Judge writing on documentThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing conservatorships for residents of Hartford and other areas of Connecticut. Our previous article discussed involuntary conservatorships. A Probate Court may be asked by a spouse, family member, or another individual to appoint a conservator to manage the financial or medical affairs of another person who has become incapable of doing so. Under such circumstances, the Judge will carefully review medical reports regarding the individual’s mental and physical capacity.  The Court will appoint a conservator to act on the conserved person’s behalf only to the extent necessary to protect the conserved individual’s best interests. In this article, we will review the types of situations in which the Probate Court will determine when it is necessary to appoint a conservator. If you need assistance, contact our office today to schedule a consultation with an attorney.

In Connecticut, the Probate Court has exclusive jurisdiction over the appointment of conservators. Because such an appointment is a significant restriction of the conserved person’s rights, Probate Courts take all such requests extremely seriously. Judges will grant conservatorships when doing so is the least restrictive means available to assist a person who is incapable of handling their affairs or caring for his or herself. After the petitioner files an application with the Court for an appointment, a hearing will be scheduled.  The petitioner must present medical evidence from one or more Connecticut physicians providing incapacity. The medical examinations must have occurred within 45 days of the hearing date. The Probate Court may also request that additional examinations occur if more evidence is required to make the decision. If the Judge determines, by clear and convincing evidence, that the individual is incapable of handling medical or financial affairs without assistance, and that no other alternatives are available, they will appoint a conservator.

The Probate Court may, if necessary, appoint a temporary involuntary conservator in emergencies. Similar to the Court’s evaluation of a traditional conservatorship request, the Judge must determine, by clear and convincing evidence, that the person is incapable of handling their affairs and that the appointment of a temporary conservator is the least restrictive means of intervention available. In addition, however, the Probate Court must also find that the individual’s physical or mental health, financial affairs, or legal affairs will suffer immediate and irreparable harm if a conservator is not appointed quickly. For example, a man is seriously injured in a car accident and is in a medically induced coma while he heals from a traumatic brain injury. Prior to the accident he and his wife accepted a contract to sell their home and scheduled a closing, for which he is now unavailable. His spouse petitions the Probate Court for a temporary conservatorship appointment, citing the immediate need for her to sign the conveyance documents on his behalf, and that the loss of the funds from the sale causing irreparable harm to their joint finances. Under such circumstances, the Court may appoint her as a temporary conservator for purposes of handling the sale. It is important to understand that how a Judge will rule on such matters will depend upon the specific facts of each situation.

If you need assistance seeking a conservatorship for a family member or friend, contact our office today to speak to a Hartford lawyer. We also service the areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, East and West Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.