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Connecticut’s Probate Courts

Name of Non-Profit Agency: 
Connecticut’s Probate Courts*
Contact: 
Bonnie Bennet
Legal Counsel, Office of the Probate Court Administrator
bbennet@ctprobate.gov
860-231-2442
Who are the clients? 
Individuals petitioning the Probate Courts for assistance for family members who are unable to care for themselves, the elderly and persons with intellectual and psychiatric disabilities.
If the pro bono attorney will be appearing for the client, in what court or other forum will that appearance be? 
Most matters are heard exclusively in the Probate Court. Probate appeals are brought to the Superior Court.
What are the outcome goals of this assistance? 
That the individuals’ voices are heard and their interests are protected in these matters.
What time commitment is required to do this pro bono work? 
It varies depending on the type of case. Please refer to the above case descriptions for more information.
Where is the pro bono work done? (For example, at a legal aid office or at the pro bono attorney's office.) 

In the Probate Court, the attorney’s office, the client’s residence, and other locations in the client’s community. 

Give a short (1-paragraph) case example: 
The Probate Courts face a critical need in assigning attorneys to assist family members seeking to arrange proper care for a child whose parents are unable. For example, a grandmother brings a petition to remove her daughter and son-in-law as guardians of her grandchildren. The grandmother has been raising the children since their birth because her daughter and son-in-law have allowed their drug use and poverty to interfere with the needs of raining their small children. The grandmother loves her daughter but recognizes that the children need permanency. The Probate court may have appointed counsel to represent the minor children and the respondent parents but there is no statutory provision to the Probate Court to appoint counsel for the grandmother. Without an advocate, the grandmother has to represent herself in arguing the legal grounds for removal before the Probate Court and in the presence of her daughter, son-in-law and their attorneys.
At what time of day is the pro bono work done (example evening clinic)?: 
During business hours for court appearances, with possible after hours requirements to accommodate the clients’ schedules.
Does this pro bono work require full admission to practice in Connecticut? 
Yes