Substitute House Bill No. 6685

Public Act No. 99-84

An Act Concerning Probate Matters.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 17a-511 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Any person who has been committed by any court to a hospital for psychiatric disabilities may be transferred to any other hospital for psychiatric disabilities upon agreement of the superintendents of the respective institutions from and to which it is desired to make such transfer, subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services, or, in the case of a person under eighteen years of age, the approval of the Commissioner of Children and Families. Such agreement shall be in writing, executed in triplicate and in accordance with a form prescribed by the Attorney General, which form shall be uniform throughout the state. One copy of such agreement shall be filed for record in the court by which such person was committed and one copy retained in the files of each of the institutions participating in such transfer. Any such agreement shall have the same effect as an order of the court committing the person named therein. The conservator, overseer or any member of the family of any person so transferred, or his or her next friend, may make application to the court which made the order of commitment, for a revocation or modification of such agreement, and thereupon such court shall order such notice of the time and place of hearing thereon as it finds reasonable and upon such hearing may revoke, modify or affirm such transfer.

(b) Any person who has been voluntarily admitted to a hospital for psychiatric disabilities pursuant to section 17a-506 may, with the informed consent of such person, be transferred to any other hospital for psychiatric disabilities. If that person is subject to the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the transfer shall require the agreement of the superintendents of the respective institutions from and to which it is desired to make the transfer and the approval of the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services. If that person is under eighteen years of age and subject to the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Children and Families, the transfer shall require the agreement of the superintendents of the respective institutions from and to which it is desired to make the transfer and the approval of the Commissioner of Children and Families. An agreement to transfer under this subsection shall be in writing, executed in triplicate and in accordance with a form prescribed by the Attorney General, which form shall be uniform throughout the state. One copy of the agreement shall be retained in the files of each of the institutions participating in the transfer and one copy shall be provided to the person who has been voluntarily admitted or to that person's authorized representative. A transfer under this subsection shall not affect the person's rights under the voluntary admission.

Sec. 2. Section 17a-685 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Any person, including the spouse, a relative or a conservator of a person sought to be committed, a physician issuing a certificate under subsection (b) of this section or the administrator of a treatment facility may make application to the Probate Court to commit a person to an inpatient treatment facility for treatment for alcohol dependency or drug dependency. The application shall be brought to the probate court for the district in which the respondent resides, or, if [his] the respondent's residence is out of state or unknown, for the district in which he or she is at the time of filing the application. In any case in which the person is being treated in a facility, and an application is filed in accordance with the provisions of this section, jurisdiction shall be vested in the probate court for the district in which the facility where such person is a patient is located. If the respondent is confined to a facility, notwithstanding the provisions of section 45a-7, the judge of probate for the district in which the application was filed shall hold the hearing on the application at the facility where such person is confined.

(b) The application shall allege that the person is an alcohol-dependent person or a drug-dependent person who is dangerous to himself or herself or dangerous to others when he or she is an intoxicated person or who is gravely disabled. The application shall contain a statement that the applicant has arranged for treatment in a treatment facility. A statement to that effect from such facility shall be attached to the application. The application shall also be accompanied by a certificate of a licensed physician who has examined the person within two days before submission of the application. The physician's certificate shall set forth the physician's findings, including clinical observation or information, or the person's medical history, in support of the allegations of the application, and a finding of whether the person presently needs and is likely to benefit from treatment, and shall include a recommendation as to the type and length of treatment and inpatient facilities available for such treatment. A physician employed by the private treatment facility to which the person is to be committed is not eligible to be the certifying physician. An application filed by a person other than the certifying physician shall set forth the facts and information upon which the applicant bases his or her allegations and the names and addresses of all physicians.

(c) Upon receipt of the application, the court shall assign a time for a hearing not later than seven business days after the date the application was filed. A copy of the application and physician's certificate and the notice of the hearing, shall be served, by a sheriff or [his] deputy sheriff, constable or indifferent person not later than three business days before the hearing on the respondent, unless the respondent is in a facility, in which case such notice shall be by regular mail. Such notice shall inform such respondent that he or she has a right to be present at the hearing, that he [, if indigent, has a right to have counsel appointed to represent him] or she has the right to counsel and, if indigent, to have counsel appointed to represent him or her, and that [he] such respondent has a right to cross-examine witnesses testifying at any hearing upon that application. The court shall cause a recording of the testimony of such hearing to be made, to be transcribed only in the event of an appeal from the decree rendered pursuant to this section. A copy of such transcript shall be furnished without charge to any appellant whom the Court of Probate finds is unable to pay for the same. The cost of said transcript shall be paid from funds appropriated to the Judicial Department. The court shall cause notice of said hearing to be given by regular mail to the respondent's next of kin, a parent or [his] legal guardian if [he] the respondent is a minor, the administrator of the treatment facility if the respondent has been committed for emergency treatment pursuant to section 17a-684, and the administrator of the treatment facility to which the respondent is to be admitted. The court may order such notice as it directs to other persons having an interest in the respondent. If the court finds such respondent is indigent or otherwise unable to pay for counsel, the court shall appoint counsel for such respondent, unless such respondent refuses counsel and the court finds that the respondent understands the nature of [his] such refusal. The court shall appoint counsel for the respondent from a panel of attorneys admitted to practice in this state provided by the Probate Court Administrator in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Probate Court Administrator in accordance with section 45a-77. The reasonable compensation of appointed counsel shall be established by, and paid from funds appropriated to, the Judicial Department. If funds have not been included in the budget of the Judicial Department for such purposes, such compensation shall be established by the Probate Court Administrator and paid from the Probate Court Administration Fund. Prior to such hearing such respondent, or [his] the respondent's counsel, in accordance with the provisions of sections 52-146d to 52-146i, inclusive, shall be afforded access to all records, including without limitation, hospital records if such respondent is hospitalized, and shall be entitled to take notes therefrom. If such respondent is hospitalized at the time of the hearing, the hospital shall make available at such hearing for use by the respondent or [his] the respondent's counsel all records in its possession relating to the condition of the respondent. Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 52-146d to 52-146i, inclusive, all such hospital records directly relating to the respondent shall be admissible at the request of any party or the Probate Court in any proceeding relating to the confinement to or release from a hospital or treatment facility. Nothing in this section shall prevent timely objections to the admissibility of evidence in accordance with the rules of civil procedure.

