Settling Small Estates (CT)

Updated Apr 5, 2024
Show Table of Contents Courthouse for estate probate

In Connecticut, small estates can avoid probate via small estate affidavit, allowing executors to save considerable effort and cost, and regardless of estate size, probate is not required if an estate contains only assets exempt from probate.

Small Estate Affidavit Requirements

In Connecticut, an estate qualifies as "small" if the value of its assets subject to probate is <$40,000, and it does not contain any real estate owned solely by the decedent.

In calculating estate value, you should value assets as of the date of death, and ignore any debts. Do not include assets that would not normally go through probate, such as community property with right of survivorship, assets with named beneficiaries (e.g., 401Ks, life insurance policies), and other standard probate exclusions.

See CT Gen Stat § 45a-273 for statute details.


If the estate qualifies as small, and no probate proceedings have been instituted, you can simplify the probate process as follows:

  1. Submit a Small Estate Affidavit package to the court (see below)
  2. Wait 30 days while the court validates your submission
  3. The court will order you to pay the estate claims and distribute the remaining assets as specified
  4. Use the court order to obtain possession of the assets from any current custodians, and settle the estate as instructed

Small Estate Affidavit Package

When submitting your request to the court, the following forms may be required:

Estate Settlement Considerations

The court will tell you exactly who should get what. That being said, you should be aware that there may be CT Family Entitlements available that would take priority over most debts, if claimed.

Even if the estate does not go through probate, you are still entitled to Executor Compensation in CT, and this compensation also has priority over most estate debts.

Although you are not required to issue any notices when following the CT small estate process, doing so may protect the heirs from creditors: see CT Estate Debts.

See also Making Distributions.


In Connecticut, the local probate court handles estate matters.

Additional Information

If your estate doesn't qualify for a small estate approach, or you're simply interested in exploring standard probate, take a look at Probate in CT.

And since probate is just the court-supervised subset of winding up a person's affairs after death, you'll probably want to check out our Complete Guide to Estate Settlement in CT.

Finally, in case you're interested, details about handling small estates in other states can be found here:

Copyright © 2014-24 EstateExec