Too often conservatorships are regarded as permanent and rigid. However, as an individual recovers and gains independence, the conserved person should have more control over his or her own decisions. Often, the conservator's authority should decrease, and conservators who do not respect the preferences of the person in recovery should be changed.
Too often conservatorships are regarded as permanent and rigid. However, as an individual recovers and gains independence, the conserved person should have more control over his or her own decisions. Often, the conservator’s authority should decrease, and conservators who do not respect the preferences of the person in recovery should be changed.
Even if the conserved person does not want to change or remove the conservator, the Probate Court can decrease the authority of the conservator. Sometimes this can be a useful first step toward terminating a conservatorship. Because the conservator is required by law to use the least restrictive interventions, conserved persons who can show they are able to exercise greater decision-making should be able to have some of the conservator’s authority transferred back to themselves.
Conservators who routinely fail to consult with or respect the conserved person, or who act beyond the scope of their authority, should be removed.
When petitioning to have a conservator changed, it is important to have a written record of the reasons for the requested changes. This should be sufficient to force a change if the reasons are serious and well-documented. However, some judges may choose to change the scope of authority and then review the matter within a specified time frame. Probate Court judges have the authority to do that.
Judges will be more inclined to change a conservator when there are serious violations or when the petitioner can provide a qualified person willing to be appointed as conservator. The lack of individuals willing to serve as conservators is often a barrier to changing conservators; a request for a new conservator is more likely to be granted if there is a person willing to step in.
A conservatorship may be terminated when the conserved person requests in writing for the Probate Court Judge to terminate the conservatorship. Following that request, the judge must begin a hearing within 30 days (which may be continued for good cause).
If a hearing is not held or begun and continued for good cause within 30 days, the conservatorship “shall terminate.”(However, it will be necessary to have the Probate Court generate a document saying that.) To end a conservatorship, the conserved person is not required by the statute to provide medical evidence. S/he does need to show that the conservatorship is no longer necessary. That only needs to be shown by a preponderance of the evidence (less evidence than “clear and convincing”). However, judges will want evidence that there has been a change since the conservator was appointed. Sometimes that is shown by medical evidence. Although the standard of evidence is lower to end a conservatorship than to begin one, it is important to have strong evidence for the judge.
The purpose of this website is to provide a basic overview. It is not intended to give legal advice, nor is it meant to give the reader every detail about the laws.
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Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Inc., (CLRP) is a statewide non-profit agency which provides legal services to low income individuals with mental health conditions, who reside in hospitals or the community, on matters related to their treatment, recovery, and civil rights.
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Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Inc.