Connecticut Probate Court Appeals vary. The time to file an appeal depends on the type of case being appealed.
Time for Appeal to be Filed
A Probate Court appeal must be filed within 45 days if it concerns the following:
- Appointing a guardian or conservator for a veteran or beneficiary of veterans’ benefits;
- Compensation of a guardian or conservator of a social services beneficiary or veteran;
- Investment of funds in insurance and annuity contracts by a conservator or guardian of the estate of a ward, conserved person, or incapable person;
- Payment by a guardian or conservator of administrative expenses of a deceased protected person;
- Most provisions regarding conservators such as naming a conservator for future incapacity, applying for and release from voluntary representation, appointment of involuntary representation, appointing temporary conservators, duties of conservators, and terminating conservatorship;
- Appointing guardians of those with intellectual disabilities, their powers and duties;
- Sterilization; and
- A guardian’s or conservator’s petition on competency to vote.
For other Connecticut Probate Court Appeals, the appeal must be filed within 30 days of mailing the order, denial, or decree. The most common of these involve children such as guardianship and termination of parental rights.
Time for Appeal to be Heard
A hearing on an appeal in the following matters must begin within 90 days of its filing unless a “stay” of the Probate Court decision is issued:
- Commitment of a mentally ill child and status review of a voluntarily committed mentally ill child;
- Commitment of a person with psychiatric disabilities, their release or transfer; their medication, treatment, psychotherapy, or shock therapy; and medication of criminal defendants in Department of Mental Heath and Addiction Services’ (DMHAS) custody;
- Involuntary commitment for alcohol or drug dependency;
- Appointing a conservator, appointing a temporary conservator, and terminating conservatorship;
- Appointing a guardian, plenary guardian, limited guardian, temporary limited guardian for a mentally retarded person, and court review of guardians or limited guardians;
- Hearings on sterilization;
- A guardian’s or conservator’s petition on competency to vote; and
- Termination of parental rights.
Standard of Review When Proceedings are on the Record.
When the appeal is based on a hearing that was on the record, the Superior Court will affirm the Probate Court’s decision unless the substantial rights of the person appealing were prejudiced such as:
1. Violations of the state or federal constitution or state statutes;
2. The probate court’s authority was exceeded;
3. The decision was based on illegal procedures;
4. The decision was affected by legal errors;
5. The decision was clearly erroneous based on the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence on the whole record; or
6. The decision was arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or a clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.
It is important to know that the mere filing the appeal does not stay enforcement of a Probate Court decision. However, the appealing party may file a motion for a “stay” to suspend the ruling with the while the appeal is pending.
I represent clients in Probate Court throughout Fairfield County including Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Trumbull, Stratford, Bridgeport, Westport, Weston, New Canaan, Wilton, Norwalk, Darien, Stamford and Greenwich.