(d) If, after hearing all relevant evidence, including the results of any diagnostic examination, the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent is an alcohol-dependent person or a drug-dependent person who is dangerous to himself or herself or dangerous to others when he or she is an intoxicated person or who is gravely disabled, it shall make an order of commitment to a treatment facility for inpatient treatment for a period of not less than thirty nor more than one hundred eighty days. The court may not order commitment of a respondent unless it determines that the treatment facility is able to provide adequate and appropriate treatment for [him] such respondent and that the treatment is likely to be beneficial. In any proceeding pursuant to this subsection, the provisions of section 17a-686 shall apply.

(e) A person committed under this section shall remain in the custody of the administrator of the treatment facility for inpatient treatment for the commitment period unless sooner discharged under the provisions of subsection (k) of this section by the administrator of the treatment facility. At the end of the commitment period, a person committed under this section shall be discharged automatically unless the administrator, before expiration of the period, obtains a court order for recommitment pursuant to the provisions of subsection (f) of this section for inpatient treatment. When the person is discharged, the administrator shall, if recommended by the medical officer of the facility, refer the person to an outpatient treatment facility for treatment pursuant to the provisions of subsection (j) of this section.

(f) The administrator of an inpatient treatment facility, before expiration of the commitment period ordered in subsection (d) of this section, or the administrator of an outpatient treatment facility, before expiration of the outpatient treatment period set forth in subsection (j) of this section, may, on the advice of the medical officer of the facility, make application to the court for recommitment of the person to a treatment facility for inpatient treatment. An application for recommitment shall allege that the respondent is an alcohol-dependent person or a drug-dependent person who needs further inpatient treatment [and who is likely to become dangerous to himself or dangerous to others when he is an intoxicated person or likely to become gravely disabled] and is likely to benefit from such treatment, and, if the respondent is in an outpatient facility, that the respondent is not successfully participating in the outpatient program.

(g) Upon the receipt of an application for recommitment under subsection (f) of this section, the court shall assign a time for hearing no later than ten business days after the date the application was filed. A copy of the application and of the notice of the hearing, including the date fixed by the court, shall be sent by regular mail [no later than three business days] at least seven days before the hearing, to the respondent, [his] the respondent's next of kin, the original applicant under subsection (a) of this section if different from the applicant for recommitment, [his] the respondent's parents or [his] legal guardian if [he] the respondent is a minor, the administrator of the treatment facility to which the respondent is admitted or to be admitted and any other person the court believes advisable. The applicant shall be notified of the hearing date not later than three business days before the hearing.

(h) If after hearing all relevant evidence, including the results of any diagnostic examination, the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent is an alcohol-dependent person or a drug-dependent person who needs further inpatient treatment and who is likely to benefit from such treatment, and, if the respondent is in an outpatient treatment facility, that the respondent is not successfully participating in the outpatient program, it shall make an order of recommitment to an inpatient treatment facility for treatment for a period of not less than thirty nor more than one hundred eighty days. The court may not order recommitment of a respondent unless it determines that the treatment facility is able to provide adequate and appropriate treatment for [him] such respondent and that the treatment is likely to be beneficial. The court shall not make more than one recommitment order immediately following an original commitment order under subsection (d) of this section nor more than one recommitment order from an outpatient treatment facility. In any proceeding pursuant to this subsection, the provisions of section 17a-686 shall apply.

(i) A person recommitted under subsection (h) of this section who has not been discharged before the end of the recommitment period shall be discharged automatically at the expiration of that period. When the recommitted person is discharged, the administrator of the treatment facility shall, if advised to do so by the medical officer of the facility, refer the person to an outpatient treatment facility for treatment pursuant to the provisions of subsection (j) of this section.

(j) A person referred to an outpatient treatment facility pursuant to the provisions of subsection (e) or (i) of this section shall remain in outpatient treatment for a period of twelve months unless sooner discharged by the administrator of the treatment facility, on the advice of the medical officer of the facility, or unless, before expiration of the period of outpatient treatment, the administrator obtains a court order of recommitment for inpatient treatment as provided in subsection (h) of this section.

(k) The administrator of a treatment facility, on the advice of the medical officer, shall discharge a person committed or recommitted for treatment at any time before the end of the period for which [he] such person has been committed if the person is no longer an alcohol-dependent person or a drug-dependent person in need of further treatment, further treatment will not be likely to bring about significant improvement in the person's condition or treatment is no longer adequate or appropriate.

(l) If a committed or recommitted person has not been discharged pursuant to subsection (k) of this section, any responsible person, including the committed or recommitted person, may make application to the Probate Court for termination of commitment or recommitment and discharge from the treatment facility. The application shall allege that the committed or recommitted person is no longer an alcohol-dependent person or a drug-dependent person in need of further treatment, that further treatment will not be likely to bring about significant improvement in the person's condition or that treatment is no longer adequate or appropriate. Upon receipt of any such application, such court shall assign a time, not later than ten business days thereafter, and a place for hearing such application, and shall cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the applicant, the administrator of the treatment facility and any other person the court deems advisable. Such notice shall inform the applicant that he or she has the right to be present at the hearing and to present evidence at the hearing, that he or she has a right to counsel, that he or she, if indigent, has a right to have counsel appointed to represent him or her, and that [he] such applicant has a right to cross-examine witnesses at any hearing on such application. The provisions of section 17a-686 shall apply. If, after hearing, the court determines that the grounds alleged in the application exist, it shall order termination of the commitment or recommitment and discharge of the committed or recommitted person, except that the court may not order the discharge of an alcohol-dependent person or drug-dependent person who the court determines is likely to become dangerous to himself or herself or dangerous to others when he is an intoxicated person.

(m) The administrator of a treatment facility to which a committed or recommitted person has been committed or recommitted may, under such restrictions or agreements as [he] the administrator deems advisable and on the advice of the medical officer of the facility, permit the person to leave the treatment facility temporarily, in the charge of [his] such person's guardian, conservator, relatives or friends, or by himself or herself.

(n) All the expenses in connection with an application filed under sections 17a-684 to 17a-686, inclusive, shall be paid by the applicant, unless the applicant is indigent, in which case such expenses shall be paid by the state from funds appropriated to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in accordance with rates established by said department, and attorney's fees shall be established by, and paid from funds appropriated to, the Judicial Department. If funds have not been included in the budget of the Judicial Department for such attorney's fees, such fees shall be established by the Probate Court Administrator and paid from the Probate Court Administration Fund, provided in no event shall the expenses under subsection (l) of this section be paid for any one applicant for more than two hearings per year.

