CHAPTER 801
PROBATE COURT: ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

Table of Contents

Sec. 45a-8. (Formerly Sec. 45-12). Probate Court facilities. Minimum standards. Failure to provide suitable facilities. Consolidation, separation and creation of probate districts.
Sec. 45a-8b. Extended family guardianship and assisted care pilot program. Report.
Sec. 45a-63. (Formerly Sec. 45-11e). Duties and powers of council re complaints against probate judges.
Sec. 45a-77. (Formerly Sec. 45-4d). Powers of administrator. Legislative recommendations. Regulations. Administrator to review procedures of probate courts.
Sec. 45a-79a. Probate Court Administrator's powers re deficiencies in court conduct or facilities. Hearings. Regulations. Appeals.
Sec. 45a-79b. Special assignment probate judges.
Sec. 45a-79c. Court of probate business hours.
Sec. 45a-92. (Formerly Sec. 45-26). Payments to State Treasurer.

PART I
PROBATE COURTS IN GENERAL

      Sec. 45a-8. (Formerly Sec. 45-12). Probate Court facilities. Minimum standards. Failure to provide suitable facilities. Consolidation, separation and creation of probate districts. (a) The town or towns comprising each probate district shall provide court facilities meeting the minimum standards required by this section. If a probate district consists of more than one town, the expense shall be allocated to the towns in proportion to their grand lists last perfected. Such court facilities shall include: (1) Office space appropriate for the conduct of judicial business, including (A) a room for the judge of probate sufficient in size for ordinary matters in which judicial proceedings may be conducted in private, (B) a separate room for the court staff, and (C) on a prearranged basis, access to a larger hearing room for the conduct of unusually large court hearings; (2) furniture and furnishings appropriate to a court facility; (3) use and maintenance of a copying machine and the necessary supplies; (4) use and maintenance of court record systems and equipment, including such record books and electronic, digital, microfilming or similar systems required to maintain, provide access to and produce court records, and the necessary supplies for such systems, equipment and records; (5) the necessary stationery, postage and other related supplies in order that the court may properly carry out its duties; (6) typing equipment with which to complete the necessary records; (7) basic telephone service, which shall include all local calls; (8) if a court is computerized, a dedicated telephone line and maintenance of the computer equipment; and (9) adequate liability, fire, loss, theft and replacement insurance on the furniture, furnishings, equipment, court facilities and the records of the court.

      (b) If a town or towns comprising a probate district and the responsible municipal official or officials within such probate district fail to provide the court facilities required by subsection (a) of this section, the Probate Court Administrator shall offer in writing to meet with the judge of probate of the district and the responsible official or officials to discuss such court facilities. After discussion and consideration of the circumstances of the court operations, the Probate Court Administrator may waive or modify the application of a particular requirement of subsection (a) of this section for court facilities.

      (c) If suitable court facilities are not provided in accordance with subsection (a) or (b) of this section: (1) The Probate Court Administrator shall provide written notice, by first class mail, to the judge of probate of the district and the chief executive officer of the town in which the court is located, on or before October first of any year in which suitable court facilities are not so provided. Such notice shall specify the requirements of subsection (a) or (b) of this section that are not met and shall direct the submission of a plan as required by this subdivision. Not later than January first of the year following the year in which such notice is provided, such chief executive officer, or his or her representative, shall file with the Probate Court Administrator a plan and time frame for meeting such requirements and providing suitable court facilities; (2) not later than February first of the year following the year in which notice is provided under subdivision (1) of this section, the Probate Court Administrator shall submit a report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary concerning the failure of the probate district to provide the required court facilities, which report may include a recommendation that the probate district be abolished as a separate district and be consolidated with a contiguous district where suitable court facilities can be provided; or (3) if, in the opinion of the Probate Court Administrator, abolition of the district is not in the public interest and judicial action is necessary to enforce the provision of suitable court facilities, the Probate Court Administrator shall bring an action in the Superior Court to enforce the requirements for the provision of suitable court facilities.

      (d) Any town located in a probate district that desires to (1) consolidate such probate district with one or more districts, (2) be removed from such probate district to a separate district established for any such town, or (3) be located in another probate district, may, by resolution of its legislative body, petition the General Assembly for such consolidation, separation and creation of a new probate district or relocation. The Probate Court Administrator shall provide such assistance in the preparation of the petition as the officials of the town or towns may request. At the time of submission of a petition to the General Assembly, a copy of the petition shall be sent to the judges of probate in the probate districts to be affected. No probate district may be consolidated with another district until the expiration of the term of office of any probate judge in an affected probate district.

      (e) Each judge of probate shall provide suitable records and supplies, in accordance with subsection (a) of this section, for the court in the judge's district. The judge of probate shall cause a complete record to be made of all orders passed by such court and of all wills, inventories, distributions, accounts, bonds and returns made to or lodged with such court. The expense of records, microfilming or the equipment to produce records, and of supplies which the judge deems necessary, shall be paid, upon the order of the judge, by the town or towns composing the district in proportion to their grand lists last perfected.

