In The Matter Of: Mary E. Bachand
The term resides, as employed in C.G.S. §45a-175(b), which establishes jurisdiction for the Probate Court in the district where a grantor of a power of attorney resides, when read in context, unambiguously means the place where a person actually lives regardless of her intention to remain there, or even an understanding of that location as the place at which she resides. Mary Bachand, a Massachusetts resident, executed a durable power of attorney, naming her husband Rene Bachand, as attorney-in-fact, Lisa Charette as successor attorney-in-fact, and Cheryl Miller-Gray as second successor attorney-in-fact. Rene Bachman died. Charette became Marys attorney-in-fact. Mary, suffering from progressive Alzheimers disease, was moved into a long-term care facility in West Hartford, Connecticut. Thereafter, Miller-Gray petitioned the West Hartford Probate Court under C.G.S. §45a-175(b) for the appointment of an auditor to examine Charettes accounts concerning Mary. Instead, the Probate Court ordered Charette to file an accounting. Charette appealed to the Superior Court which affirmed the Probate Courts decision. Charette appealed challenging, first, the Probate Courts subject matter jurisdiction under C.G.S. §45a-175(b) and arguing that Mary did not reside in West Hartford because when she moved there, she was incapable of forming any intent to reside there and her presence resembled a prolonged hospital stay not a change of residence. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment. The Probate Court had jurisdiction to order the accounting under C.G.S. §45a-175(b). Because C.G.S. §45a-175(b) establishes jurisdiction for the Probate Court in the jurisdiction where the grantor of a power of attorney residesas distinguished from the grantors domicileMarys incapacity to form any specific intent to change her domicile was irrelevant to the determination that she resided in West Hartford when other conditions of residence are undisputed. Mary was not moved for a transitory purpose akin to a temporary hospitalization, but to receive ongoing care in a residential setting for an indefinite period. Additionally, Miller-Gray had standing to make the application under C.G.S §45a-175(b) as successor attorney-in-fact. She was not then merely a contingent successor attorney-in-fact, as contended. Further, the trial court properly determined that C.G.S. §45a-175(b) does not require a showing of cause before the Probate Court may order an attorney-in-fact to account for her actions, despite any such requirement in the Superior Court.