If you die without a valid will while residing in the State of Connecticut, you are said to have died "intestate." In order to determine who will receive your property if you die intestate, the State of Connecticut has established a number of laws (known as "intestacy laws" or "laws of intestate succession.") The primary statutes comprising these intestacy laws, or laws of intestate succession, are set forth below. For a more complete list, see Connecticut intestacy Laws | Intestate Succession statutes.
Distribution of intestate estates
(a) After payment of expenses and charges, an intestate estate shall be distributed by the administrator or other fiduciary charged with the administration of the estate; provided the Court of Probate may, in its discretion, on its own motion or upon application by any interested person, appoint three disinterested persons to make the distribution.
(b) If all the persons interested in the estate legally capable of acting and all fiduciaries for any other persons interested in the estate make and file in the court a division of the estate, made, executed and acknowledged like deeds of land, such division, being recorded in the records of the court, shall be a valid distribution of the estate. Any such fiduciary may petition the court of probate which appointed him for permission to enter into such a division, and such permission may be granted or, for cause shown, denied by the court, after a hearing on such petition held on such notice as the court may order.
(c) If any intestate estate consists wholly of real property, the Court of Probate shall issue a certificate of descent to the heirs at law, as provided by section 45a-450, without formal distribution or without a mutual distribution as provided for in this section, unless there is filed in the Court of Probate, within one month after the acceptance of the administration account, the ascertainment of the distributees and the order of distribution, a mutual distribution executed by all of such heirs at law or a return of distribution as provided by this section.
Intestate succession. Distribution to spouse
(a) If there is no will, or if any part of the property, real or personal, legally or equitably owned by the decedent at the time of his or her death, is not effectively disposed of by the will or codicil of the decedent, the portion of the intestate estate of the decedent, determined after payment of any support allowance from principal pursuant to section 45a-320, which the surviving spouse shall take is:
(1) If there is no surviving issue or parent of the decedent, the entire intestate estate absolutely;
(2) If there is no surviving issue of the decedent but the decedent is survived by a parent or parents, the first one hundred thousand dollars plus three-quarters of the balance of the intestate estate absolutely;
(3) If there are surviving issue of the decedent all of whom are also issue of the surviving spouse, the first one hundred thousand dollars plus one-half of the balance of the intestate estate absolutely;
(4) If there are surviving issue of the decedent one or more of whom are not issue of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate estate absolutely.
(b) For the purposes of this section issue shall include children born out of wedlock and the issue of such children who qualify for inheritance under the provisions of section 45a-438.
Distribution of intestate estate of child to father where paternity established after death
For the purposes of this chapter, the father of a child born out of wedlock shall be considered a parent, provided paternity is established (1) prior to the death of such father by a court of competent jurisdiction or (2) after the death of such father by the Probate Court, provided paternity established after death is ineffective to qualify the father or his kindred to inherit from or through the child unless it is demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that the father has acknowledged in writing that he is the father of the child and has openly treated the child as his.
Distribution to children. Children born out of wedlock may inherit
(a) After distribution has been made of the intestate estate to the surviving spouse in accordance with section 45a-437, all the residue of the real and personal estate shall be distributed in equal proportions, according to its value at the time of distribution, among the children and the legal representatives of any of them who may be dead, except that children or other descendants who receive estate by advancement of the intestate in the intestate's lifetime shall themselves or their representatives have only so much of the estate as will, together with such advancement, make their share equal to what they would have been entitled to receive had no such advancement been made.
(b) Except as provided in section 45a-731, for purposes of intestate succession by, through or from a person, an individual is the child of his genetic parents, regardless of marital status of such parents. With respect to a child born out of wedlock, the father of a child born out of wedlock shall be considered a parent if (1) the father and mother have married after the child's birth, or (2) the father has been adjudicated the father of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction, or (3) the father has acknowledged under oath in writing that he is the father of the child, or (4) after the death of either the father or the child, paternity has been established by the Probate Court by clear and convincing evidence that the father has acknowledged in writing that he is the father of the child and has openly treated the child as his.
(c) For the purposes of this section legal representatives shall include legal representatives of children born out of wedlock, provided any such child qualifies for inheritance under subsection (b) of this section.
Distribution when there are no children or representatives of them
(a) (1) If there are no children or any legal representatives of them, then, after the portion of the husband or wife, if any, is distributed or set out, the residue of the estate shall be distributed equally to the parent or parents of the intestate, provided no parent who has abandoned a minor child and continued such abandonment until the time of death of such child, shall be entitled to share in the estate of such child or be deemed a parent for the purposes of subdivisions (2) to (4), inclusive, of this subsection. (2) If there is no parent, the residue of the estate shall be distributed equally to the brothers and sisters of the intestate and those who legally represent them. (3) If there is no parent or brothers and sisters or those who legally represent them, the residue of the estate shall be distributed equally to the next of kin in equal degree. No representatives shall be admitted among collaterals after the representatives of brothers and sisters. (4) If there is no next of kin, then the residue of the estate shall be distributed equally to the stepchildren and those who legally represent them.
(b) When any will executed prior to January 1, 1902, fails for any reason to dispose of the whole or any part of the estate of the testator, and such estate becomes intestate, the same shall be distributed in accordance with the statutes of distribution in force at the time such will was executed.
(c) Real property subject to the life use of husband or wife, remaining undivided at the expiration of such life use, shall be distributed in the same manner by the same or other distributors, or the same may be distributed during the continuance of such life interest and subject thereto.
(d) In ascertaining the next of kin in all cases, the rule of the civil law shall be used.
(e) Relatives of the half blood shall take the same share under this section that they would take if they were of the whole blood.
When property escheats to the state. Procedure
When a probate court cannot identify or locate the person entitled to a distribution of property from an estate or trust being administered by it, or when a probate court determines that no person is entitled to any property on hand for distribution, the probate court shall order distribution of such property to the State Treasurer as abandoned property in accordance with the provisions of part III of chapter 32. A probate court shall cause reasonable efforts to be made to identify and locate the person entitled to the property for distribution before ordering distribution as abandoned property. Nothing in this section shall prevent a court of probate from approving an agreement pursuant to section 45a-434 provided all undetermined or missing distributees are represented by counsel and any such agreement is signed by such counsel.
Other intestacy statutes
There are additional statutes pertaining to the distribution of intestate property in the State of Connecticut. To view those statutes, please click here.
[Reference - Connecticut Intestacy laws].