2018 Connecticut General Statutes
Title 45a - Probate Courts and Procedure
Chapter 802h - Protected Persons and Their Property
Section 45a-596 - (Formerly Sec. 45-51). Parental appointment of guardian or coguardian of minor upon death of parents.

Universal Citation: CT Gen Stat § 45a-596 (2018)

(a) The parent of an unmarried minor, except a parent who has been removed as guardian of the person of the minor, may by will or other writing signed by the parent and attested by at least two witnesses appoint a person or persons as guardian or coguardians of the person of such minor, as guardian or coguardians of the estate, or both, to serve if the parents who are guardians of the minor are dead. If two or more instruments, whether by will or other writing, contain an appointment, the latest effective appointment made by the last surviving parent has priority. Such appointment shall not supersede the previous appointment of a guardian made by the court of probate having jurisdiction.

(b) The ward of such a guardian may, when he or she is over the age of twelve, apply to the court of probate in which such ward resides, for the substitution of a guardian or coguardians of the person to supersede the appointed guardian. The court of probate may, upon such application and hearing, substitute the guardian or coguardians chosen by the ward to be the guardian or coguardians of the person of the ward after consideration of the standards set forth in section 45a-617.

(c) A parental appointment becomes effective when the guardian's written acceptance is filed in the court in which the nominating instrument is probated, or, in the case of a nontestamentary nominating instrument, in the court for the probate district where the minor resides. Any guardian or coguardians appointed pursuant to this section shall receive the appointment subject to the control of the court of probate and subject to the provisions and restrictions to which the last surviving parent, as guardian, was subject at the time of such parent's decease. If the court deems it necessary for the protection of the minor, a guardian or coguardians of the person shall furnish a probate bond. A guardian or coguardians of the estate shall furnish a probate bond. Upon such acceptance of guardianship or furnishing such bond, the guardian or coguardians shall have the same power over the person and estate of such minor as guardians appointed by the court of probate.

(1949 Rev., S. 6858; P.A. 80-227, S. 5, 24; 80-476, S. 104; P.A. 86-200, S. 3; 86-264, S. 4; P.A. 96-98; P.A. 00-76, S. 1.)

History: P.A. 80-227 authorized separate appointments of guardian of person and guardian of estate where previously one appointee served in both capacities in all cases and added provisions clarifying bond requirement and respective powers and duties of guardian of the person and guardian of the estate, effective July 1, 1981; P.A. 80-476 divided section into Subsecs. and rephrased provisions; P.A. 86-200 and P.A. 86-264 included references to coguardians; P.A. 86-264 also amended Subsec. (b) by adding provision re substitution of guardian or coguardian if ward is over the age of 12; Sec. 45-51 transferred to Sec. 45a-596 in 1991; P.A. 96-98 made technical changes in Subsecs. (a) and (c) and amended Subsec. (b) by deleting provision re ability of custodial parent alone to appoint guardian; P.A. 00-76 amended Subsec. (a) to permit parental appointment of guardian or coguardian of minor child upon death of the parents by will or other writing attested by at least two witnesses, and to provide in the case of two appointing documents that the latest effective appointment prevails, amended Subsec. (b) to add provision re consideration of Sec. 45a-617 standards, amended Subsec. (c) to delete provision re written acceptance of guardianship and to provide that parental appointment becomes effective when guardian's written acceptance is filed in probate court where nomination instrument is probated, or if instrument is nontestamentary, in the court for the probate district where the minor resides, and made conforming and technical changes throughout.

Presumption that it is in child's best interest to allow a testamentary guardian named pursuant to section to serve as such is rebuttable by demonstrating, by a fair preponderance of the evidence, that it would be detrimental to the child to permit testamentary guardian to serve as such, and that detriment may be shown not just by demonstrating guardian's unfitness, but by demonstrating considerations that would be damaging, injurious or harmful to the child. 260 C. 182.

Section to be interpreted as mandating the appointment of sole surviving parent's testamentary choice of a guardian; presumption that best interests of child served by the appointment may be rebutted only by showing such appointment would be detrimental to the child. 24 CA 402.

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