is at least 18 years old and “of sound mind” can create a will. The person creating a will is called the “testator.”
|Requirements of Valid Will
||To have a valid will in Connecticut, it must:
- Be in writing
- Signed by the testator
- Signed by two witnesses, each of them signing the will in the testator’s presence
|Revocation of Wills
||Wills can be revoked in one of the following ways:
- Burning, cancelling, tearing, or obliterating the will by the testator or someone else in the testator’s presence and at his or her direction.
- By creating a subsequent will (which often says all former wills are revoked)
- Divorcing revokes gifts in a will to the former spouse, however legal separation where you are still considered spouses does not.
||Oral or nuncupative wills are invalid if executed in Connecticut. That means, you can’t just verbally tell folks how you want your property to pass, even in an emergency situation as you can in some states. For example, in New York, an oral will is valid if made by a service member in armed conflict.
||A handwritten or holographic will isn’t valid in Connecticut. Technically, a handwritten will can still meet the requirements of having two witnesses and the testator’s signatures (properly executed) and be a valid will. However, the handwritten will that’s signed by the testator alone is not enough to be valid in Connecticut, although it is in other states, such as Texas.
|Validity of Out-of-State Wills
||A will that follows the Connecticut will laws can be probated in the state. In addition, if the will is found valid in the state it was created then it can be “probated” or allowed in probate court to pass any property in Connecticut to the beneficiaries as the testator requested.
For example, let’s say you drafted a valid handwritten will in Texas while you resided there. Then you moved to Connecticut. The Connecticut probate courts would still allow your property to pass as stated in your will, even if your will wouldn’t be valid if created in Connecticut.
You have many options when it comes to drafting a will. Some senior centers, veterans’ affairs offices, law schools, and other community organizations have will clinics where a lawyer, paralegal, or law student helps you draft your own will. However, if you have any significant assets, it’s best to consult with an experienced Connecticut estate planning lawyer. A lawyer can go over your options, including creating a trust and other end-of-life planning documents.
Note: State laws are updated often, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these laws.
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