Let’s Make Our Right To Appeal Probate Decisions in Connecticut Real!

Gina Teixeira, J.D., Cheri Bragg, and Helen Mehm

In Connecticut, Probate Courts have statutory authority to make decisions regarding people with disabilities. The Probate Courts have a lot of power, including: 1) Commit a person to a hospital for psychiatric treatment; 2) Appoint a conservator of estate to make decisions about how best to use a person’s income and assets; 3) Appoint a conservator of person to make choices as to where a person lives and what medical treatment is appropriate; and 4) Give the conservator of person the authority to consent to psychiatric medications when a person is hospitalized (Connecticut still does not have outpatient commitment). After the Court issues a decree you still have rights! A person has a right to appeal that decision. However, the statutes are vague and the process overly cumbersome for most people to be able to submit an appeal on their own. CLRP is well aware of the difficulty in submitting an appeal after recently winning a commitment appeal. We will present our recent Probate Court appeal and the concerns we have with Connecticut Probate Courts when we discuss:

  1. What is forced treatment;
  2. History/overview of Connecticut Probate Courts;
  3. Why is Probate Court important and what decisions can be made in Probate Court;
  4. How to access Probate Court and the Court process;
  5. What can be appealed and how to make a decision to appeal;
  6. The time frames for submitting an appeal;
  7. Non-attorney strategies;
  8. What a person can expect to obtain through the appeal process and what you can ask for; and

Next steps, such as simplifying the appeal process and making it more transparent; Probate Court paying court appointed attorneys to submit appeals and represent clients in Superior Court; and reasonable time frames.