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Paul J. Knierim

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Phone: (860) 236-7673

92 Hopmeadow St
Simsbury, Connecticut 06089

145 Durham Rd Unit 9
Madison, Connecticut 06443

Attorney Paul J. Knierim practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, estate and trust administration, and resolution of probate disputes.

Paul, a retired probate judge, brings unparalleled problem-solving strategies to bear on even the most complex of issues. He also serves as a mediator to help families to resolve disputes outside of court.

Paul's experience includes more than two decades of service in the judiciary. After 10 years as judge of the Simsbury Probate Court, the Chief Justice appointed Paul to lead the state’s Probate Courts as Probate Court Administrator, a role he served from 2008 to 2019.

Paul’s experience as a lawyer and judge is enormously valuable to his clients, but he adds even more value with his ability to bring a sense of calm to tense situations and his skill in facilitating creative solutions. A problem solver with deep knowledge of probate law and keen insight into family dynamics, Paul provides objective and practical guidance to help families resolve their conflicts quickly, cost effectively, and with as little drama as possible.

During his 11 years as head of the Probate Court system, Paul was responsible for policy leadership and operation of all 54 of the state’s Probate Courts. Among his many accomplishments, he

  • Resolved decades-long debate over court reform by building consensus among judges, executive branch officials, legislators and municipal leaders
  • Enacted stronger judicial ethics codes, expanded continuing education for judges and court staff, won passage of legislation to modernize probate law and overhauled the rules of procedure that govern probate cases
  • Established better support and oversight for conservators through free online training, legally-binding standards of practice and random audits
  • Launched numerous initiatives to strengthen the professionalism of the Probate Courts, streamline court procedures and improve the customer experience

Prior to his role as Probate Court Administrator:

  • He served as Simsbury probate judge for 10 years
  • He practiced law in the areas of estate planning, probate, and family business at two Greater Hartford firms
  • He served 3 terms as State Representative in the General Assembly, where he was assistant minority leader and ranking member of the Education Committee

Paul and his husband, Greg, have been together 28 years and have 10 nieces and nephews and 4 great nieces and nephews. Outside of work, they enjoy time at the Connecticut shoreline where their favorite thing to do is boating . . . be it by sail, power, or paddle. Paul has worked on classic boat restorations and claims to be a pretty good woodworker. He is an avid runner and likes to hike Connecticut trails with Greg and their rescue dog.

What He Does
  • Estate planning
  • Estate and trust administration
  • Probate and elder law litigation
  • Mediation and arbitration in these areas:
    • Challenges to the validity of Wills and trusts
    • Issues with estate administration and executor performance
    • Gifts and other lifetime property transfers
    • Trust management and trustee performance problems
    • Disputes over conservatorship and elder care
    • Power of attorney problems
Other Impressive Things
  • JD, Yale Law School, 1989
  • BA, Williams College, summa cum laude, 1986
  • AARP, Capitol Caregiver Award recipient
  • CT Bar Association, Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award
  • National College of Probate Judges, Treat Award for Excellence
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating for Professional Excellence
  • CT Probate Assembly, Daniel F. Caruso Public Service Award, 2021
Professional Affiliations
  • CT Bar Association– Estate and Probate section, Elder Law section
  • Hartford Estate and Business Planning Council
  • Connecticut Bar Foundation
  • Hartford County Bar Association
  • Connecticut Probate Assembly (Emeritus)
  • National College of Probate Judges
Present and Past Civic Activities
  • Director and Board Secretary, Lyme Academy of Fine Arts
  • Member, Elder Justice Coalition
  • Vice President, Simsbury Cemetery Association
  • Tutor, Literacy Volunteers Greater Hartford
  • Alternate, Old Saybrook Historic District Commission
  • Trustee, Simsbury Land Trust
  • Simsbury town meeting moderator
  • Trustee, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation
  • State Representative, CT General Assembly
  • Co-Chair, Governor’s Commission on School Choice
Articles, Seminars and Other Presentations
  • Frequent speaker at continuing education programs for judges, attorneys and other professional groups, including:
    • Business and Estate Planning Council of Central Connecticut
    • State and local bar associations
    • Connecticut Hospital Association
    • Domestic Violence Task Force
    • Elder Justice Conference
    • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Connecticut chapter
    • Connecticut Probate Assembly
    • Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants
    • Western Area Agency on Aging
    • UConn and Yale Law Schools

  • Numerous presentations before General Assembly committees on legislation affecting seniors, persons with disabilities, children and probate law. Some recent examples:
  • Selected articles:
    • Op-Ed: Probate Courts are a Good Value, Connecticut Law Tribune, July 2016
    • Op-Ed: Probate Courts Protect Vulnerable Citizens from Harm, The Hartford Courant, January 2012
    • Probate Court Consolidation Yields Cost Savings and Strengthens Professionalism, Fairfield County Bar Association Newsletter, April 2011
Client Reviews
“I cannot find the words to thank all of you properly for your hard work and perseverance. It is a great relief to have gotten a just and proper ruling from the court. All of you have shown great professionalism and concern for the issues I brought before you.” J.G., Greensboro, GA
“All dealings have been excellent. Very professional organization. Great explanations of our options related to preparing a will. Clear, concise, great guidance and not trying to "sell us" on something we do not need. Administrative folks were super. All of our related paperwork was clearly tagged with what we needed to provide/sign/read /etc. Made things easy. Nice work.” L.G., Berlin, CT
“We loved working with your firm and really trust the advice. You have a well-deserved reputation and it was nice to check off a number of things that had been on our To-Do list. Although it's hard to make the time to take care of some of these matters, it is a great relief when you do so. I would definitely recommend your firm to anyone in need of the services that you provide.” L.M., Simsbury, CT
Everyone at the firm were consummate professionals. We felt completely comfortable with their guidance and were impressed by their compassion and commitment to us. R.H., Canton, CT
The attorney who served us was kind, thorough, and very responsive. He pointed out some issues in my mother's documents that could have been problematic down the road. After my mother passed, everything was as seamless as possible - a true gift at a time when life and death decisions were being made and emotions were overwhelming. J.B., Cromwell, CT
Great service, was on top of everything. I'm glad they were there to help us though a tough time. J.M., Farmington, CT
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