OFFICE OF FISCAL ANALYSIS

Legislative Office Building, Room 5200

Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 240-0200

http: //www. cga. ct. gov/ofa

sSB-1438

AN ACT CONCERNING NOTICE OF CERTAIN PROBATE COURT HEARINGS AND THE FILING OF CERTAIN REPORTS.

As Amended by House "A" (LCO 9024)

House Calendar No. : 701

Senate Calendar No. : 517

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 08 $

FY 09 $

Probate Court

PCAF - See Below

See Below

See Below

Note: PCAF=Probate Court Administration Fund

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 08 $

FY 09 $

Various Municipalities

Savings

120,000

160,000

Explanation

The bill makes changes to the manner in which giving notice in various probate matters are delivered. In certain matters the change in notification could result in a minimal savings to the probate courts, as delivery may be less costly.

However, there are instances such as filing a claim for paternity by a putative father, where the bill requires personal or abode service instead of notice by certified mail. This change may result in a minimal cost to the probate courts, as the new required methods of delivery can be more costly. Therefore, it is unknown how many of each instance will occur; the net impact to the probate court system is indeterminate.

Additionally, the bill makes changes in probate operations as follows:

Section 501 may result in a savings to municipalities in certain probate court districts, associated with increased use of digital document storage and a corresponding reduction in microfilm. It is estimated that the towns pay approximately $250,000 annually for microfilming. The cost for digital scanning and electronic storage1 is estimated to cost the towns approximately $90,000 annually, resulting in a net savings of $160,000 ($120,000 in FY 08 due to the effective date of the bill).

Sections 502 and 506-508 expand the Probate Court Administrator's (PCA) authority to issue regulations subject to approval by the General Assembly. To the extent that the Probate Court Administrator promulgates regulations that impact budgetary items such as court personnel and salaries, a significant fiscal impact could occur, but cannot be estimated in advance.

Section 503 allows for the recovery of expenses from a probate court whose non-compliance results in enforcement action. The extent to which this may occur is unknown at this time.

Section 504 creates special assignment probate judges. The creation of additional probate judges will result in a cost to the PCAF. Since the positions are new, and are appointed by the Supreme Court's Chief Justice, it is unknown how many additional positions and their associated costs will result.

Section 505 requires the probate courts to be open to the public at least 20 hours per week, and authorizes the PCA to modify the requirements. Currently, there are 30 courts open less than 20 hours per week. The cost of keeping the additional 30 courts in operation for at least 20 hours per week may result in a significant cost to the PCAF.

Section 509 makes technical changes that are not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact.

House “A” alters how changes in probate court operations may be imposed; the impact of this change on the Probate Court Administration Fund (PCAF) and on the probate system is indeterminate. Additionally, House “A” mandates minimum standards on the operational hours of all probate courts, and creates special probate judge assignments. These two provisions may result in a significant cost to the PCAF. Finally, House “A” may result in a savings to municipalities in certain probate court districts, associated with increased use of digital document storage and a corresponding reduction in microfilm.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

The preceding Fiscal Impact statement is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for the purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.

1 Recurring costs such as licenses and internet service will be paid for by the towns.