Are there penalties for not filing for a probate for over 3 years?

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Are there penalties for not filing for a probate for over 3 years?

I never got around to settling my wife’s estate after she passed in 04/07. I’m trying to re-finance my mortgage, which is still in both our names, to reduce monthly payment. The house doesn’t have much equity and we don’t have much available cash. Are there any penalties for waiting so long?Will I be able to settle her estate in probate myself?

Asked on December 8, 2010 under Estate Planning, Connecticut

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  You may not have to do much here.  If all your assets were jointly held then they should have passed by operation of law to you upon your wife's death.  The deed to the house should read "with rights of survivorship" on it, which means that you only inherited it upon her passing.  Ask the bank if you can provide the deed and your wife's death certificate.  If not, then is there a Last Will and Testament? The you would need to go through probate.  If no, then she dies "intestate" and you have to put through administration only those assets that did not pass to you automatically.  You can also have an Executor's deed issued from the estate to you alone.  If they ask why you took so long the natural answer is that you did not really want to deal with any of the legalities until you had to.  An affidavit as to the lateness should then suffice.  Good luck.     


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