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Probate Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

by Zigadto, Janet


SC20280 - Day v. Seblatnigg ("The issue that we must decide in this certified appeal, broadly stated, is whether a person who has voluntarily obtained the appointment of a conservator, and thus has not been found by a court to be incapable of managing her affairs, shares joint authority with the conservator of her estate. This issue arises in the specific context of the question of whether an inter vivos trust created by a person under a voluntary conservatorship was void ab initio because the authority to create such a trust rested exclusively with the conservator of the estate under General Statutes (Rev. to 2011) § 45a-655.

In 2011, Susan D. Elia submitted an application to the Probate Court for voluntary representation by the named defendant, Renee F. Seblatnigg, as the conservator of her estate. The Probate Court granted the application. Thereafter, Elia created an irrevocable trust and arranged for the transfer of certain assets to it. In 2014, the plaintiff, Margaret E. Day, acting in her capacity as coconservator of Elia's estate for the limited purpose of matters related to the irrevocable trust, brought this action, seeking a judgment declaring that the trust was void ab initio because Seblatnigg, as Elia's conservator, did not create and fund the trust with the approval of the Probate Court pursuant to § 45a-655 (e). Thereafter, the trial court granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and rendered judgment for the plaintiff. The defendant, First State Fiduciaries, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company that was designated as 'the protector of the . . . irrevocable trust,' appealed from the judgment to the Appellate Court, claiming, among other things, that the trial court had incorrectly determined that Elia could not create an irrevocable trust on her own behalf while she was under a voluntary conservatorship. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. Day v. Seblatnigg, 186 Conn. App. 482, 506, 199 A.3d 1103 (2018). This certified appeal followed. We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")