Senator Boucher Votes For Probate Court Redistricting Plan

September 25, 2009

Westport & Weston To Stay In Existing District – Norwalk & Wilton To Stay In Existing District

Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) said she worked with other legislators to help secure passage of legislation that will preserve the two existing probate court districts serving the families of Westport, Weston, Norwalk and Wilton under a redistricting plan to take effect in January 2011.

“This is the best possible outcome for the four communities that have been served so well by the probate court district that covers Westport and Weston, and by the probate court district that covers Norwalk and Wilton. Many of us worked together to make sure that our new streamlined probate court system would preserve these two existing probate court districts. 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 district includes the communities of Westport, Weston and Wilton.

‘Despite my opposition to redistricting the probate court system, I appreciate the hard work of the commission and am gratified that the plan we finally adopted preserves the existing probate court districts that cover Westport and Weston,” said State Senator John McKinney (R-28), whose district includes Weston.

“Geographically, the original four-town consolidation was unworkable. I want to thank the commission for going with the more reasonable approach of a Weston and Westport Probate Court District,” said Representative John Stripp (R-135). “We all understand that the probate court system is out of money and needs to be revamped. I applaud the reform.”

“I was glad to see that the commission agreed with my testimony and proposed change to keep Westport and Weston as a contiguous District,” said State Representative Joe Mioli (D-136), whose district includes Westport. “Having a non-contiguous district with Darien and New Canaan as originally proposed, would have made things difficult for those who travel to use the court and for the Judges running for office.”

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.