State of Connecticut Probate Court
New Fairfield and Sherman residents will be served by the Housatonic Probate Court 860-355-6029
In 1716, an act was passed establishing official courts of probate in the four counties, and one judge and clerk were appointed to serve in each court for a period of one year. Since 1850, probate judges have been elected by the voters of the town comprising the respective probate districts.
All 117 probate judges are members of the Connecticut Probate Assembly, which began as an informal organization of probate judges in 1883. The Assembly met quarterly, and the members were often joined by their state representatives and senators, and sometimes even the Governor. The informal organization won official recognition with the passage of legislation in 1941.
The probate courts are statutory courts, and, as such, have only the jurisdiction and authority granted by the state legislature. As has been the case since the earliest days of the colony, probate court decisions may be appealed to another court. The route of appeal for current matters begins with the Superior Court; further appeal may be made to the Connecticut Supreme Court.
Probate Court has jurisdiction over many matters. The areas of jurisdication include the following:
- Probating wills and the administration of estates
- Overseeing testamentary and living trusts
- Determining title to real and personal property
- Construing the meaning of wills and trusts
- Appointing guardians for the mentally retarded
- Appointing conservators of the person and the estate of incapable individuals
- Committing those suffering from mental illness, alcoholism, or drug addiction to an appropriate facility
- Removing unfit parents as guardians of their children
- Terminating the parental rights of parents who cannot fulfill their parental responsibilities
- Granting adoptions
- Granting name changes