2018 Developments In Connecticut Estate and Probate Law, 061821 KYWC, 93 CBJ 251

AuthorBy Jeffrey A. Cooper and John R. Ivimey.
PositionClaim 93 CBJ 251


Claim No. 93 CBJ 251

Connecticut Bar Journal

June 18, 2021

By Jeffrey A. Cooper [*] and John R. Ivimey.[**]

This Article provides a summary of recent developments affecting Connecticut estate planning and probate practice. Part I discusses 2018 legislative developments. Part II surveys selected 2018 case law relevant to the field.

I. Legislation1

A. Living Wills and Pregnancy2

Public Act 18-11 repeals the section of the Connecticut statutes which made living wills and health care directives inapplicable to pregnant patients.3

A person age eighteen or older may now sign a living will and health care instructions that explicitly address whether the person intends the living will to be enforced during pregnancy.4 The Act also modifies the statutory form for these documents to include the following options for a pregnant person: (1) that the person intends to accept life support systems if the doctor believes that doing so would allow the fetus to reach a live birth, (2) that the person intends for the provisions of the document to apply without modification, or (3) that the person wishes for the document to apply on modified terms as further specified in the document.6

The new law appears to apply to living wills executed before as well as after the Act. Accordingly, women who would prefer that their existing living will not apply if they are pregnant will need to revise that document to reflect this preference.

B. Probate Court Operations6

Public Act 18-45 makes numerous modifications and technical corrections to statutes governing probate court operations. Included among these changes, the Act does the following:

1. Provides that no interest shall accrue on the late payment of any portion of probate fees attributable to wrongful death actions.7

2. Clarifies that a court will not charge a fee for a hearing on the court's own motion to remove a fiduciary for failure to file required documents.8

3. Permits a court to accept the resignation of a fiduciary before the fiduciary files a final financial report.9 In such a case, the fiduciary must file the report within 60 days following the court's acceptance of the resignation.10

4. Permits a court to transfer a guardianship or termination of parental rights case to another probate court that has a pending matter relating to the same minor if the court determines that it is in the best interests of the minor.11

5. Allows a petition to appoint a guardian, co-guardian, or temporary guardian to be made in the probate court where the child resides, is domiciled, or is located at the time of filing the petition.12

6. Shortens from 180 days to 45 days the time for parents to petition the court for involuntary conservatorship of a child about to reach age eighteen.13

7. Eliminates the requirement that a temporary conservator of the person file a report when the temporary conservatorship terminates.14 A temporary conservator of the estate must still file a final financial report.[16]

C. Changes to Estate and Gift Tax[16]

The state budget bill modified the estate and gift tax exemption, and filing threshold, over the next several years as follows:

2019- $3,600,000 exemption.
2020- $5,100,000 exemption.
2021- $7,100,000 exemption.
2022- $9,100,000 exemption.
2023- Matches federal exemption[17]
In 2023, the rate of tax on the excess over the federal exemption will be fixed at 12%.18 Under current law, the federal exemption is scheduled to be reduced in 2025.19 It will be interesting to see whether the legislature will revisit the state exemption level and tax rate if the federal exemption does in fact revert to lower levels. The Office of Legislative Research included the following chart in its summary of the Public Act. Table 12: Estate and Gift Tax Rates, 2020 to 2022
Gift Prior Law Ad (Marginal Rates)
2026 and after 2620 2621 2622
Up to $5.100,000 None
$5,100.001 to federal threshold
Federal threshold to $6,100,000 10% of the excess over the federal threshold
None None

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