The Comprehensive Guide to Probate, Trusts, Estate Planning, and Inheritance Litigation

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Who Are Next Of Kin In Connecticut?

Next of kin in Connecticut can describe who inherits from an estate when there is no will, known as intestacy.  The rules for which next of kin inherit in the absence of a will are based on the total family composition of the deceased.   CT Gen Stat § 45a-437 (2019)

Connecticut Next of Kin Chart

Family Composition

Which Next of Kin Inherit

Spouse but no descendants or parents

Spouse inherits everything

Descendants but no spouse

Descendants

Spouse and parent (but no descendants)

First $100,000 and three-fourths of remainder of estate to surviving spouse.  Remainder divided equally among the parents.

Spouse and descendants

If all surviving issue are also surviving issue of the surviving spouse, surviving spouse receives first $100,00 plus one-half of the remainder of the estate.  Descendants split remainder of estate with representation.

If all surviving issue are not also issue of the surviving spouse, surviving spouse receives one-half of estate, and descendants are other one-half of estate.

Parents but no spouse or descendants

Estate divided equally among parents

No children parents or spouse

To the brothers and sisters or their descendants.  Shares are divided equally if takers are in the same generation.  (Modified per stirpes distribution.)

  

Can Out of Wedlock Children Be Treated as Next of Kin Under Connecticut Law?

Yes.  According to CT Gen Stat § 45a-438 (2012):

(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.

Does Connecticut Law Provide for Per Stirpes Distributions?

Yes, for a child, stepchild, grandchild, brother or sister of the testator, Connecticut law provides that the descendants of a deceased person inherit through their deceased parent if they are a next of kin heir.  As set forth in CT Gen Stat § 45a-441 (2012):

When a devisee or legatee, being a child, stepchild, grandchild, brother or sister of the testator, dies before him, and no provision has been made in the will for such contingency, the issue of such devisee or legatee shall take the estate so devised or bequeathed.

Does Connecticut Have a Slayer Statute?

Yes, under Connecticut law, if a person is found to have killed the deceased, that person may not inherit even if they are next of kin in an intestate estate.

Connecticut’s slayer statute is broader than just the probate estate.  It also includes life insurance, annuities, and any property where there is a survivorship provision.  As set forth in CT Gen Stat § 45a-447 (2012):

(a)(1) A person finally adjudged guilty, either as the principal or accessory, of any crime under section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55 or 53a-55a, or in any other jurisdiction, of any crime, the essential elements of which are substantially similar to such crimes, or a person determined to be guilty under any of said sections pursuant to this subdivision, shall not inherit or receive any part of the estate of (A) the deceased, whether under the provisions of any act relating to intestate succession, or as devisee or legatee, or otherwise under the will of the deceased, or receive any property as beneficiary or survivor of the deceased, or (B) any other person when such homicide or death terminated an intermediate estate, or hastened the time of enjoyment. For the purposes of this subdivision, an interested person may bring an action in the Superior Court for a determination, by a preponderance of the evidence, that an heir, devisee, legatee or beneficiary of the deceased who has predeceased the interested person would have been adjudged guilty, either as the principal or accessory, under section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55 or 53a-55a had the heir, devisee, legatee or beneficiary survived.

 

(2) With respect to inheritance under the will of the deceased, or rights to property as heir, devisee, legatee or beneficiary of the deceased, the person whose participation in the estate of another or whose right to property as such heir, devisee, legatee or beneficiary is so prevented under the provisions of this section shall be considered to have predeceased the person killed.

 

(3) With respect to property owned in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship with the deceased, such final adjudication as guilty shall be a severance of the joint tenancy, and shall convert the joint tenancy into a tenancy in common as to the person so adjudged and the deceased but not as to any remaining joint tenant or tenants, such severance being effective as of the time such adjudication of guilty becomes final. When such jointly owned property is real property, a certified copy of the final adjudication as guilty shall be recorded by the fiduciary of the deceased’s estate, or may be recorded by any other interested party in the land records of the town where such real property is situated.

 

(b) In all other cases where a defendant has been convicted of killing another person, the right of such defendant to inherit or take any part of the estate of the person killed or to inherit or take any estate as to which such homicide terminated an intermediate estate, or hastened the time of enjoyment, or to take any property as beneficiary or survivor of the deceased shall be determined by the common law, including equity.

 

(c) (1) A named beneficiary of a life insurance policy or annuity who intentionally causes the death of the person upon whose life the policy is issued or the annuitant, is not entitled to any benefit under the policy or annuity, and the policy or annuity becomes payable as though such beneficiary had predeceased the decedent.

 

(2) (A) A conviction under section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55 or 53a-55a, or a determination pursuant to subparagraph (B) of this subdivision that a named beneficiary would have been found guilty under any of said sections had the named beneficiary survived, shall be conclusive for the purposes of this subsection.

 

(B) For the purposes of this subsection, an interested person may bring an action in the Superior Court for a determination, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a named beneficiary who has predeceased the interested person would have been found guilty under section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, 53a-54d, 53a-55 or 53a-55a had the named beneficiary survived.

 

(C) In the absence of such a conviction or determination, the Superior Court may determine by the common law, including equity, whether the named beneficiary is entitled to any benefit under the policy or annuity.

 

(D) In any proceeding brought under this subsection, the burden of proof shall be upon the person challenging the eligibility of the named beneficiary for benefits under a life insurance policy or annuity.

 

(3) Any insurance company making payment according to the terms of its policy or annuity is not liable for any additional payment by reason of this section unless it has received at its home office or principal address written notice of a claim under this section prior to such payment.