      (f) When the Probate Court Administrator, by regulation, requires that the courts of probate use specified forms, education materials, supplies or equipment not otherwise required by this section, they shall be furnished by the Probate Court Administrator and the expense paid from the Probate Court Administration Fund established under section 45a-82.

      (1949 Rev., S. 6820; 1969, P.A. 519, S. 1; P.A. 80-476, S. 4; P.A. 93-279, S. 1; P.A. 03-278, S. 96; P.A. 04-257, S. 66; P.A. 07-184, S. 10.)

      History: 1969 act added provision re required use of certain record books, forms, etc., stating that such record books, etc. shall be supplied by probate court administrator and paid for from fund established under Sec. 45-4h; P.A. 80-476 divided section into Subsecs. and reworded provisions; Sec. 45-12 transferred to Sec. 45a-8 in 1991; P.A. 93-279 revised section by adding provisions re minimum standards for probate court facilities, failure to provide required court facilities and consolidation, separation and creation of probate districts as Subsecs. (a) to (d), inclusive, relettering prior Subsecs. as (e) and (f) and making technical changes; P.A. 03-278 made a technical change in Subsec. (b), effective July 9, 2003; P.A. 04-257 made technical changes in Subsecs. (c) and (d), effective June 14, 2004; P.A. 07-184 amended Subsec. (a)(4) to replace "microfilming equipment and the necessary supplies, including record books or the equipment to produce records" with provision re court record systems and equipment required to maintain, provide access to and produce court records, and necessary supplies, added new Subsec. (c)(1) to require Probate Court Administrator to provide written notice to judge of probate of the district and chief executive officer of the town where court is located, on or before October first, if requirements of Subsec. (a) or (b) are not met, and require plan and time frame for meeting requirements to be filed, redesignated existing Subsec. (c)(1) and (2) as Subsec. (c)(2) and (3), amended Subsec. (c)(2) to require report not later than February first of year following the year in which notice was provided under Subdiv. (1), and made technical changes, effective July 1, 2007.

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      Sec. 45a-8b. Extended family guardianship and assisted care pilot program. Report. (a) The Probate Court Administrator shall establish, within available appropriations, an extended family guardianship and assisted care pilot program in the regional children's probate court for the district of New Haven, established pursuant to section 45a-8a, for the purpose of reducing the number of children who are placed out of their communities and in foster care due to abuse and neglect. The program shall be designed to (1) provide outreach to extended family members in the community and appoint such family members as guardians, and (2) seek volunteers to act as assisted care providers to assist guardians in caring for children. Under the program, each guardian appointed by the court shall be eligible to receive a maximum grant of five hundred dollars per child.

      (b) The Probate Court Administrator shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to implement the provisions of this section. The regulations shall establish the eligibility criteria for (1) becoming a guardian or an assisted care provider under the program, and (2) the awarding of grants pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

      (c) On or before January 1, 2009, the Probate Court Administrator, or a designee, shall report, in accordance with section 11-4a, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary and the select committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to children, on the status and effectiveness of the pilot program established pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

      (June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-4, S. 6.)

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PART IV
COUNCIL ON PROBATE JUDICIAL CONDUCT

      Sec. 45a-63. (Formerly Sec. 45-11e). Duties and powers of council re complaints against probate judges. (a) The Council on Probate Judicial Conduct shall investigate every written complaint brought before it alleging conduct of judges of probate which may violate any law or canon of ethics applicable to judges of probate, or failure to perform properly the duties of the office, or conduct prejudicial to the impartial and effective administration of justice which brings the judicial office in disrepute, or final conviction of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, or disbarment or suspension as an attorney-at-law, or the wilful failure to file a financial statement or the filing of a fraudulent financial statement required under section 45a-68. In making any such investigation the council may use the services of the Division of State Police within the Department of Public Safety, or any chief inspector, inspector or investigator in the Division of Criminal Justice, or may engage the services of private investigators if it deems such services necessary.

      (b) If (1) the complaint filed involves the judge of probate who is a member of the council, the judge shall be disqualified from acting in his capacity as a council member in the investigation and hearing on the matter, or (2) a judge of probate who is a member of the council is unable to act for any other reason, a judge of probate shall be appointed to act in his stead by the president-judge of the Connecticut Probate Assembly. If a council member appointed by the Chief Justice disqualifies himself with regard to a matter before the council, or is unable to act for any other reason, the Chief Justice shall appoint a substitute member to act in connection with such matter. If a council member appointed by the Governor disqualifies himself with regard to a matter before the council, or is unable to act for any other reason, the Governor shall appoint a substitute member to act in connection with such matter. Any substitute shall satisfy the same criteria for selection as the disqualified member.

