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Paul J. Knierim

Counsel
pknierim@ctseniorlaw.com
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Phone: (860) 259-1575

237 Hopmeadow St
Simsbury, Connecticut 06089

Disputes related to probate, wills and trusts, and eldercare concerns are some of the most emotionally charged conflicts that individuals and families go through. At the heart of these disagreements lie deeply personal issues related to family, independence, security and relationships. Fortunately, despite the emotional nature of these issues, it's often possible to reach resolution without resorting to litigation.

That's where Attorney Paul Knierim, a retired probate judge, comes in. As the head of our dispute resolution practice, he brings unparalleled problem-solving strategies to bear on even the most complex of issues. Dispute resolution is a voluntary process designed to help parties achieve a mutually beneficial settlement that ends a disagreement in a faster manner and at far less expense than a typical court case.

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 it's his ability to bring a sense of calm to tense situations and his skill in facilitating creative solutions that make him so good as a mediator. 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.
  • Expanded availability of social work staff to assist judges making decisions in child welfare cases.
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 25 years and have 10 nieces and nephews and 3 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
  • Dispute resolution in these areas:
    • Challenges to the validity of wills and trusts
    • Issues with estate administration and executor performance
    • Gifts and other lifetime property transfers
    • Trusts management and trustee performance problems
    • Disputes over conservatorship and elder care
    • Power of attorney problems
    • Contested guardianship of children
  • Probate and Elder Law litigation
  • Estate Planning
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
Professional Affiliations
  • Member, CT Bar – Estate and Probate section, Elder Law section, Opioid Task Force
  • Connecticut Bar Foundation
  • Connecticut Probate Assembly (Emeritus)
  • National College of Probate Judges
Present and Past Civic Activities
  • Member, Elder Justice Coalition
  • Vice President, Simsbury Cemetery Association
  • Tutor, Literacy Volunteers Greater Hartford
  • 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
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
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