Sec. 3. Subsection (f) of section 19a-265 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(f) Immediately upon issuance of an emergency commitment order under subdivision (4) of subsection (c) of this section, the director of health shall petition the probate court for the district in which the person who is subject to the order resides to determine whether such commitment shall be continued. The petition shall be heard by the judge of probate for such district, except that on motion of the respondent or the judge of probate for appointment of a three-judge court, the Probate Court Administrator shall appoint a three-judge court from among the several judges of probate to conduct the hearing. Such three-judge court shall consist of at least one judge who is an attorney-at-law admitted to practice in this state. The judge of probate having jurisdiction under the provisions of this section shall be a member, provided such judge may disqualify himself or herself, in which case all three members of such court shall be appointed by the Probate Court Administrator. Such three-judge court when convened shall be subject to all of the provisions of law as if it were a single-judge court. The involuntary confinement of a person under this section by a three-judge court shall not be ordered by the court without the vote of at least two of the three judges convened hereunder. The judges of such court shall designate a chief judge from among their members. All records for any case before the three-judge court shall be maintained by the court of probate having jurisdiction over the matter as if the three-judge court had not been appointed. The hearing, whether before a one-judge or three-judge court, shall be held within ninety-six hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, of the issuance of such order of emergency commitment and the court shall cause such advanced notice as it directs thereof to be given to the person who is the subject of the order and such other persons as it may direct. The court shall determine: (1) If the person has active tuberculosis that is infectious or presents a substantial likelihood of having active tuberculosis that is infectious based upon epidemiologic, clinical, or radiographic evidence, and laboratory test results; (2) if the person poses a substantial and imminent likelihood of transmitting tuberculosis to others because of inadequate separation from others, based on a physician's professional judgment using recognized infection control principles; (3) if the person is unwilling or unable to behave so as to not expose others to risk of infection from tuberculosis; (4) if efforts have been made to educate and counsel the person about the need to avoid exposing others and required contagion precautions; (5) if the person has expressed or demonstrated an unwillingness to adhere to the prescribed course of treatment that would render the person noninfectious; (6) if efforts have been made to educate and counsel about the need to complete treatment and if reasonably appropriate enablers and incentives have been offered to facilitate the completion of treatment; and (7) whether the order is necessary and is the least restrictive alternative to protect the public health.

Sec. 4. Section 45a-604 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

As used in sections 45a-603 to 45a-622, inclusive:

(1) "Mother" means (A) a woman who can show proof by means of a birth certificate or other sufficient evidence of having given birth to a child and (B) an adoptive mother as shown by a decree of a court of competent jurisdiction or otherwise;

(2) "Father" means [(A)] a man who is a father under the law of this state [;] including a man who, in accordance with section 46b-172, executes a binding acknowledgment of paternity and [(B)] a man determined to be a father under chapter 815y;

(3) "Parent" means a mother as defined in subdivision (1) of this section or a "father" as defined in subdivision (2) of this section;

(4) "Minor" or "minor child" means a person under the age of eighteen;

(5) "Guardianship" means guardianship of the person of a minor, and includes: (A) The obligation of care and control; and (B) the authority to make major decisions affecting the minor's welfare, including, but not limited to, consent determinations regarding marriage, enlistment in the armed forces and major medical, psychiatric or surgical treatment;

(6) "Guardian" means one who has the authority and obligations of "guardianship" as defined in subdivision (5) of this section;

(7) "Termination of parental rights" means the complete severance by court order of the legal relationship, with all its rights and responsibilities, between the child and the child's parent or parents so that the child is free for adoption, except that it shall not affect the right of inheritance of the child or the religious affiliation of the child.

Sec. 5. Section 45a-629 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) When a minor is entitled to property, the court of probate for the district in which the minor resides may assign a time and place for a hearing on the appointment of a guardian of the estate of the minor. The court shall cause reasonable notice of hearing to be given to (1) the parents or guardian of the person of the minor, (2) the minor, if the minor is twelve years of age or older, and (3) such other persons as it determines. [, subject to waiver of notice, and shall also notify the minor to be present at the hearing, if he is twelve years of age or over] Any person entitled to notice of the hearing may waive such notice.

(b) If the court finds that there is no guardian of the estate of the minor, it may appoint one or both of the parents or any guardian of the person of the minor to be guardian of his or her estate. If neither parent nor the guardian of the person of the minor will accept the appointment, or if the parents or guardian of the person of the minor are not proper persons to act as guardian of his or her estate, the court may appoint any proper person or persons chosen by the minor if the minor is twelve years of age or over. If the minor neglects to make choice or fails to choose a proper person or persons or is not of sufficient age, the court of probate shall appoint some proper person or persons, who, as guardian of the estate of the minor, shall have charge of all the minor's property, whether acquired before or after the guardian's appointment, but shall have no control over [his] such minor's person. If any minor who has a guardian marries and owns or thereafter acquires property, the guardianship of such property shall continue during such person's minority. Any guardian so appointed shall give a probate bond.

Sec. 6. Section 45a-690 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

For purposes of sections 45a-690 to 45a-700, inclusive:

(a) "Sterilization" means a surgical or other medical procedure, the purpose of which is to render an individual permanently incapable of procreating;

(b) "Informed consent" means consent that is (1) based upon an understanding of the nature and consequences of sterilization; (2) given by a person competent to make such a decision, and (3) wholly voluntary and free from coercion, express or implied;

(c) "Institution" means a state school or hospital or other residential facility operated or leased by the state of Connecticut;

(d) "Best interest" shall include all of the following factors: (1) Less drastic alternative contraceptive methods have proved unworkable or inapplicable, (2) the individual is physiologically sexually mature, (3) there is no evidence of infertility, (4) the individual has the capability and a reasonable opportunity for sexual activity, (5) the individual is unable to understand reproduction or contraception and there exists the likely permanence of that inability, (6) the physical or emotional inability to care for the child, (7) the proponents of the sterilization are seeking sterilization in good faith and their primary concern is for the best interests of the respondent rather than their own convenience or the convenience of the public and (8) in the case of females, procreation would endanger the life or severely impair the health of the individual.

Sec. 7. Section 45a-700 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Nothing in sections 45a-690 to 45a-700, inclusive, shall limit surgical or other medical procedures which are medically indicated and which may result in sterilization. A hysterectomy shall not be performed for the purpose of sterilization or for the purpose of hygiene and sanitary care of a female's menses.

Sec. 8. Subsection (a) of section 46b-172a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Any person claiming to be the father of a child born out of wedlock may at any time but no later than sixty days after the date of notice under section 45a-716, file a claim for paternity with the court of probate for the district in which either the mother or the child resides, on forms provided by such court. The claim shall contain the claimant's name and address, the name and last-known address of the mother and the month and year of the birth or expected birth of the child. Within five days after the filing of a claim for paternity, the judge of the court of probate shall cause a certified copy of such claim to be mailed by certified mail to [(1) the vital records section of the Department of Public Health and (2) to] the mother or prospective mother of such child at the last-known address shown on the claim for paternity. The claim for paternity shall be admissible in any action for paternity under section 46b-160, and shall estop the claimant from denying his paternity of such child and shall contain language that he acknowledges liability for contribution to the support and education of the child after its birth and for contribution to the pregnancy-related medical expenses of the mother.

