filing court papersThis is the fourth post in our series on challenging a Power of Attorney in Hartford and other Connecticut areas. My last post discussed why it is important to seek immediate action when there is a need to challenge a Power of Attorney. It is helpful to understand the legal process required for these matters and why it is best to consult with an experienced probate lawyer. If you fail to properly follow the law, it can create unnecessary delay resulting in further damage to the wronged party. An experienced attorney can assist you with each step of the proceedings. If you or someone you know needs assistance, then contact us today to speak with a probate attorney.

Filing a Petition is the first step in challenging a Connecticut Power of Attorney

Connecticut Probate Court Rules provide the mandatory procedures one must follow for any matter in Probate Court. A challenge to a Power of Attorney constitutes a formal proceeding and begins with the filing of a Petition. A Petition is a written filing that commences a matter in the Court. Under Connecticut law, the Petition must include a description of the action sought and the basis or grounds for the request. The petitioner must use reasonable efforts to determine the name and address of all parties and include those in the Petition. The Petition must be filed on a specific form along with a filing fee to adequately open the matter in Probate Court. If the Petition is in substantial compliance with the rules, the Court will schedule a hearing or conference and provide notice to all parties.

If an agent is abusing their power pursuant to a Power of Attorney, it is important to file the Petition as soon as you become aware of their actions. There is no mechanism to terminate a Power of Attorney without a Court order if a principal has become incapacitated. Therefore, to prevent further damage to the wronged party, it is imperative to request the Court intervene to protect the party. Until a Court orders an Injunction, which prohibits the agent from acting any further, the agent can continue diluting the principal’s financial accounts. Sometimes, it is not possible to recover the funds from the wrongdoer. This is why it is crucial to meet with an attorney as soon as you suspect an agent is no longer acting in the interest of the principal.

What to expect after a Petition has been filed with the Probate Court

Once the Probate Court receives a Petition, the Court will schedule a hearing or conference on each motion or petition and must give notice to each party and attorney. If a minor or incapacitated adult is a named party, their guardian or conservator will be provided notice on their behalf. The Court will require the appointment of a guardian ad litem for any party that is a minor or is deemed incompetent. The guardian’s duty is to advocate for the best interests of the person for whom they are acting and to communicate to the party the actions of the Court. Each party will have the right to discovery. Discovery can include the exchange of records and information or the requirement of a deposition, which is the process of giving sworn statements on record. A deposition and discovery requests are intended to provide information to both sides ahead of the hearing. Lastly, unless the matter is settled, the Probate Judge will hold a hearing on the matter. This hearing will involve testimony from both parties and their witnesses. The Judge will make a final determination on the requests made by the petitioner.

If you or a loved one need legal assistance, then contact our office today to speak with a Hartford probate lawyer. Our law firm has served the community and surrounding areas for decades and are proud to help our neighbors. Contact us online or by telephone today to schedule an initial consultation. 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 areas of Middletown and Cromwell.