Connecticut Last Will and Testament Law

Wills and Estates – Last Will and Testament Law – Connecticut

Note:    This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of the law of Wills in Connecticut but does contain basic and other information.  Hand-written wills or wills where the testator cannot sign his or her name are not included in this discussion.

Who may make a will: Any person eighteen years of age or older, and of sound mind, may dispose of his estate by will.  45a-250.

Making and execution of wills. Wills executed outside the state: A will or codicil shall not be valid to pass any property unless it is in writing, subscribed by the testator and attested by two witnesses, each of them subscribing in the testator’s presence; but any will executed according to the laws of the state or country where it was executed may be admitted to probate in this state and shall be effectual to pass any property of the testator situated in this state.  45a-251.

Revocation of will: A will or codicil shall not be revoked in any other manner except by burning, cancelling, tearing or obliterating it by the testator or by some person in the testator’s presence by the testator’s direction, or by a later will or codicil. 45a-257.

Custodian of will to deliver it after testator’s death. Penalty:

(a) Any person having in his possession any will or codicil shall, forthwith, after he has knowledge of the death of the testator, deliver such will either to the person designated to be the executor or one of the persons designated to be an executor thereof, or to the judge, clerk or assistant clerk of the court of probate which by law has jurisdiction of the estate of such deceased person.
(b) On the neglect of such person to do so within the period of thirty days after he has knowledge of the death of the testator, he shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year or both.  45a-282.

Opening of safe deposit boxes to search for a will: Whenever the sole owner of a safe deposit box dies, his next of kin, spouse, or any person showing a sufficient interest in the presence of a will may apply to the Court of Probate for an order to open the decedent’s safe deposit box to obtain any will or cemetery deed that may be contained therein. The Court of Probate may issue such order ex parte. The safe deposit box shall be opened in the presence of an officer of the bank who shall make return of such order to the court stating: (1) That only the will or cemetery deed was removed from the safe deposit box or (2) that there was no such will or cemetery deed in the safe deposit box and nothing was removed.  45a-284.

Proof of will out of court: Any or all of the attesting witnesses to any will may, at the request of the testator or, after his decease, at the request of the executor or any person interested under it, make and sign an affidavit before any officer authorized to administer oaths in or out of this state, stating such facts as they would be required to testify to in court to prove such will. The affidavit shall be written on such will or, if that is impracticable, on some paper attached thereto. The sworn statement of any such witness so taken shall be accepted by the Court of Probate as if it had been taken before such court.  45a-285.

Hearing required before proving or rejecting a will. Notice: Any court of probate shall, before proving or disapproving any last will and testament, or codicil thereto, hold a hearing thereon, of which notice, either public or personal or both, as the court may deem best, has been given to all parties known to be interested in the estate, unless all parties 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 any such court that the estate is not more than sufficient to pay the expenses of administration and of the funeral and last sickness shall be sufficient cause to dispense with such notice. Sec. 45a-286.

Marriage of testator terminated after execution of will: If, after executing a will, the testator’s marriage is terminated by dissolution, divorce or annulment, the dissolution, divorce or annulment shall revoke any disposition or appointment of property made by the will to the former spouse, any provision conferring a general or special power of appointment on the former spouse, and any nomination of the former spouse as executor, trustee, conservator, guardian or other fiduciary, unless the will expressly provides otherwise. Property prevented from passing to a former spouse due to revocation by dissolution, divorce or annulment shall pass as if the former spouse failed to survive the testator, and other provisions conferring power or office on the former spouse shall be interpreted as if the spouse failed to survive the testator. If provisions of the will of the testator are revoked solely by this section, such provisions shall be revived by the testator’s remarriage to the former spouse. A decree of separation which does not terminate the status of husband and wife is not a dissolution or divorce for the purposes of this section.  Sec. 45a-257c.

Devise or bequest to subscribing witness: Every devise or bequest given in any will or codicil to a subscribing witness, or to the husband or wife of such subscribing witness, shall be void unless such will or codicil is legally attested without the signature of such witness, or unless such devisee or legatee is an heir to the testator. The competency of such witness shall not be affected by any such devise or bequest. The interest of any witness in any community, church, society, association or corporation, beneficially interested in any devise or bequest, shall not affect such devise or bequest or the competency of such witness.  Sec. 45a-258.

Inside Connecticut Last Will and Testament Law