February 19, 2007
Four Uniform Acts Approved by the ABA
From the press release: "Four uniform acts, dealing with issues ranging from the revision of established rules governing anatomical gifts to a new law that should help prevent the abduction of children during custody proceedings, were approved today by the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates at its Midyear Meeting in Miami, Florida, Feb. 7-13. Each uniform act was drafted and approved by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 2006." [JH]
The new Uniform Anatomical Gift Act updates the act (which was originally promulgated in 1968 and adopted in every state, then again revised in 1987) in light of changes in federal law and related developments in the field of organ donation. Like the prior versions, the new UAGA provides that any individual may make an anatomical gift by signing a document of gift. No witnesses are necessary for this document, and the donor’s wishes are not subject to change by others. The revision also expands the number of individuals allowed to consent to make anatomical gifts, and encourages the use of donor registries and provides standards for their operations. It clarifies that unspecified donations should go to recognized transplant organizations responsible for allocating organs. The new UAGA has also been endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Association of Tissue Banks, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, the Cornea Society, the Eye Bank Association of America, the National Kidney Foundation, and the United Network for Organ Sharing.
The Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act provides courts with guidelines to follow during custody disputes and divorce proceedings, to help courts identify children at risk for abduction, and to provide methods to prevent that abduction. Under the act, the court hears evidence respecting the risk of abduction based upon statutorily-provide risk factors: previous abductions or attempts to abduct; threats respecting abduction; abuse of the child; domestic violence; negligence; or, refusal to obey an existing child custody order. This act relies upon the jurisdictional rules of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, and provides specific protections in cases of domestic violence. This act has also been endorsed by the ABA Family Law Section.
The Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act, like its predecessor, the Uniform Management of Institutional Funds Act, provides statutory guidelines for management, investment, and expenditures of funds held by charitable institutions. The new act expressly provides for diversification of assets, pooling of assets, and total return investment, to implement whole portfolio management, bringing the law governing charitable institutions in line with modern investment and expenditure practice. This act has also been endorsed by the ABA Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section.
The Uniform Power of Attorney Act provides a simple way for people to deal with their property by providing a power of attorney that survives the incapacity of the principal and thus avoids the need to bring expensive and time-consuming guardianship or conservatorship actions to care for assets. While the act is primarily a set of default rules that can be altered by specific provisions within a power of attorney, the act also contains safeguards for the protection of an incapacitated principal. This act requires certain powers to be expressly and specifically conferred, eliminating questions about the agent’s authority. This act has also been endorsed by the ABA Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section.
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