Sec. 9. (NEW) Any person appointed as guardian of the person of a minor pursuant to sections 45a-603 to 45a-624g, inclusive, of the general statutes shall report at least annually to the probate court which appointed the guardian regarding the condition of the minor.

Sec. 10. Subsection (c) of section 17a-498 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(c) The court shall require the [sworn] certificates, signed under penalty of false statement, of at least two impartial physicians selected by the court, one of whom shall be a practicing psychiatrist, both of whom shall be licensed to practice medicine in the state of Connecticut and to have been practitioners of medicine at least one year and not connected with the hospital for psychiatric disabilities to which the application is being made, [nor] or related by blood or marriage to the applicant, [nor] or to the respondent. Such certificates shall indicate that they have personally examined such person within ten days of such hearing. The court shall appoint such physicians from a panel of physicians and psychiatrists provided by the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services and such appointments shall be made in accordance with regulations to be promulgated by the Probate Court Administrator in accordance with section 45a-77. Each such physician shall make [his] a report on a separate form provided for that purpose by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and shall answer such questions as may be set forth on such form as fully and completely as reasonably possible. Such form shall include, but not be limited to questions relating to the specific psychiatric disabilities alleged, whether or not the respondent is dangerous to himself or herself or others, whether or not such illness has resulted or will result in serious disruption of the respondent's mental and behavioral functioning, whether or not hospital treatment is both necessary and available, whether or not less restrictive placement is recommended and available and whether or not respondent is incapable of understanding the need to accept the recommended treatment on a voluntary basis. Any such physician shall state upon the form the reasons for his or her opinions. Such respondent or his or her counsel shall have the right to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses who testify at any hearing on the application. If such respondent notifies the court not less than three days before the hearing that he or she wishes to cross-examine the examining physicians, the court shall order such physicians to appear. The court shall cause a recording of the testimony of such hearing to be made, to be transcribed only in the event of an appeal from the decree rendered hereunder. A copy of such transcript shall be furnished without charge to any appellant whom the Court of Probate finds unable to pay for the same. The cost of such transcript shall be paid from funds appropriated to the Judicial Department. If, on such hearing, the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person complained of has psychiatric disabilities and is dangerous to himself or herself or others or gravely disabled, it shall make an order for his or her commitment, considering whether or not a less restrictive placement is available, to a hospital for psychiatric disabilities to be named in such order, there to be confined for the period of the duration of such psychiatric disabilities or until he or she is discharged or converted to voluntary status pursuant to section 17a-506 in due course of law. Such court order shall further command some suitable person to convey such person to such hospital for psychiatric disabilities and deliver him or her, with a copy of such order and of such certificates, to the keeper thereof. In appointing a person to execute such order, the court shall give preference to a near relative or friend of the person with psychiatric disabilities, so far as it deems it practicable and judicious. Notice of any action taken by the court shall be given to the respondent and his or her attorney, if any, in such manner as the court concludes would be appropriate under the circumstances.

Sec. 11. Subsections (a) and (b) of section 45a-92 of the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Each person who is a judge of probate at any time during any calendar year shall file with the Probate Court Administrator on or before March first of the succeeding year a [sworn] statement signed under penalty of false statement showing the actual gross receipts and itemized costs of his or her office and the net income for each such calendar year. If such person ceases to hold office, he or she shall also file with the Probate Court Administrator, on or before March first of the second and third years next following, a [sworn] statement signed under penalty of false statement showing his or her net income from his or her former office for the first and second calendar years next following the calendar year in which he or she ceased to hold office. At the time of filing, each such person shall pay to the State Treasurer as hereinafter provided the sum required by this section, less sums previously paid to the State Treasurer on account. Payment shall be credited by the State Treasurer to the fund established by section 45a-82.

(b) The personal representative of each person who holds the office of judge of probate, at any time during any calendar year, and dies while in office, or within twenty-four months after ceasing to hold office, shall file with the Probate Court Administrator, on or before March first next following such death, a [sworn] statement signed under penalty of false statement showing the actual gross receipts and itemized costs of the decedent's office for the preceding calendar year and the decedent's net income from that office for such calendar year. The personal representative shall file with the Probate Court Administrator on or before March first of the second year following said death a [sworn] statement signed under penalty of false statement showing the net income to the decedent's estate from such office for the preceding calendar year.

Sec. 12. Subsection (g) of section 45a-92 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(g) Upon the completion of each calendar year, and in any event on or before the first day of March of the succeeding calendar year, each person required to make payment under this section shall make [sworn] a report signed under penalty of false statement to the Probate Court Administrator, upon forms prescribed by and subject to regulations promulgated by the administrator, of the following: (1) The gross income received by virtue of such office; (2) actual expenses incurred in connection with the office; (3) the net income of such office prior to the payment of the assessment instalments hereinbefore provided; (4) the amount paid during the preceding calendar year to the State Treasurer on account of the foregoing estimate; and (5) the amount of the difference, if any, between the amount so paid and the amount actually due. This report shall be open to public inspection.

Sec. 13. Section 45a-93 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

If a judge of probate leaves office or dies while in office, the successor to such judge in said office, shall pay to such judge or the personal representative of a deceased judge, a sum representing the accounts receivable for payments due the court in accordance with section 45a-105, as of the date of separation from said office or the date of death in the case of a judge who dies while holding such office. Determination of the basis for such accounts receivable including computation for work in process shall be made in accordance with regulations issued by the Probate Court Administrator. Any payments made to such judge or the personal representative of a deceased judge shall be subject to the provisions of section 45a-92, as amended by this act, and no such payments shall be made unless and until the accounts receivable are collected by the successor judge and no such payments shall be made except within the time for filing a [sworn] statement signed under penalty of false statement showing the actual gross receipts of the itemized costs of the office in accordance with said section 45a-92, as amended by this act. There may be deducted from any such amounts by a successor judge the cost of collection thereof, and any expenses directly attributable to the outgoing judge's or deceased judge's term of office paid by the successor judge. In no event shall any such payments exceed the maximums allowable under the provisions of said section 45a-92, as amended by this act, in any one calendar year, and in the aggregate in no event shall the total payments payable under this section exceed one hundred per cent of the average final compensation for such judge as defined in subdivision (1) of section 45a-34, except that such allowable maximum payment shall not include any amounts of money due and payable to the judge at the time of separation from the court or at the time of [his] such judge's death for amounts advanced by such judge to the court for operating expenses and not previously repaid, which amounts may be paid to such judge or personal representative upon receipt of satisfactory proof of the existence of balances due.