      (c) The council may engage the services of legal counsel who shall direct any investigation ordered by the council. Such counsel may conduct the examination of witnesses, present any evidence deemed relevant, cross-examine witnesses presented by any person and perform such other duties as the council deems necessary for the conduct of its business.

      (d) The council shall not later than five days after receipt of such complaint or motion of the council notify by registered or certified mail any judge against whom such complaint is filed or motion is made and a copy of such complaint or motion shall accompany such notice. The council shall also notify the complainant of its receipt of such complaint not later than five days thereafter. Any investigation to determine whether or not there is probable cause that judicial misconduct under subsection (a) of this section has been committed shall be confidential and any individual called by the council for the purpose of providing information shall not disclose his knowledge of such investigation to a third party unless the judge requests that such investigation and disclosure be open. The judge shall have the right to appear and be heard and to offer any information which may tend to clear him of probable cause to believe that he has committed an act of judicial misconduct under subsection (a) of this section. The judge shall also have the right to be represented by legal counsel and examine and cross-examine witnesses.

      (e) The council shall, not later than seven business days after the termination of such investigation, notify the complainant and the judge that the investigation has been terminated and whether probable cause has been found that judicial misconduct under subsection (a) of this section has been committed. If the council finds that judicial misconduct under subsection (a) of this section has not been committed, but the judge has acted in a manner which gives the appearance of impropriety or constitutes an unfavorable judicial practice, the council may issue a private admonishment to the judge recommending a change in judicial conduct or practice.

      (P.A. 75-592, S. 2; P.A. 77-604, S. 27, 84; 77-614, S. 486, 610; P.A. 78-281, S. 4; P.A. 80-476, S. 21; P.A. 82-338, S. 2; P.A. 83-379, S. 1; P.A. 85-114; P.A. 90-35, S. 1; P.A. 07-115, S. 2; 07-217, S. 161.)

      History: P.A. 77-604 replaced reference to detectives with reference to chief inspectors and inspectors; P.A. 77-614 made state police department a division within the department of public safety, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 78-281 authorized investigation of wilful failure to file or filing of fraudulent financial statement; P.A. 80-476 divided section into Subsecs. and reworded provisions; P.A. 82-338 amended Subsec. (b) to permit council to hire private investigators if it deems such services necessary and added Subsec. (d) permitting employment of legal counsel to direct investigation ordered by council; P.A. 83-379 deleted former Subsec. (a), relettering former Subsecs. (b) to (d) accordingly, adding provision requiring council to investigate every written complaint and adding "conduct prejudicial to the impartial and effective administration of justice", "final conviction of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude" and "disbarment or suspension as an attorney at law" as grounds for complaint, and added Subsecs. (d) and (e) re notification of judge against whom complaint is filed and of complainant, confidentiality of investigation to determine probable cause, right to a hearing and counsel and issuance of an admonishment; P.A. 85-114 amended Subsec. (e) to require notification re probable cause; P.A. 90-35 amended Subsec. (b) by adding provision re appointment of substitute members of the council if member disqualifies himself or is unable to act for any other reason and amended Subsecs. (d) and (e) by changing "conduct" to "misconduct" and adding "private" before "admonishment"; Sec. 45-11e transferred to Sec. 45a-63 in 1991; P.A. 07-115 amended Subsec. (e) to substitute "seven business days" for "three business days" and make a technical change; P.A. 07-217 made a technical change in Subsec. (e), effective July 12, 2007.

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PART V
PROBATE COURT ADMINISTRATOR

      Sec. 45a-77. (Formerly Sec. 45-4d). Powers of administrator. Legislative recommendations. Regulations. Administrator to review procedures of probate courts. (a) The Probate Court Administrator may attend to any matters that the Probate Court Administrator considers necessary for the efficient operation of the courts of probate and for the expeditious dispatch and proper conduct of the business of such courts. The Probate Court Administrator shall administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter and the regulations issued under this section, and shall ensure performance of the duties of judges of probate and clerks of the courts of probate in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and such regulations. The Probate Court Administrator may make recommendations to the General Assembly for legislation for the improvement of the administration of the courts of probate.

      (b) (1) The Probate Court Administrator may issue and shall enforce regulations, provided such regulations are approved in accordance with subsection (c) of this section. Such regulations shall be binding on all courts of probate and shall concern the following matters for the administration of the probate court system: (A) Auditing, accounting, statistical, billing, recording, filing and other court procedures; (B) reassignment and transfer of cases; (C) training of court personnel and continuing education programs for judges of probate and court personnel; and (D) the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter and the regulations issued pursuant to this section, including, but not limited to, recovery of expenses associated with any such enforcement, as permitted by such regulations.

      (2) The Probate Court Administrator may adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, provided such regulations are approved in accordance with subsection (c) of this section. Such regulations shall be binding on all courts of probate and shall concern: (A) The availability of judges; (B) court facilities, personnel and records; (C) hours of court operation; and (D) telephone service.

