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We know you might have questions about the Probate Courts. Below are the answers to some of the questions we hear most often.

Court Process
What can I expect at a Probate Court hearing?
What assistance can I get from court staff?
Do I need an attorney for a probate case?
How do I file a complaint against a judge?
Costs
What are the fees associated with probate cases?
Conservator Compensation
How do the 2016 changes to Regulation 16 affect compensation of conservators?

Court Process

What can I expect at a Probate Court hearing?

The Probate Courts have often been called "the people's courts" because they offer simple, direct access to legal proceedings. Convenience and efficiency are the hallmarks of the Probate Courts. Connecticut's 54 Probate Courts are organized on a regional basis to provide convenient access for court users. Because probate cases involve sensitive family issues, the atmosphere at hearings is informal. The judge will give each person who is a party to the case an opportunity to present evidence in support of his or her side of the case.


What assistance can I get from court staff?

Customer service is the highest priority of the Probate Courts. However, court employees are limited in the type of assistance they can provide.

This is a list of things the Probate Court staff CAN do for you:
  • Explain and answer questions about how the court works.
  • Provide general information about court rules, procedures and forms.
  • Provide copies of user guides and forms.
  • Answer questions regarding deadlines for filing court documents.
  • Help you find information on our website, ctprobate.gov


This is a list of things the Probate Court staff is UNABLE to do for you:

  • Give you legal advice.
  • Tell you whether or not you should bring your case to the Probate Court.
  • Tell you what words to use in your court papers. However, we can check that all required documents have been submitted.
  • Tell you what to say in court.
  • Talk to the judge for you.
  • Let you talk to the judge outside of a scheduled hearing.
  • Tell you how the judge will rule in a matter.
  • Change an order signed by the judge.

Do I need an attorney for a probate case?

Individuals involved in probate cases have the option of hiring an attorney but are not generally required to be represented by an attorney. Probate Court forms are designed to be user-friendly, and court staff may offer limited assistance in completing required forms. A person should consider hiring an attorney if the case is contested or if the case involves complex legal questions.

In certain types of cases the court is required by law to appoint an attorney for a party whose fundamental civil liberties are at stake. This requirement applies only in the following cases;

  • guardianship, placement, and sterilization of persons with intellectual disability;
  • commitment of adults and children with psychiatric disabilities;
  • involuntary conservatorship;
  • temporary custody or removal of guardianship for a minor child; and,
  • termination of parental rights (legal representation is required for both the minor child and the respondent parent(s)).

 The court does not have the authority to appoint an attorney for a party in other types of cases.


How do I file a complaint against a judge?

The Council on Probate Judicial Conduct is responsible for investigating complaints about probate judges. Click on the following link to access the Council's webpage: Council on Probate Judicial Conduct

Costs

What are the fees associated with probate cases?

​Click on the following link for information about court fees for probate cases: Probate Fees and Expenses

Conservator Compensation

How do the 2016 changes to Regulation 16 affect compensation of conservators?

​Click on the following link for answers to frequently asked questions about conservator compensation: Conservator FAQs