Thursday, January 30, 2020
The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging has released their annual update on guardianship legislation, State Adult Guardianship Legislation Summary: Directions of Reform–2019 .
Here's the introduction of the Summary:
This 2019legislative summary reviews approximately 58enactmentsfrom 33states,as compared with 29 enactments from 18 states in 2018. An earlier version of this 2018 legislative summary [January –August] was published as part of the National Guardianship Association’s 2019 NGA Legal and Legislative Review, presented at the 2019 NGA National Conference. States were active on a variety of fronts, enacting a variety of significant changes to guardianship laws.Washington became the second state, after Maine in 2018, to adopt the Uniform Guardianship, Conservatorship, and other Protective Arrangements Act (UGCOPAA). Without adopting UGCOPAA in its entirety, Nevada and New Mexico enacted certain provisions of the model law.Iowa and Mississippi also included sections from UGCOPAA in sweeping statutory reforms.To rebuild its probate code, the Virgin Islands adopted five uniform laws –Nonprobate Transfer on Death, Real Property Transfer on Death, Disclaimer of Property Interest, Custodial Trust, and Partition of Heirs.Texas and New Mexico established new programs to address guardianship abuse. Texas founded a guardianship abuse, fraud, and exploitation detection program to review guardianships and identify issues, work with courts to develop best practices, and report concerns of potential abuse, fraud, or exploitation. New Mexico created a grievance procedure, which includes mandatory court review, for complaints against guardians and conservators. Indiana, North Dakota, Nevada, and Rhode Island recognized supported decision-making agreements, bringing the total to nine states that have made these agreements legally enforceable since 2015. The acts are not uniform;provisions such as governing who may serve as a supporter, the scope of the supporter’s duties, and indemnification of third parties vary among the state statutes. Since 2011, states have enacted a total of approximately 328 adult guardianship bills–ranging from a complete revamp of code provisions to minor changes in procedure. Most of these statutory changes have advanced guardianship reform by safeguarding rights, addressing abuse, and promoting less restrictive options. The real challenge lies in turning good law into good practice.
The prior summaries, dating back to 2013, can be accessed here.