      (c) (1) Either the Probate Court Administrator or the executive committee of the Connecticut Probate Assembly may propose regulations authorized under subsection (b) of this section. Any regulation proposed by the Probate Court Administrator shall be submitted to the executive committee of the Connecticut Probate Assembly for approval. Any regulation proposed by the executive committee of the Connecticut Probate Assembly shall be submitted to the Probate Court Administrator for approval. If either the Probate Court Administrator or the executive committee of the Connecticut Probate Assembly fails to approve a proposed regulation, such proposed regulation may be submitted to a panel of three Superior Court judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The panel of judges, after consideration of the positions of the Probate Court Administrator and the executive committee of the Connecticut Probate Assembly, shall either approve the proposed regulation or reject the proposed regulation.

      (2) Any proposed new regulation and any change in an existing regulation issued under this section on or after July 1, 2007, shall be submitted to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary for approval or disapproval in its entirety, provided, if more than one proposed new regulation or change in an existing regulation is submitted at the same time, said committee shall approve or disapprove all such proposed new regulations and changes in existing regulations together in their entirety. Unless disapproved by said committee within ninety days of the date of such submittal, each such regulation shall become effective on the date specified in such regulation, but not in any event until ninety days after promulgation.

      (d) The Probate Court Administrator shall regularly review the auditing, accounting, statistical, billing, recording, filing, administrative and other procedures of the courts of probate.

      (e) The Probate Court Administrator shall, personally, or by an authorized designee of the Probate Court Administrator who has been admitted to the practice of law in this state for at least five years, visit each court of probate at least once during each two-year period to examine the records and files of such court in the presence of the judge of the court or the judge's authorized designee. The Probate Court Administrator shall make any additional inquiries that the Probate Court Administrator considers appropriate to ascertain whether the business of the court, including the charging of costs and payments to the State Treasurer, has been conducted in accordance with law, rules of the courts of probate, regulations issued under this section and the canons of judicial ethics, and to obtain information concerning the business of the courts of probate which is necessary for the Probate Court Administrator to perform properly the duties of the office.

      (1967, P.A. 558, S. 8; 1971, P.A. 109; P.A. 80-476, S. 29; P.A. 81-472, S. 76, 159; P.A. 91-26; P.A. 93-279, S. 3; 93-435, S. 87; P.A. 07-184, S. 11.)

      History: 1971 act required that designee have been practicing in state for at least five years and required examination of each courts' records, etc. biennially (during even-numbered years) rather than annually; P.A. 80-476 divided section into Subsecs. and reordered and reworded provisions; P.A. 81-472 made technical changes; Sec. 45-4d transferred to Sec. 45a-77 in 1991; P.A. 91-26 amended Subsec. (b) by deleting "even-numbered year" and inserting "two-year period" in lieu thereof; P.A. 93-279 inserted new Subsec. (a) re duties of probate court administrator re matters necessary for efficient operation of probate court and recommendations to general assembly re legislation for improvement of probate courts and Subsec. (b) re regulations and procedures for adoption and approval, relettering prior Subsecs. as (c) and (d) and making technical changes; P.A. 93-435 amended the section by dividing Subsec. (b) into Subdivs. and making minor technical changes; P.A. 07-184 amended Subsec. (a) to provide that Probate Court Administrator shall administer and enforce provisions of chapter and regulations and ensure performance of duties of probate judges and clerks, amended Subsec. (b)(1) to insert "shall enforce" re regulations, insert Subpara. designators (A) to (D), and insert new provisions as Subparas. (B), (C) and (D) re reassignment and transfer of cases, training, and enforcement of chapter and regulations, redesignated existing Subsec. (b)(3) as Subsec. (c)(1), inserted new Subsec. (c)(2) re submission of proposed new regulations, on or after July 1, 2007, to General Assembly's committee on the judiciary and approval or disapproval by the committee, redesignated existing Subsecs. (c) and (d) as Subsecs. (d) and (e), and made technical changes, effective July 1, 2007.

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      Sec. 45a-79a. Probate Court Administrator's powers re deficiencies in court conduct or facilities. Hearings. Regulations. Appeals. (a) If the Probate Court Administrator determines that the business of a court of probate has not been conducted in accordance with law or the regulations issued pursuant to section 45a-77, or that the business of a court of probate is not being conducted properly or with expeditious dispatch, or that suitable court facilities are not being provided for a court of probate in accordance with subsection (a) or (b) of section 45a-8, the Probate Court Administrator may meet with the judge of such court in an effort to correct any such deficiencies. If the Probate Court Administrator determines that action under this section is warranted, the Probate Court Administrator shall give written notice of his or her determinations made under this subsection, and the reasons therefor, to the judge of such court. The Probate Court Administrator shall include with such notice the Probate Court Administrator's proposed disposition of the matter, which may include one or more of the following actions: (1) Reassignment of any case pending before such court to a special assignment probate judge or to another judge of probate by means of a citation in the manner provided in section 45a-120; (2) designation of a special assignment probate judge to assist the judge of such court in conducting the business of such court; or (3) recovery of expenses associated with any of such actions, as permitted by regulations issued pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 45a-77.

