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What is an attorney and what is a guardian ad litem?

There is often confusion in probate courts between attorneys' roles and a guardian ad litem. Connecticut's probate courts try to make their processes as accessible as possible, but there are limited opportunities for courts to help people find legal representation.

When does the court need to appoint an attorney?

If a person cannot understand the process of the probate hearing or make his or her own case, that person may need an attorney. A court may have to appoint an attorney if the person is not capable of selecting or engaging one.

What's the difference between a court-appointed attorney and a guardian ad litem?

An attorney's job is to pursue the path laid out by the client. The guardian's role is to advocate for the person's best interests. These two cooperate when a guardian must choose the right path with which to direct the attorney.

What are the issues that a person may need an appointed attorney for?

An attorney may be appointed to represent someone if another party is seeking an involuntary placement in a state institution or care facility, involuntary medical procedure, the appointment or removal of a guardian, or the emancipation of a child.

How far does an attorney go for a client with a guardian ad litem?

There is no legal difference in a lawyer's scope for a person with the required faculties or a person represented by a guardian. An attorney is always supposed to zealously pursue a client's interest within the justice system.

Who else in probate proceedings needs a lawyer?

People can generally represent their own interests but a lawyer is always recommended for any party in a probate hearing to increase their chances of a successful petition.

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