Senator Boucher, Senator Frantz & Representative Hetherington Vote For New Canaan-Darien Probate Court District

September 25, 2009

Two Existing Town Probate Court Districts To Be Merged In January 2011

State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26), Senator L. Scott Frantz (R-36) and State Representative John Hetherington (R-125) voted in favor of legislation that will merge the New Canaan and Darien probate court districts under a statewide redistricting plan that will take effect on January 5, 2011.

“This is excellent news for the families served by the probate courts in both of these communities. We have known for some time now that the number of probate courts in our state would be reduced, and it has been Senator Frantz’s, Representative Hetherington’s and my greatest concern that whatever redistricting plan was finally adopted would be in the best interests of the families who depend upon their services. Joining New Canaan and Darien was the best possible solution, and we worked very hard for this outcome. It is important for the probate court to have a deep knowledge and understanding of each community’s unique issues. We therefore thank the members of the redistricting commission for their hard work and their efforts to meet the concerns of our communities,”” said Senator Boucher, whose legislative district includes New Canaan.

I am very satisfied and relieved that the Senate and House voted in favor of the probate redistricting bill,” said Senator Frantz. “Preserving the probate court in Greenwich and Stamford and allowing New Canaan and Darien to combine resources as opposed to combining New Canaan with a larger municipality is a desired and common-sense solution.”

“I am very pleased with the outcome which creates a probate district that includes just New Canaan and Darien. The earlier proposal would have created a fragmented district of noncontiguous towns. I am grateful for all who worked on this, including Senator Franz and Representative William Tong who share with me representation of New Canaan in the General Assembly,” said Representative John Hetherington.

Both chambers of the General Assembly passed HB 7001, An Act Concerning The Recommendations Of The Probate Redistricting Commission, which calls reducing the number of probate courts statewide from 117 to 54. The legislation, now heading for Governor M. Jodi Rell’s desk, will take effect on January 5, 2011. The General Assembly passed the legislation creating the redistricting commission earlier this year.

Connecticut’s 300 year old probate court system has jurisdiction over a wide variety of matters including:
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; and granting name changes.