      (b) (1) Not later than ten business days after receiving written notice as provided in subsection (a) of this section, a judge of probate who is the subject of an action of the Probate Court Administrator under this section may file with the Probate Court Administrator a request for a hearing before a review panel. The review panel shall consist of (A) a judge of probate selected by the Probate Court Administrator, (B) a judge of probate selected by the judge who is the subject of the action, and (C) a judge of probate jointly selected by the judges who have been selected under subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this subdivision, except that if such judges are unable to make a joint selection, the judge of probate required under this subparagraph shall be selected by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

      (2) Not later than fifteen business days after the filing of a request for a hearing under subdivision (1) of this subsection, the review panel shall hold a hearing on the Probate Court Administrator's determination and proposed disposition of the matter. The Probate Court Administrator and the judge who is the subject of the action shall have a right to be heard and present evidence at the hearing. The Probate Court Administrator shall have the burden of proving that such judge received written notice as required by subsection (a) of this section. After the hearing, a majority of the members of the review panel may affirm, dismiss or modify the Probate Court Administrator's determination and proposed disposition of the matter under subsection (a) of this section. Either the Probate Court Administrator or such judge may request that the matter be heard on the record under sections 51-72 and 51-73.

      (c) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, if a timely request for a hearing is not filed under subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section by the judge who is the subject of the action, the Probate Court Administrator's proposed disposition of the matter under subsection (a) of this section shall take effect immediately upon the expiration of the ten-business-day period set forth in subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section.

      (2) If the Probate Court Administrator, in consultation with the Chief Court Administrator, determines that, with respect to a pending case, an emergency exists due to the fact that a probate matter has not been conducted with expeditious dispatch within the proper time frames prescribed by law, rules of the courts of probate or regulations issued pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 45a-77, the Probate Court Administrator's proposed disposition of the matter under subsection (a) of this section shall take effect when the judge who is the subject of the action receives notice as provided in subsection (a) of this section. Such proposed disposition shall be subject to such judge's right to a hearing and the decision of the review panel under subsection (b) of this section, provided the validity of any order or decree made, proceeding held or other action taken by a special assignment probate judge or another judge of probate pursuant to such proposed disposition when an emergency exists due to the fact that a matter has not been conducted with expeditious dispatch, as provided in this subdivision, shall not be affected by any subsequent decision of the review panel under subsection (b) of this section.

      (d) The Probate Court Administrator shall issue regulations pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 45a-77 concerning rules of procedure for the conduct of any hearing before a review panel under this section. Such rules of procedure shall address: (1) The notice of the Probate Court Administrator's determination and reasons therefor under subsection (a) of this section; (2) the content of a request for a hearing and any notice of hearing; (3) hearing procedures; (4) evidence; (5) subpoenas; (6) the production of documents; (7) continuances; (8) intervenors; (9) the hearing record; and (10) the right to cross-examine, present arguments and inspect and copy relevant materials.

      (e) Any judge of probate who is aggrieved by any decision under this section may appeal such decision to the superior court for the judicial district in which the probate district of such judge is located. An appeal under this subsection shall be taken within thirty days of such decision. Appeals from any such decision rendered in any case after a record is made under sections 51-72 and 51-73 shall be on the record and shall not be a trial de novo. In any such appeal, the court may grant such relief as the court determines to be appropriate.

      (P.A. 07-184, S. 12.)

      History: P.A. 07-184 effective July 1, 2007.

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      Sec. 45a-79b. Special assignment probate judges. (a) There shall be special assignment probate judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, on nomination by the Probate Court Administrator, from among the judges of probate elected as provided in section 45a-18. A nominee of the Probate Court Administrator shall have demonstrated the special skill, experience or expertise necessary to serve as a special assignment probate judge. The Probate Court Administrator shall issue regulations pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 45a-77 to establish requirements concerning the responsibilities of special assignment probate judges and the number, geographic distribution and expertise of such judges. A special assignment probate judge shall serve at the pleasure of the Chief Justice.

      (b) Subject to the approval of the Chief Court Administrator, the Probate Court Administrator shall fix the compensation of special assignment probate judges appointed pursuant to this section. Such compensation shall, on the order of the Probate Court Administrator, be paid from the Probate Court Administration Fund established under section 45a-82. Such compensation, including compensation that a special assignment probate judge receives as a judge of probate of the district to which he or she was elected, shall not exceed the compensation provided under subsection (k) of section 45a-92. A special assignment probate judge shall have such benefits as may inure to him or her as a judge of probate and shall receive no additional benefits, except compensation provided under this subsection.

      (P.A. 07-184, S. 13.)

      History: P.A. 07-184 effective July 1, 2007.

