A Time to Remember

Despite the cold and wet weather for this year’s Memorial Day weekend, the importance of remembering our sailors and soldiers who have paid the ultimate price was shared by many at the town’s Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade.{{more}}

Ably chaired by Kevin Gilbert, the Orange Parade Committee once again organized one of the best remembrances in our area. As the Committee says, “Memorial Day honors members of the armed forces who served in the war and lost their lives so that we may live free and in peace. Memorial Day is not to be a day of solemn mourning, but a day of reverent celebration.”

Remembering, honoring and celebrating a person’s life are important parts of grieving. And as Capt. Miguel Rodriguez, Memorial Day Celebration keynote speaker, commented to me after the ceremony, “listening” is key to helping someone overcome loss and trauma. And listen is what I and my staff at the Probate Court try to do.

After losing a loved one, going to the probate court to close out the bank accounts, file the will and deal with all the legal steps can feel overwhelming. The probate system in Connecticut is a unique legal system, geared to helping individuals who oftentimes do not have an attorney to represent them through the process.

The judge and staff is there to listen and to guide you through the probate process. And over the past few years, we have undertaken significant steps to continue and to improve on the user friendly approach of our probate courts.

Over the past year, I served on a committee of judges, lawyers and lay people spending 1,000s of hours drafting a guidebook of the probate courts for lawyers and for every day people. The Probate Court Rules of Procedure approved by the Connecticut Supreme Court will go into effect on July 1, 2013.

It is the first major revision of the Connecticut Probate Practice Book in decades and it is a detailed guide to the rules of the court. It is available online at www.ctprobate.gov and includes General Provisions, Rules for All Case Types, Rules for Specific Types, Rules for Hearings and references to the specific state statutes for probate.

When you lose your spouse, when are you supposed to go to probate court to file the will? By law, a will should be filed within 30 days of death. But oftentimes, the emotional toll of taking that step can hinder the statutory time line. If you are unsure of what to do, call the court or stop by with your questions. We are here to listen to you. The forms you need, the new Rules of Procedure that may help, booklets to guide you can all readily be obtained from the court staff.

Taking the first step after losing a loved one is difficult. Going to the probate court where we can listen and guide you may help you along the way. Memorial Day is celebrated once a year to ensure that we as Americans always remember and always celebrate the dedicated lives paid to keep our freedoms. But every day is memorial day to remember with joy and with tears the lives of all our loved ones.

The Milford-Orange Probate Court is located at the Parsons Complex, 70 W. River St., Milford. Hours are Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Telephone inquiries may be made to: 203-783-3205.