Newsflash! PROBATE COURTS JUST GOT A NEW WAY TO ENFORCE COLLECTION OF THEIR FEES!

As mentioned in previous articles we posted here, avoiding the probate process using joint ownership or naming a beneficiary for an account does not avoid probate court fees. The probate fee is calculated on the gross taxable estate, which includes the deceased person’s interest in joint and non-probate property. Whenever the decedent owns an interest in Connecticut real estate immediately prior to his/her death, State law now gives the probate court an invisible lien for the court fees owed, which may only be released by the court after payment or provision for payment (such as an attorney holding back sufficient funds from proceeds of sale of the real estate to pay the court at the closing).

The release of probate fee lien should be recorded on the land records of the town in which any property is located, so that there will be no problems if the property is being sold, or is transferring to the sole name of the remaining joint tenant. The probate fee is due within 30 days from the sixth-month anniversary of the date of death of the decedent, and carries interest at a rate of six (6) per cent per year, in cases where assets are passing to someone other than the decedent’s spouse. The interest charge may be avoided if a timely extension is filed before the six-month deadline.

For estates valued in excess of Two Million dollars, the probate fee percentage rate increased effective for persons dying on or after 1/1/2015. Also, there is no longer a cap on Connecticut probate fees, so these may be significant costs for large estates.

If you have questions about this or any other topics related to Connecticut estate and probate law, please contact our law firm.

-D. Jeanne Messick

Disclaimer: While this blog provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with an attorney, please call one of our lawyers at (860) 316-2741. The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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