New state conservatorship law to take effect next year
District of Trumbull Probate Judge T.R. Rowe announced that Connecticut passed a new conservatorship law that affects a common probate court matter on May 24.
The law, Public Act No. 17-7, is called An Act Concerning Conservator Accountability. A conservator is someone appointed by the probate court to supervise the affairs of a person who cannot manage his or her personal care or finances without assistance. According to the Trumbull Probate Court, it oversees hundreds of such conservatorships throughout the towns of Trumbull, Easton and Monroe.
The new law will change conservator accountability in two key ways, Rowe said. The new law requires the Probate Court Administrator to develop standard, statewide policies for conservators to follow and to educate conservators about the standards and came into effect on July 1. These standardized policies will both guide conservators through their duties and also assist the court in evaluating whether the conservator has been managing the conservatorship properly.
The law also creates permits the Probate Court Administrator to audit an account managed by a conservator to ensure he or she manages it according to the court’s policies and standards of conduct. The Probate Court Administrator will have the authority to conduct these audits randomly to deter financial misconduct and it will come into effect on January 1, 2018.
“Our current conservatorship system runs quite well, but this new law will be a nice improvement. Conservators play a vital role in the lives of thousands of needy folks in our state every day,” Rowe said. “We will now have a mechanism in place for greater uniformity in the care given to conserved people.”
Rowe added, “The discretion the legislation gives to the Probate Court Administrator to randomly audit conservatorship accounts will provide additional safeguards as well.”