Sec. 14. Section 45a-111 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) No cost shall be charged for any proceedings in the settlement of the estate of any member of the armed forces who died while in service in time of war as defined in section 27-103.

(b) No fees shall be charged under sections 45a-106 to 45a-112, inclusive, or under section 45a-727 for adoption proceedings involving special needs children.

(c) If a petitioner or applicant to a court of probate claims that unless his or her obligation to pay the fees and the necessary costs of the action, including the cost of service of process, is waived, [he] such petitioner or applicant will be deprived by reason of his or her indigency of his or her right to bring a petition or application to such court or that he or she is otherwise unable to pay the fees and necessary costs of the action, he or she may file with the clerk of such court of probate an application for waiver of payment of such fees and necessary costs. Such application shall be [under oath] signed under penalty of false statement, shall state the applicant's financial circumstances, and shall identify the fees and costs sought to be waived and the approximate amount of each. If the court finds that the applicant is unable to pay such fees and costs it shall order such fees and costs waived. If such costs include the cost of service of process, the court, in its order, shall indicate the method of service authorized and the cost of such service shall be paid from funds appropriated to the Judicial Department, however, if funds have not been included in the budget of the Judicial Department for such costs, such costs shall be paid from the Probate Court Administration Fund. Any fee waived under this section shall be reimbursed to the court of probate from the funds appropriated to the Judicial Department, however, if funds have not been included in the budget of the Judicial Department for such purposes, such payment shall be made from the Probate Court Administration Fund pursuant to rules and regulations established by the Probate Court Administrator.

(d) The court may, in its discretion, postpone payment of any entry fee or other charge due under sections 45a-106 to 45a-112, inclusive, and enter any matter if it appears to the court that to require such entry fee to accompany submission of the matter would cause undue delay or hardship, but in such case the applicant, petitioner or moving party shall be liable for the entry fee and all other charges upon receipt of an invoice therefor from the court of probate.

(e) Any fee charged under the provisions of sections 45a-106 to 45a-112, inclusive, shall not be subject to the tax imposed under chapter 219.

Sec. 15. Section 45a-130 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

When a court of probate orders any person to do any act, such person shall, upon compliance with the order, make written return to the court, which shall be prima facie evidence of the due execution of the order. The court may in its discretion require that such return be [made under oath] signed under penalty of false statement.

Sec. 16. Section 45a-177 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) All conservators, guardians, persons appointed by the Court of Probate to sell land of minors and trustees, including those entrusted with testamentary trusts unless excused by the will creating the trust, shall render periodic accounts of their trusts [under oath] signed under penalty of false statement to the Court of Probate having jurisdiction for allowance, at least once during each three-year period and more frequently if required to do so by the will or trust instrument creating the trust. Periodic accounts for filing only may be submitted to the court at any time during each three-year period. Upon receipt of a periodic account, the court shall cause notice of it and of its availability for examination at the court to be given in such manner and to such parties as it deems reasonable. Any such party may apply to the court for a hearing on the account. If an application for such a hearing is not received by the court from a party in interest within the time stated in the notice, the periodic account will be filed without hearing thereon and without allowance or disallowance thereof, and shall not be recorded. At the end of each three-year period from the date of the last allowance of a periodic account, or upon the earlier receipt of a final account, there shall be a hearing on all periodic accounts not previously allowed, and the final account, if any, in accordance with sections 45a-178 and 45a-179, as amended by this act.

(b) Each such periodic account shall include an inventory of the trust estate showing fully how the principal of the fund is invested and the items of income and expenditure. If there has been no change in the identity of the items comprising the principal of the fund since the last account which has been accepted and approved, it shall not be necessary to include an inventory of the trust estate.

(c) If the estate held by any person in any such fiduciary capacity is less than two thousand dollars, or, in the case of a corporate fiduciary under the supervision of the Commissioner of Banking or any other fiduciary bonded by a surety company authorized to do business in this state, ten thousand dollars, [he] such fiduciary shall not be required to render such account unless so ordered by the court.

Sec. 17. Section 45a-179 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) When a conservator, guardian, trustee in insolvency or trustee of a testamentary trust exhibits his or her final account to the Court of Probate for allowance, the court shall appoint a time and place for a hearing on the account and shall cause notice of the hearing to be given as it directs. Such fiduciary shall [swear or affirm under oath to the truth of] sign the account under penalty of false statement.

(b) The court shall, before approving a final account of an executor or administrator, hold a hearing thereon for which notice may be given as the court shall direct, unless all parties interested in the estate sign and file in court a written waiver of such notice.

Sec. 18. Subsection (a) of section 45a-273 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The surviving spouse of any person who dies, or if there is no surviving spouse, any of the next of kin of such decedent, or if there is no next of kin or if such surviving spouse or next of kin refuses, then any suitable person whom the court deems to have a sufficient interest may, in lieu of filing an application for admission of a will to probate or letters of administration, file an affidavit or statement signed under penalty of false statement in the court of probate in the district wherein the decedent resided, stating, if such is the case, that all debts of the decedent have been paid in the manner prescribed by section 45a-392, at least to the extent of the fair value of all of the decedent's assets, when (1) such decedent leaves property of the type described in subsection (b) of this section and (2) the aggregate value of any such property as described in subsection (b) of this section does not exceed the sum of twenty thousand dollars. In addition such affidavit or statement shall state that the decedent either did, or did not, receive aid or care from the state, which shall also include aid or care from the Department of Veterans' Affairs, whichever is true.

Sec. 19. Section 45a-317 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The temporary administrator or officer appointed pursuant to the provisions of section 45a-316 shall take immediate possession of all the real and personal property of the deceased, collect the rents, debts and income thereof and do any additional acts necessary for the preservation of the estate that the court authorizes.

(b) Such administrator or officer may be authorized by the court to sell any personal property of the estate which is perishable in its nature or which the court finds cannot be retained to advantage, and may be further authorized to make up or complete any stock or materials in an unfinished state, and to continue any business, so far as may be necessary for the preservation of the same.

(c) Such administrator may be authorized by the court to sell or mortgage any real property of the estate.

(d) Such administrator or officer shall file forthwith [under oath] an inventory signed under penalty of false statement of all personal property of the deceased and, when ordered to do so, shall exhibit to the court an account of his or her actions.

(e) Such administrator or officer may be removed by the court with or without notice and a successor appointed whenever such action appears to the court advisable.