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      Sec. 45a-79c. Court of probate business hours. (a) A court of probate shall be open to the public for the conduct of court business not less than twenty hours each week, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, on a regular schedule between the hours of eight o'clock a.m. and five o'clock p.m. The judge of probate of a probate district may close a court temporarily owing to inclement weather, an emergency or other good cause. Such judge shall immediately give notice of a temporary closing to the Probate Court Administrator, together with the reason for such closing and the date and time when the court will reopen.

      (b) The Probate Court Administrator may, for good cause shown, modify the requirements of this section.

      (P.A. 07-184, S. 14.)

      History: P.A. 07-184 effective July 1, 2007.

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PART VII
PAYMENTS BY OR TO PROBATE JUDGES.
TEMPORARY FUNDING OF PROBATE COURT

      Sec. 45a-92. (Formerly Sec. 45-26). Payments to State Treasurer. (a) Payments to State Treasurer established. 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 April first of the succeeding year a 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 April first of the second and third years next following, a 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) Payments on behalf of deceased judge of probate. 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 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 statement signed under penalty of false statement showing the net income to the decedent's estate from such office for the preceding calendar year.

      (c) Amounts to be paid to State Treasurer. Each judge of probate or personal representative, except a judge of probate who is the Probate Court Administrator, shall at the time of filing such returns pay to the State Treasurer to be credited to the fund established by section 45a-82, a percentage of the annual net income from such office based on the following table in which the percentage appearing in the left column shall first be multiplied by the minimum annual compensation of a high volume court as provided in subsection (k) of this section, as in effect on the first day of July of the calendar year for which an assessment is due pursuant to this section, the product of which shall then be multiplied by the applicable percentage appearing in the right column:

First 20% of the compensation assessment rate
of a high volume court
 
$1 nominal
Next 6.67%5%
Next 6.66%10%
Next 6.67%15%
Next 6.67%25%
Next 6.66%35%
Next 13.34%50%
Next 33.33%75%
Next 33.67%80%
Next 66.67%85%
Next 133.33%95%
Excess over 333.67%, up to the maximum amount computed at 97.5% by the Probate Court Administrator
 
All over the maximum amount computed at 100% by the Probate Court Administrator.

As used in this subsection, "maximum amount" means the amount of annual net income from such office which, when applying the percentage payments set forth above, shall result in the judge of probate retaining as net compensation, after the payment of the above amounts, no more than the product resulting from the multiplication of seventy-two dollars by the annual weighted-workload of the court, as defined in regulations issued by the Probate Court Administrator pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 45a-77, but not to exceed the compensation of a high volume court as set forth in subsection (k) of this section, provided this limitation shall not apply to those courts described in subsection (k) of this section. Such payment shall be deemed to be a necessary expense of such office, but shall not be deductible from the gross income for the purpose of determining net income of such office under this section. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, the annual minimum compensation of a judge of probate shall be no less than the product resulting from the multiplication of fifteen dollars by the annual weighted-workload of the court, as defined in regulations issued by the Probate Court Administrator pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 45a-77, or no less than the judge's average compensation for the three-year period from January 1, 1996, to December 31, 1998, but, in no event shall that minimum compensation exceed that provided pursuant to subsection (k) of this section.

      (d) Payments by Probate Court Administrator. (1) Any judge of probate who is the Probate Court Administrator shall pay to the State Treasurer, to be credited to said fund, one hundred per cent of the annual net income from his office during the period of time he serves as Probate Court Administrator. (2) For the purposes of this assessment, fees received after but earned before his appointment as Probate Court Administrator shall be subject to the assessment set forth in the table in this section. Fees received after such judge of probate ceases to be the Probate Court Administrator but earned during his term as Probate Court Administrator shall be paid in full to the State Treasurer after the deduction of the expenses of his office. (3) The books and records of any judge of probate acting as Probate Court Administrator shall be audited by the Auditors of Public Accounts at the beginning of his term as Probate Court Administrator and thereafter at least annually during his term as Probate Court Administrator and upon completion of his term as Probate Court Administrator or as judge of probate whichever occurs first. (4) A judge of probate who is Probate Court Administrator shall make no expenditure in his court for salaries, equipment, or any other expenditure exceeding the sum of one hundred dollars in the aggregate, annually, without first having obtained the approval of the Chief Court Administrator.

      (e) Estimate of annual net income. (1) On or before January thirty-first of each year, each person required to make payment under this section shall estimate such annual net income and shall advise the Probate Court Administrator thereof, upon such forms and pursuant to such regulations as said administrator shall promulgate. (2) Each person who takes office as a judge of probate after February first of any calendar year, as the result of death, retirement, resignation or removal of the immediately previous incumbent of that office, shall file his estimate of annual net income with the Probate Court Administrator and shall make the necessary payment to the State Treasurer in accordance therewith not later than sixty days after taking office.

