Intellectual Disability and the Probate Court

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Sean Michael Peoples, partner at Brown Paindiris & Scott, LLP

The Probate Court can assist those with intellectual disabilities. To be intellectually disabled means that an adult individual has an IQ of 69 or lower. A family member or other person can petition the Probate Court to appoint a guardian for this intellectually disabled person. Upon finding that a person is intellectually disabled, the Probate Court can appoint a guardian. A guardian is responsible for some or all of the matters related to the care of the intellectually disabled person.

A guardian may secure or consent on behalf of the intellectually disabled person the following: medical and dental care; releasing clinical records and photos; enrolling in vocational, educational or behavioral programs; a residence; and other necessary services to assist the intellectually disabled person in being able to meet his or her own essential needs. A guardian is typically prohibited from interfering with the parental rights or a marriage or a divorce of an intellectually disabled person or from consenting to experimental medical procedures, among other things.

Two types of guardians exist. A plenary guardian has the responsibility of managing all of the abovementioned facets of care for the intellectually disabled person. A limited guardian is responsible for the management of only some of the abovementioned facets of care for the intellectually disabled person.

A guardian will only be appointed upon a showing that the intellectually disabled person is at risk of harm or subject to harm. The intellectually disabled person may voice his or her preference as to who may serve as guardian, although it is ultimately left to the Probate Court to determine whether the appointment would be in the best interests of the intellectually disabled person.

In 2016, there were eight (8) guardianship appointments in the Glastonbury-Hebron Probate Court.

If you have any questions, please contact the Glastonbury-Hebron Probate Court, located at 2143 Main Street in Glastonbury. The Court's hours of operation are Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays, 8:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Telephone: (860) 652-7629.