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Supreme Court case will determine guardianship of minor

Many people need others to take responsibility for their finances, basic needs or other aspects of life. All children start out as someone else's responsibility, while many senior citizens and some people with disabilities may find themselves subject to the need for help again.

Guardians are appointed by probate courts in Connecticut so that people have someone who is legally responsible for these needs. If there are disagreements about who should be a guardian or how they may act, courts may help resolve these problems.

A current case before the Connecticut Supreme Court involves legal guardianship for the daughter of a victim of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The victim's wife was pregnant at the time of his death with the now-16-year-old daughter who is due more than $1 million from the September 11 Victims' Compensation Fund.

A court-appointed guardian currently has power over the disbursement, after allegations that the girl's mother was spending part of the money on her own. A lawyer for the mother claims his client was materially damaged by these charges and is seeking the removal of the guardian.

If the suit is successful, the girl's mother will have primary responsibility for using the money for the daughter's well-being. This includes her education and health care as well as basic support.

Family and friends of people with special legal needs who are concerned about the actions of a guardian or conservator may seek legal help to investigate or correct these issues. An attorney can represent a claimant in probate court or further up the legal path.

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