      (f) Payments to State Treasurer. If, based upon such estimate, the amount payable shall be less than one hundred dollars, the payment thereof shall be made in one payment on or before December thirty-first of the applicable year. Otherwise, the amount payable shall be made in four substantially equal installments payable on or before the last day of March, June, September and December of the applicable year, except that in the case of an estimate filed pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (e) of this section, the amount payable under such estimate shall be made in substantially equal installments on such installment payment dates next following the timely filing of such estimate in such year. The estimated payment may be amended and changed at any time during the year in which it is payable by increasing or decreasing the amount. The amount of such increase or decrease shall be paid for or adjusted in the installment or payment due at the time the estimated assessment is next payable after such amendment. The Probate Court Administrator may issue regulations pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 45a-77 to carry out the intent of this subsection.

      (g) Report of income. Upon the completion of each calendar year, and in any event on or before the first day of April of the succeeding calendar year, each person required to make payment under this section shall make 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 installments 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.

      (h) Deficiency and overpayment. If the amount already paid was less than the amount due, such person shall, on or before March first of the succeeding calendar year, pay to the State Treasurer the entire deficiency. If the amount already paid was more than the amount due, such person shall either, at his election and pursuant to regulations promulgated by the State Treasurer, be entitled to a refund of such excess payment to be paid from the fund provided by section 45a-82, or a credit in the amount of the overpayment to be charged against the future obligations of such person to said fund.

      (i) Penalty for deficiency. (1) If any estimated quarterly payments required to be paid pursuant to subsection (f) of this section are less than one-fourth of seventy per cent of the total assessment due for that year or less than one-fourth of ninety-five per cent of the assessment paid for the prior year, such person shall be obligated to pay to such fund a penalty of ten per cent of the amount of the deficiency, except that the Probate Court Administrator may waive such penalty for cause in accordance with regulations issued pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 45a-77. Any such penalty shall become payable upon demand by the Probate Court Administrator, and be due within thirty days after such demand, in accordance with regulations issued by the Probate Court Administrator, and shall be subject to interest under subdivision (2) of this subsection in the event of default in such payment. (2) Any payments required under subsection (f) or (h) of this section which are not paid at the applicable times prescribed in said subsections, and any penalty payment required under subdivision (1) of this subsection which is not timely paid, shall incur simple interest at the rate applicable under section 12-376 for delinquent payment of succession and transfer taxes where no extension has been granted, to be payable to the State Treasurer and to be added to the fund established under section 45a-82. Any alleged delinquency of a judge of probate in making payments as required under this section shall be referred by the State Treasurer to the Attorney General for such action as the Attorney General deems necessary.

      (j) Calculation of expenses; net operating loss. (1) As used in this subsection and subsections (c) to (i), inclusive, of this section, for any calendar year, the term "actual expenses incurred in connection therewith" may include as an allowable deduction the amount of any net operating loss for a prior calendar year as provided in this section. (2) The term "net operating loss" means the excess of itemized costs and expenses of office allowed by this section over the gross income. A net operating loss may be deducted in the calendar year following the year in which the net operating loss occurred, but (A) if the net income of such subsequent year is not sufficient to pay all of such net operating loss, then the balance of such net operating loss may be deducted in the second calendar year following such net operating loss; and (B) if the net income of such second calendar year is not sufficient to pay all of the remaining net operating loss, then the balance of such net operating loss may be deducted in the third calendar year following such net operating loss. In no event shall any such net operating loss or part thereof be deductible for any report beyond the third calendar year in which it occurred.

      (k) Compensation of judges in high volume courts. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (c) of this section concerning percentage payments, a judge of probate who is the judge in a court of probate designated as a high volume court shall be permitted to retain as net compensation, before the payment of any amounts due under sections 45a-34 to 45a-54, inclusive, and 45a-75, the sum which shall be the greater of (1) the net compensation resulting from the application of the percentages in subsection (c) of this section or (2) compensation earned after payment of actual expenses of the office not to exceed seventy-five per cent of the amount of the salary of a Superior Court judge as determined in accordance with subsection (a) of section 51-47 as determined on July first of the calendar year for which the assessments are being paid pursuant to this section. If a judge of probate of a high volume court leaves office during a calendar year, or if a judge of probate of a high volume court assumes office and serves during a portion of the calendar year, the minimum net compensation provided in this section shall be prorated in accordance with the number of days served during the calendar year as the numerator, and three hundred and sixty-five as the denominator, provided if the business of the court in a calendar year does not produce sufficient income with which to pay the minimum net compensation, then payment for that year shall not be extended to subsequent calendar years. For the purposes of this subsection, "high volume court" shall mean a court of probate which serves a district having an estimated population of seventy thousand or more persons as reported in the State Register and Manual for the calendar year immediately preceding (A) the year for which the judge was elected, (B) the year in which such judge was elected, or (C) any year of the term of office of such judge. The amount of assessment payable to the State Treasurer under this section shall be reduced by the amount necessary to provide to the judge the minimum compensation to which such judge is entitled under this section, and the estimates of annual net income required in subsections (e) and (f) of this section may be reduced accordingly. Minimum compensation as provided herein shall only be payable if all ordinary and necessary expenses of the court are paid.

