Serving Clients in Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield and New Haven Counties

Estate Planning, Probate and COVID-19 in Connecticut (Part One)

As the battle against the coronavirus continues, we are all seeing ways in which our daily lives are being impacted and legal services are no exception. While legal services, per se, are exempted from Governor Ned Lamont’s recent Executive Order, closing non-essential businesses in Connecticut, attorneys are actively seeking ways to deliver those services safely and in a manner which does not promote the spread of the virus. Face to face meetings have been all but eliminated and the delivery of documents is now primarily only in electronic form.

On March 23, 2020, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7K. Among a number of issues covered by the Order, the Governor has suspended all non-critical probate court operations. While the Order specifically does not preclude a probate court from holding hearings or rendering decisions, it does suspend, “all time requirements, statutes of limitation or other limitations or deadlines relating to the service of process, court proceedings or court filings”. As for the probate courts, “all time requirements or deadlines related to the Probate Courts or their judicial officials to issue notices, hold court, hear matters and/or render decisions . . .”

The result is that until the Governor lifts this order, any filing deadlines for probate documents are suspended. It does not mean that we cannot file documents. However, if documents are filed, we should expect that the courts will not immediately act on a request for hearing, absent a compelling reason to do so. Further, we may find that there will be delays in receiving decisions from the court, even with the more mundane filings. The bottom line is that probate courts, along with the rest of us may be operating at less than 100% staffing. Patience is not only a virtue, it’s a necessity for the time being.

Governor Lamont also addressed another important issue in Executive Order 7K, which I will discuss in my next post. Stay tuned. . .

Until then, if you have any questions or if we can be of any assistance, please feel free to contact me.