(f) Upon the appointment and qualification of the administrator or the administrator with the will annexed or the qualification of the executor, such temporary administrator or such officer shall exhibit forthwith to the court an account of his or her trust and deliver to the administrator, executor or administrator with the will annexed all of the estate of the deceased remaining in his or her hands.

Sec. 20. Section 45a-341 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) (1) An inventory of all the property of every deceased person and insolvent debtor, except real property situated outside the state, duly appraised, shall be made and [sworn to] signed under penalty of false statement by the fiduciary.

(2) When any personal property of a deceased person or insolvent debtor is outside of this state the court may receive an inventory of such property, accompanied by such evidence of its value as it deems sufficient and [sworn to] signed under penalty of false statement by the fiduciary.

(3) The inventory and appraisal of the estate of any deceased nonresident shall include only such interest as the decedent had at the time of his or her death in the real property and tangible personal property situated in this state and intangible personal property, provided intangible personal property shall not be included if the proceeding in this state with regard to such estate is ancillary to a proceeding in another jurisdiction.

(4) The fiduciary shall appraise or cause to be appraised such inventoried property at its fair market value.

(b) (1) The fiduciary shall file the inventory in the court of probate having jurisdiction of the estate of the deceased person or insolvent debtor within two months after the acceptance of the bond or other qualification of the fiduciary.

(2) The court may, for cause shown, extend the time for the filing of such inventory to not more than four months from the qualification of the fiduciary.

(c) If the court grants administration of a decedent's estate to a person other than (1) the person designated in the will as executor or successor to such executor, (2) the surviving spouse, (3) any child of the decedent or any guardian of such child as the court shall determine, (4) any grandchild of the decedent or any guardian of such grandchild as the court shall determine, (5) the decedent's parents, (6) any brother or sister of the decedent or (7) the next of kin entitled to share in the estate, the fiduciary appointed by the court shall file an inventory as required by this section prior to the sale, either under a power in the will or under the laws of this state, of any property other than real estate; except that if the fiduciary appointed is a state bank and trust company or national banking association authorized to do business in this state, such fiduciary shall not be required to file such an inventory of intangible personal property prior to sale. The fiduciary shall send a copy of such inventory to each person interested in the estate and shall notify each such person by regular mail, that a sale of certain items in the inventory is contemplated. Such notice shall inform the recipient that he or she may object to such sale by filing a notice of objection in writing with the court of probate having jurisdiction of the estate of the decedent within five days after receipt of such notice of sale. Upon receipt of such notice of objection, the court shall set a time and place for a hearing, with notice to all persons interested in the estate.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (c), upon application by the fiduciary, the court may order a sale of personal property without a hearing prior to the filing of an inventory and notice of sale, provided the court finds that an expeditious sale is necessary for the protection of the estate and a delay would cause irreparable harm to the estate.

(e) The fiduciary shall file an inventory containing a legal description of any real estate of the decedent prior to a sale pursuant to sections 45a-162 to 45a-169, inclusive, and sections 45a-427 and 45a-428.

(f) The fiduciary shall file a return of sale with the court after any sale of real estate or personal property of the decedent.

Sec. 21. Section 45a-361 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Within sixty days following the expiration of the one-hundred-fifty-day period set forth in subsection (a) of section 45a-356, the fiduciary shall file in the Court of Probate a return and list of claims [sworn to] signed under penalty of false statement by the fiduciary containing (1) a list of all persons notified pursuant to section 45a-357 and (2) a list of all claims presented to the fiduciary within such one-hundred-fifty-day period stating as to each such claim whether and to what extent such claim was allowed or rejected.

Sec. 22. Section 45a-517 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The trustee or trustees of any charitable community trust shall annually render an account [under oath] signed under penalty of false statement to the court of probate for the district in which the trust is being administered. The account shall include an inventory of the estate held by such trustee or trustees and shall state the manner in which the principal of such fund is invested and the items of income and expenditure.

(b) The court of probate shall direct the notice, if any, which shall be given of the hearing upon the adjustment and allowance of any such account. The court may adjust and allow the account and make any order necessary to secure the execution of the duties of such trustee or trustees, subject to appeal as provided for appeals from orders of the probate court.

Sec. 23. Subsection (c) of section 45a-607 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(c) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, upon receipt of an application for temporary custody under this section, the court shall promptly set the time and place for hearing to be held on such application. The court shall order notice of the hearing on temporary custody to be given by personal service in accordance with section 52-50 to both parents and to the minor, if over twelve years of age, at least five days prior to the date of the hearing, except that in lieu of personal service on a parent or the father of a child born out of wedlock who is either a petitioner or who signs under [oath] penalty of false statement a written waiver of personal service on a form provided by the Probate Court Administrator, the court may order notice to be given by certified mail, return receipt requested, deliverable to addressee only, at least five days prior to the date of the hearing. If the whereabouts of the parents are unknown, or if such delivery cannot reasonably be effected, then notice shall be ordered to be given by publication. Such notice may be combined with the notice under section 45a-609 or with the notice required under section 45a-716, as amended by this act. If the parents are not residents of the state or are absent from the state, the court shall order notice to be given by certified mail, return receipt requested, deliverable to addressee only, at least five days prior to the date of the hearing. If the whereabouts of the parents are unknown, or if delivery cannot reasonably be effected, the court may order notice to be given by publication. Any notice by publication under this subsection shall be in a newspaper which has a circulation at the last-known place of residence of the parents. In either case, such notice shall be given at least five days prior to the date of the hearing, except in the case of notice of hearing on immediate temporary custody under subsection (b) of this section. If the applicant alleges that the whereabouts of a respondent are unknown, such allegation shall be made under [oath] penalty of false statement and shall also state the last-known address of the respondent and the efforts which have been made by the applicant to obtain a current address. The applicant shall have the burden of ascertaining the names and addresses of all parties in interest and of proving to the satisfaction of the court that he or she used all proper diligence to discover such names and addresses. Except in the case of newspaper notice, such notice shall include: (1) The time and place of the hearing, (2) a copy of the application for removal or application for termination of parental rights, (3) a copy of the motion for temporary custody, (4) any affidavit or verified petition filed with the motion for temporary custody, (5) any other documents filed by the petitioner, (6) any other orders or notices made by the court of probate, and (7) any request for investigation by the Department of Children and Families or any other person or agency. Such notice shall also inform the respondent of the right to have an attorney represent him or her, and if he or she is unable to obtain or pay an attorney, the respondent may request the court of probate to appoint an attorney to represent him or her. Newspaper notice shall include such facts as the court may direct.