      (1949 Rev., S. 6833; 1967, P.A. 558, S. 23; 1969, P.A. 528, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 278, S. 1; 1972, P.A. 281, S. 41; P.A. 73-365, S. 4; P.A. 74-94, S. 3, 5; P.A. 75-229; P.A. 77-576, S. 64, 65; P.A. 80-418, S. 1, 2; 80-476, S. 19; P.A. 81-472, S. 146, 147, 159; P.A. 84-24; 84-51, S. 1, 2; 84-546, S. 162, 173; P.A. 85-196; 85-613, S. 133, 154; P.A. 87-503, S. 1, 2; P.A. 88-215; P.A. 92-118, S. 3; P.A. 97-90, S. 2; P.A. 98-219, S. 1, 34; P.A. 99-84, S. 11, 12; P.A. 00-76, S. 2; 00-196, S. 26; P.A. 07-184, S. 9, 15-17.)

      History: 1967 act amended provisions to distinguish between payments made on or before March 1, 1968, and those made each year after that date and revised table, adding 78% level and revising 100% level accordingly; 1969 act divided section into Subsecs., clarified provisions with regard to required filings and payments made in first and second years after judge ceases to hold office and required filings and payments made by representative of deceased judge, added provision re successor's filing of annual net income estimate and raised penalty for underestimated payments from 9% to 10% of amount of deficiency and interest on late payments from 6% to 9% per annum; 1971 act deleted provision for monthly installments where amount payable exceeds $1,200, added exception re amendment of estimated payments and corresponding adjustment in installments, and changed basis for ineligibility for renomination or election from failure to make payments within 30 days of due date to April deadline or 60 days after any objection to report has been resolved and allowed exception to ineligibility rule if majority of chief court administrator, probate court administrator and attorney general concur; 1972 act changed basis for 68% and 78% levels in Subsec. (c) table, revising 100% level accordingly; P.A. 73-365 deleted former provisions re ineligibility for renomination or election and inserted provision which required that alleged delinquency be referred to attorney general for action; P.A. 74-94 added provisions in Subsec. (c) specifically applicable to probate court administrator's payments, audits of his books and records and expenditures; P.A. 75-229 added Subsec. (d); P.A. 77-576 changed 78% level, revising 100% level accordingly; P.A. 80-418 revised table in Subsec. (c) re "maximum amount", defined in that Subsec.; P.A. 80-476 reorganized Subsecs. and rephrased provisions but made no substantive changes; P.A. 81-472 added Subsec. (e)(2), containing language removed from Subsec. (f) and placed in (e); P.A. 84-24 amended Subsec. (i) increasing rate of interest on delinquent payments from 9% to 18%; P.A. 84-51 amended Subsec. (c) by revising table and percentage levels and made technical changes in provisions re salary of superior court judge, including deleting obsolete provisions; P.A. 84-546 changed effective date of P.A. 84-51 from January 1, 1984, to April 25, 1984, with applicability to income received during calendar years commencing on or after January 1, 1984; P.A. 85-196 amended Subsec. (f) adding exception for payments under estimates filed pursuant to Subsec. (e)(2) of this section; and amended Subsec. (i) adding provision re payment of penalty and interest in event of default of payment; P.A. 85-613 made technical change; P.A. 87-503 added Subsec. (k) re minimum compensation of judge of probate who is judge of probate court designated as a high volume court; P.A. 88-215 amended Subsec. (k) by changing population figure used in determination of high volume court from 100,000 to 70,000 people; Sec. 45-26 transferred to Sec. 45a-92 in 1991; P.A. 92-118 amended Subsec. (k) by adding phrase "or if a judge of probate of a high volume court assumes office and serves during a portion of the calendar year" in provision re prorating compensation; P.A. 97-90 amended Subsec. (f) re authority of Probate Court Administrator to adopt regulations to carry out intent of Subsec. (f), amended Subsec. (i) re estimated payments required to be paid and added provision re waiver of penalty by Probate Court Administrator and amended Subsec. (k) re year for determining "high volume court"; P.A. 98-219 amended Subsec. (c) by revising method of computation of percentage of annual net income payable to State Treasurer by probate judge, effective January 1, 1999; P.A. 99-84 amended Subsecs. (a), (b) and (g) by deleting "sworn" and inserting "signed under penalty of false statement"; P.A. 00-76 amended Subsec. (g) by deleting "March" and inserting "April"; P.A. 00-196 amended Subsec. (c) by changing "333.33%" to "333.67%" and making technical changes; P.A. 07-184 amended Subsec. (a) to substitute "April first" for "March first" and, effective July 1, 2007, made technical changes in Subsecs. (c), (f) and (i).

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