So, do you need a lawyer to handle an estate in CT or NY? Well, the short answer is that technically you don't need a lawyer to handle the estate. If you are smart, have a lot of time on your hands and are good with numbers, you can do it yourself.
The practical answer is that you will need a lawyer to handle the estate in any state. There are a bunch of rules to follow, deadlines to meet, traps to avoid. You will have to file the Will and other documents. You will have to get the Executor appointed.
Not only will you need an attorney to handle the estate, you will need a tax guy to do the final income tax returns and the estate tax return. You may also need an accountant for the accounting that needs to be done. Take a look at the summary of what needs to be done and consider whether you can do this competently yourself or whether you would want to?