Sec. 24. Section 45a-609 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Upon application for removal of a parent or parents as guardian, the court shall set a time and place for hearing to be held within thirty days of the application, unless the court requests an investigation in accordance with the provisions of section 45a-619. In that case, the court shall set a day for hearing not more than thirty days following receipt of the results of the investigation.

(b) The court shall order notice of the hearing to be given by personal service in accordance with section 52-50 to both parents and to the minor, if over twelve years of age, at least ten days before the time of the hearing, except that in lieu of personal service on a parent or the father of a child born out of wedlock who is either a petitioner or who signs under oath a written waiver of personal service on a form provided by the Probate Court Administrator, the court may order notice to be given by certified mail, return receipt requested, deliverable to addressee only, at least ten days prior to the date of the hearing. If such delivery cannot reasonably be effected, then notice shall be ordered to be given by publication. If the parents reside out of or are absent from the state, the court shall order notice to be given by certified mail, return receipt requested, deliverable to addressee only, at least ten days prior to the date of the hearing. If the whereabouts of the parents are unknown, or if delivery cannot reasonably be effected, the court may order notice to be given by publication. Any notice by publication under this subsection shall be in some newspaper which has a circulation at the parents' last-known place of residence. In either case, such notice shall be given at least ten days before the time of the hearing. If the applicant alleges that the whereabouts of a respondent are unknown, such allegation shall be made under [oath] penalty of false statement and shall also state the last-known address of the respondent and the efforts which have been made by the applicant to obtain a current address. The applicant shall have the burden of ascertaining the names and addresses of all parties in interest and of proving to the satisfaction of the court that he or she used all proper diligence to discover such names and addresses. Except in the case of newspaper notice, the notice of hearing shall include the following: (1) The notice of hearing, (2) the application for removal of parent as guardian, (3) any supporting documents and affidavits filed with such application, (4) any other orders or notice made by the Court of Probate, and (5) any request for investigation by the Department of Children and Families or any other person or agency. Such notice shall also inform the respondent of the right to have an attorney represent him or her in the matter, and if he or she is unable to obtain or to pay an attorney, the respondent may request the Court of Probate to appoint an attorney to represent him or her. Newspaper notice shall include such facts as the court may direct.

(c) If a parent is over eighteen years of age he or she may sign and file a written waiver of notice with the court.

(d) Upon finding at the hearing or at any time during the pendency of the proceeding that reasonable cause exists to warrant an examination, the court, on its own motion or on motion by any party, may order the child to be examined at a suitable place by a physician, psychiatrist or licensed clinical psychologist appointed by the court. The court may also order examination of a parent or custodian whose competency or ability to care for a child before the court is at issue. The expenses of any examination, if ordered by the court on its own motion, shall be paid for by the applicant, or if ordered on motion by a party, shall be paid for by the party moving for such an examination. If such applicant or party is unable to pay the expense of any such examination, it shall be paid from the Probate Court Administration Fund, or, if the matter has been removed to the Superior Court, from funds appropriated to the Judicial Department.

Sec. 25. Section 45a-624 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

A parent or guardian, as principal, may designate a standby guardian of a minor in accordance with the provisions of sections 45a-624 to 45a-624g, inclusive. Such designation, in a form as provided in section 45a-624b, shall take effect upon the occurrence of a specified contingency, including, but not limited to, the mental incapacity, physical debilitation or death of the principal, provided a written [affidavit] statement signed under penalty of false statement has been executed pursuant to section 45a-624c that such contingency has occurred. A designation of a standby guardian shall be in writing and signed and dated by the principal with at least two witnesses. The principal shall provide a copy of such designation to the standby guardian.

Sec. 26. Section 45a-624c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

The written [affidavit] statement referred to in section 45a-624 shall be in substantially the following form:

[AFFIDAVIT] STATEMENT THAT DESIGNATION OF A STANDBY GUARDIAN

IS IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT

STATE OF )

) SS:

COUNTY OF )

I, .... of ...., [being duly sworn, depose and say] state under penalty of false statement:

THAT ...., of ...., as principal, did on ...., 19.., appoint me as standby guardian dated ...., 19.., to execute [an affidavit] a statement that a specified contingency had occurred;

THAT specified contingency was: ....

THAT specified contingency has occurred.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal under penalty of false statement.

....

Witness

 

....

....L.S.

Witness

[Subscribed and sworn to before me this .... day of ...., 19...

Commissioner of the Superior Court

Notary Public

My commission expires: ....]

Sec. 27. Section 45a-634 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Each guardian of an estate appointed by a court of probate shall make and file in the court appointing or approving [him] such guardian, under [oath] penalty of false statement within two months after the acceptance by the guardian of the trust, an inventory of all the property belonging to [his] such guardian's ward, appraised, or caused to be appraised, by such guardian, at fair market value as of the date of his or her appointment. Such inventory shall include the value of the ward's interest in all property in which the ward has a legal or equitable present interest, including, but not limited to, the ward's interest in any joint bank accounts or other jointly held property.

(b) Any guardian who fails to return the inventory to the court within that time shall be fined not more than twenty dollars.

Sec. 28. Subsection (a) of section 45a-655 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) A conservator of the estate appointed under section 45a-646, 45a-650 or 45a-654 shall, within two months after the date of his or her appointment, make and file in the Court of Probate, an inventory under [oath] penalty of false statement of the estate of his or her ward, with the properties thereof appraised or caused to be appraised, by such conservator, at fair market value as of the date of his or her appointment. Such inventory shall include the value of the ward's interest in all property in which the ward has a legal or equitable present interest, including, but not limited to, the ward's interest in any joint bank accounts or other jointly held property. The conservator shall manage all the estate and apply so much of the net income thereof, and, if necessary, any part of the principal of the property, which is required to support the ward and those members of the ward's family whom he or she has the legal duty to support and to pay [his] the ward's debts, and may sue for and collect all debts due the ward.

Sec. 29. Section 45a-659 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) If any person domiciled out of and owning real property or tangible personal property in this state is incapable of managing his or her affairs, the court of probate for the district in which the property or some part of it is situated may, on the written application of a husband, wife or relative or of a conservator, committee or guardian having charge of the person or estate of the incapable person in the state where the incapable person is domiciled and after notice pursuant to section 45a-649 or such reasonable notice as the court may order, and a hearing as required pursuant to section 45a-650 appoint a conservator of the estate for the real property and tangible personal property in this state of the incapable person pursuant to section 45a-650.

