Probate Court BuildingThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing how to challenge a power of attorney in Hartford, Connecticut. Our previous article addressed filing a petition as the first step to setting aside a power of attorney. Formal litigation in Probate Court is required to challenge an existing power of attorney. Most individuals do not understand what to expect once they begin litigation. The legal process of serving adverse parties, undergoing discovery, and presenting evidence to support your claim is all part of a formal proceeding in Probate Court. This type of action requires an in-depth and complex understanding of the law. In this article we will discuss the procedural steps that follow after filing the initial petition. It is important to retain an attorney with experience in litigation and probate matters. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, contact us today to speak with a lawyer.

The Process of Challenging a Connecticut Power of Attorney Once a Petition Has Been Filed

Once a Petition is filed in Probate Court, the matter will be assigned a case number and statutory deadlines will begin to run. The Petition must be filed and properly served on the adverse party. It is important that the Petition also include a request for an Injunction to prevent the agent from continuing to act and potentially causing more damage. The adverse party will be required to file a responsive pleading to your Petition. Once the pleadings are filed and served, each party will need to begin the discovery process. During discovery, both parties will obtain information to support their claims or defenses. Litigants will have the opportunity to request documents and records in the possession of other parties or relevant third-parties. Additionally, the parties can schedule depositions where they obtain sworn testimony from the key witnesses in the case.

If the claims involve the agent squandering the financial assets of the principal, the Petitioner may request bank statements of the principal and agent. If the claims include allegations of reckless medical decisions made on the principal’s behalf, the medical records of the principal will need to be subpoenaed. The evidence collected during discovery can be used at trial before the Probate Judge and allows the parties to be prepared and know what to expect. Once discovery is concluded, unless the matter has settled, the Court will require a trial. Trials in Connecticut Probate Court are bench trials and do not involve juries. The Judge will be the decider of fact and issue an Order making a final decision in the case. The Court’s order may include monetary damages for the injured party, and/or revoke and dissolve the power of attorney. The Court may also grant additional relief appropriate for the specific facts of the case.

The importance of having a lawyer when challenging a Connecticut Power of Attorney

If an elderly or disabled individual is being abused or taken advantage of by their appointed agent, it is imperative to act quickly to mitigate any continued damages. Protecting the vulnerable person should be the priority of the Petitioner. Retaining an attorney experienced in probate disputes is the best step to ensuring the victim is protected from continued abuse. A formal proceeding in Probate Court is a complicated and serious matter. It is necessary to follow procedural rules and understand the Court system. An attorney will represent you in the filing of the initial Petition, engaging in discovery, filing of any legal Motions and potentially attending a bench trial. It is also crucial to timely respond to all matters within the requisite legal deadlines.

Your attorney will communicate with the Court and the opposing attorney and can assess whether a settlement is the best option. An attorney will know what evidence must be presented to meet the burden of proof to be successful in setting aside the power of attorney.

Our firm has been established for decades in the Hartford, Connecticut area and we take pride in providing the highest level of legal service to our clients. We understand that matters such as these are serious and overwhelming. We will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone today to speak with a Hartford estate dispute lawyer. We also service the Connecticut 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.