The Probate Process in Connecticut

The death of a loved one is a difficult experience for anyone to navigate. It’s also a process that can become significantly more stressful and painful in the event of a family legal dispute. Without clear consensus regarding the wishes of the deceased, surviving family members may be compelled to deal with thorny legal matters — a situation that can strain relationships even under the best of circumstances.
Few people enjoy thinking about dealing with the loss of a loved one or leaving loved ones behind. Yet smart planning is critically important if you want to ensure that friends, family members and dependents are taken care of.
Probate cases are among the most complex and time-consuming in the legal field. Connecticut laws governing administration and distribution of estates are often complicated and can vary by jurisdiction. Additionally, those who have been appointed as an executor, or designated as an administrator, may find themselves struggling to keep pace with the extensive requirements of the job. Balancing one’s normal life with a whole range of new legal responsibilities — all occurring during a time of great sadness — can quickly become overwhelming. Seeking help from an experienced probate attorney like Paul Ganim can help relieve this burden.

Helping you Navigate Probate and Estate Administration

Attorney Paul Ganim has been serving estate administrators and executors in Connecticut for nearly 25 years. He is also an elected Probate Judge in Bridgeport, a position he has held since 1998. (Due to his appointment, Paul Ganim cannot represent probate clients in Bridgeport; however, he does represent families in all other probate courts in the state, including those in Fairfield, New Haven, Stamford, Norwalk, Trumbull, Westport, Easton, Monroe, Wilton and Redding. If you need a probate attorney in Bridgeport, we can refer you to competent counsel.)
As your legal counsel, we will help you at each stage of the probate process. If you are an estate executor, we will help you understand your fiduciary duties. If you are a beneficiary, we can help you understand your inheritance rights.
As your legal counsel, we will help you at each stage of the probate process. If you are an estate executor, we will help you understand your fiduciary duties. If you are a beneficiary, we can help you understand your inheritance rights.
We also offer a range of additional probate and estate services that include:

Estate Administration

Including management of estate affairs, notification of beneficiaries, paying creditors and paying estate taxes.

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Probate Litigation

Including claims against the estate, breach of fiduciary duty, will contests and trust litigation.

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Estate Planning

Including the drafting and review of wills, trusts and conservatorships.

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Ten Reasons You Need a Probate Lawyer

  1. A probate attorney can help you draft your will. While you might be tempted to use a DIY will, it makes more sense to have your Last Will and Testament drafted by a professional, like Paul Ganim. That’s the best way to ensure that it does what you need, while reducing the chance that a court will declare your document invalid when you pass away.
  2. Lawyers can help to minimize family conflict. . Probate can be a time of great conflict in families, especially when the terms of a will are less favorable than some heirs might wish. Paul Ganim can help to reduce these tensions and facilitate a smoother probate process for everyone involved in the settling of the estate.
  3. A Lawyer can help to protect the estate against legal claim. Legal claims against estates occur more frequently than many people realize. From creditor claims to will contests, the probate process can be a magnet for those seeking to gain advantage from the death of a testator. When you hire Paul Ganim, you can gain the protection you need to ensure that the decedent’s wishes are properly respected.
  4. Lawyers can sometimes expedite probate. The probate process can sometimes get bogged down in details, especially when the estate settlement is being managed by an inexperienced executor with little financial or legal knowledge. While attorneys don’t have any magic formula that can suddenly bring probate to a conclusion, they can be an invaluable aid for reducing the impact of all the many obstacles that may present themselves during the process.
  5. Lawyers can help answer your probate questions. Whether you’re an executor or an heir with an interest in the process, Paul Ganim can help to get your questions answered. The fact is that probate can be a confusing time for everyone involved, and that confusion is magnified by the raw emotion that the death of a loved one always evokes. Paul Ganim can help to ensure that you understand the process and know what to expect.
  6. An attorney can help with court filings and technical details. Executors have many different responsibilities to fulfill, and many of those duties include important court filings that facilitate different aspects of the process. While you can draft those documents yourself, the stress of just losing a loved one might make that task something you’d prefer to avoid. Paul Ganim can also help to ensure that you understand some of the finer technical points during probate, so that you don’t make needless mistakes.
  7. Attorneys help to ensure that debts are properly paid. Executors sometimes struggle with the debt settlement part of the probate process and may even cause unnecessary delays by being overly cautious. That’s understandable, since no executor wants to release inheritances only to see creditors come in later with unsettled debts that need to be addressed. There are specific timelines for these processes, though, and Paul Ganim can help to ensure that you don’t delay one day longer than the law requires.
  8. Lawyers can help with specific specialty needs. There’s more to settling an estate than just settling debts and passing out bequests. There are a host of processes that can require specialized skills. Assets sometimes need to be appraised. An accurate accounting of probate activities needs to be prepared, including financial transactions. Various legal issues arise during many probate processes. Paul Ganim can help you to get the help you need to resolve these issues with a minimum of stress and fuss.
  9. An attorney can help an executor protect his interests. If you’re an executor, then you also need to understand that your personal interests could be at risk if you make an error that results in losses for the beneficiaries. Yes, there have been instances in which executor errors have resulted in legal action from heirs. Though having an attorney cannot guarantee that no disgruntled heirs will sue you, it can help to ensure that you make sound decisions that limit the potential for mistakes that could place your personal wealth at risk
  10. The probate lawyer can help to relieve stress and simplify the process. Let’s face it; when a loved one dies, the last thing that any of us want to do is go through a complicated and drawn-out legal process to settle the estate. It’s necessary, though, since debts must be settled, and assets must be passed on. The good news is that you don’t have to endure that stress on your own, or deal with the complexities without professional help.

Start with a free consultation

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