(b) If a conservator of the estate has been appointed for such an incapable person in the state of such person's domicile, (1) the court may, on application of the out-of-state conservator to act as conservator for real or tangible personal property of the incapable person in this state, appoint such person as conservator of the estate without a hearing, on presentation to the court of a certified copy of the conservator's appointment in the state of the incapable person's domicile, and (2) if the application is for the appointment of a person other than the out-of-state conservator to act as conservator of the estate, the court, at its hearing on the application, may accept a certified copy of the out-of-state appointment of a conservator as evidence of incapacity. As used in this subsection, a "conservator of the estate" in an out-of-state jurisdiction includes any person serving in the equivalent capacity in such state.

(c) The conservator of the estate for the property in this state shall give a probate bond, and shall, within two months after the date of his or her appointment, make and file in the court of probate, under [oath] penalty of false statement, an inventory of all the real property and tangible personal property in this state of the incapable person, appraised or caused to be appraised, by such conservator, at fair market value as of the date of the conservator's appointment.

(d) The proceeds of any sale of either real or tangible personal property, or both, may be transferred to the conservator, committee or guardian having charge of the person and estate of the incapable person in the state where the incapable person is domiciled, following the application and proceedings which are required by section 45a-635.

Sec. 30. Section 45a-695 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

At any hearing upon such application, the court shall receive evidence concerning the respondent's ability to give informed consent. Such evidence shall include, but shall not be limited to, [sworn] reports in writing signed under penalty of false statement from an interdisciplinary team of at least three impartial panel members appointed by the court from a panel of physicians, psychologists, educators, social and residential workers provided by the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities who have personally observed, examined or worked with such respondent at some time during the twelve months preceding such hearing. Such appointments shall be made in accordance with regulations to be promulgated by the Probate Court Administrator in accordance with section 45a-77. The reasonable compensation of such appointed panel members shall be established by the court. Such compensation shall be charged to the respondent provided, if the court finds such respondent is unable to pay such compensation, it shall be paid from funds appropriated to said advocacy office. Each such appointed panel member shall make his [sworn] or her written report under penalty of false statement on a separate form provided for that purpose by said advocacy office and shall answer such questions as may be set forth on such form as fully and completely as reasonably possible. The reports shall contain specific information regarding the respondent's ability to give informed consent and shall indicate the specific aspects of informed consent which the respondent lacks. Each such appointed panel member shall state upon the forms the reasons for his or her opinion. Such respondent or his or her counsel shall have the right to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses who testify at any hearing on the application. If such respondent or his or her counsel notifies the court not less than three days before the hearing that he or she wishes to cross-examine the appointed panel members, the court shall order such members to appear.

Sec. 31. Section 45a-716 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Upon receipt of a petition for termination of parental rights, the Court of Probate or the Superior Court, on a case transferred to it from the Court of Probate in accordance with the provisions of subsection (g) of section 45a-715, shall set a time and place for hearing the petition. The time for hearing shall be not more than thirty days after the filing of the petition.

(b) The court shall cause notice of the hearing to be given to the following persons as applicable: (1) The parent or parents of the minor child, including any parent who has been removed as guardian on or after October 1, 1973, under section 45a-606; (2) the father of any minor child born out of wedlock, provided at the time of the filing of the petition (A) he has been adjudicated the father of such child by a court of competent jurisdiction, or (B) he has acknowledged in writing to be the father of such child, or (C) he has contributed regularly to the support of such child, or (D) his name appears on the birth certificate, or (E) he has filed a claim for paternity as provided under section 46b-172a, or (F) he has been named in the petition as the father of the child by the mother; (3) the guardian or any other person whom the court shall deem appropriate; (4) the Commissioner of Children and Families. If the recipient of the notice is a person described in subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection or is any other person whose parental rights are sought to be terminated in the petition, the notice shall contain a statement that the respondent has the right to be represented by counsel and that if the respondent is unable to pay for counsel, counsel will be appointed for the respondent. The reasonable compensation for such counsel shall be established by, and paid from funds appropriated to, the Judicial Department, however, in the case of a Probate Court matter, if funds have not been included in the budget of the Judicial Department for such purposes, such compensation shall be established by the Probate Court Administrator and paid from the Probate Court Administration Fund.

(c) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, notice of the hearing and a copy of the petition, certified by the petitioner, the petitioner's agent or attorney, or the court clerk, shall be served at least ten days before the date for the hearing by personal service on the persons enumerated in subsection (b) of this section who are within the state, and by certified mail, return receipt requested, on the Commissioner of Children and Families. If the address of any person entitled to personal service is unknown, or if personal service cannot be reasonably effected within the state or if any person enumerated in subsection (b) of this section is out of the state, a judge or clerk of the court shall order notice to be given by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or by publication at least ten days before the date of the hearing. Any publication shall be in a newspaper of general circulation in the place of the last-known address of the person to be notified, whether within or without this state, or if no such address is known, in the place where the termination petition has been filed.

(d) In any proceeding pending in the Court of Probate, in lieu of personal service on a parent or the father of a child born out of wedlock who is either a petitioner or who signs under [oath] penalty of false statement a written waiver of personal service on a form provided by the Probate Court Administrator, the court may order notice to be given by certified mail, return receipt requested, deliverable to addressee only and at least ten days prior to the date of the hearing. If such delivery cannot reasonably be effected, or if the whereabouts of the parents is unknown, then notice shall be ordered to be given by publication, as provided in subsection (c) of this section.

Sec. 32. (NEW) In any matter in which a document or other writing is to be submitted under penalty of false statement, the affiant may, in lieu thereof, swear to the truth of the document or writing before any proper officer.

Sec. 33. (NEW) Whenever, under any provision of the general statutes or under any regulation adopted pursuant to the general statutes, any matter before a probate court is required or permitted to be supported, evidenced, established or proved by the sworn declaration, verification, certificate, statement, oath or affidavit, in writing of the person making the same, other than a deposition, an oath of office, an oath required to be taken before a specified official other than a notary public, an oath required pursuant to section 45a-747 of the general statutes or an affidavit submitted pursuant to section 45a-285 of the general statutes, such matter may, with like force and effect, be supported, evidenced, established or proved by the unsworn declaration, certificate, verification or statement in writing of such person which is subscribed by him under penalty of false statement and dated, in substantially the following form:

"I declare (or certify, verify or state) under penalty of false statement that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date).

Sec. 34. (NEW) Any judge of a probate court who has commenced a hearing in any contested case shall have power to continue the hearing and shall render a decision not later than one hundred twenty days from the completion date of the hearing. If a judge of a probate court fails to render a decision within one hundred twenty days from the completion date of the hearing, any party may petition the Probate Court Administrator for relief which may include reassignment of the case to another judge. Failure of a judge to render a decision in a timely manner does not deprive the court of jurisdiction over the case. The parties may waive the provisions of this section.

Approved June 3, 1999

TOP