Introduction to Estate Administration
The administration of an estate involves, at its most basic level, the
distribution of an individual’s probate assets remaining after all final debts, taxes and
expenses have been paid. If the decedent’s wishes were recorded in a properly
executed will, then the decedent is known as a “testator,” and the executor must
ensure that the provisions of the testator’s will are closely followed. If the descendent
did not leave a will, the state laws of intestacy would govern the distribution of the
estate. In the case of intestacy, the probate court would appoint an administrator of
the intestate estate, who would have responsibilities very similar to those of an
executor. In either case, the probate court would oversee the administration process.
The following sections summarize the typical estate administration process for
a decedent with a will, with particular emphasis on the laws of Connecticut.
Within thirty days of a testator’s death, the will, together with any codicils to
the will, must be brought to the probate court in the testator’s home district. In order
to be recognized by the court as a legally enforceable document, the will must be
probated, or proven as valid.
A Probate Application is filed with the will. The application requests the court
to accept the will and officially appoint the executor, the individual named in the will
to carry out the provisions of the will, as the fiduciary of the estate. The application
includes the names and addresses of all the decedent’s heirs (those individuals to
whom the estate would be administered according to the laws of intestacy) and
beneficiaries (those individuals and entities to whom the estate assets are bequeathed
according to the provisions of the will). If there is no contention among the heirs and
beneficiaries, the court may enter a decree without a formal he