2020 – CEAR Legislative Priorities for Seniors and Dependent Adults
CEAR’s legislative objectives require wholesale restructure of guardianship adjudication in each state to ensure the protection of America’s vulnerable adults and their estates.
FEDERAL – Support passage of the Guardianship Accountability Act in the 116th Congress S.591/H.R.4174
Bipartisan bill introduced by leadership of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Requires accountability by states to annually report census and total assets(including trust assets) assumed by the appointment of a guardianship. Integrate reporting through the federal Elder Justice Coordinating Counsel to ensure state entities are accountability to federal entitlements.
Guardianship/Conservatorship Reform Priorities for each State
Court proceedings transparency. Video record all hearings and make available for public purchase. Require all guardianship/conservatorship/probate records be available digitally to the public including medical and financial related documents. No sealing of records. Redactions allowed as appropriate.
Single state level appeal “jury of your peers” to rule on all contested guardianships de novo(from the beginning). Serves in lieu of the current appeal process which 1)only reviews a contested order and 2)considers all previous orders valid. Process would identify dysfunctional courtrooms and implement corrective actions to ensure estate documents and state and federal laws are protected.
Free counsel for all proposed wards appointed by independent third party managed lottery. Remove the conflict of interest for court appointees to promote and protect professional guardianships to gain access to compensation from an estate.
Dedicated federal, or state, investigation teams for theft, exploitation, fraud, racketeering, and trafficking of vulnerable adults. Resource multidisciplinary investigation teams to prosecute perpetrators who use the equity court system to financially exploit the vulnerable or criminally convict the innocent.
Formalize law enforcement referrals within equity courts to investigate all criminal complaints, especially complaints to create a guardianship or deny estate documents. Criminally prosecute abusers to ensure a criminal record that prevents future involvement with vulnerable adults.
A single third party statewide financial auditing and investigation board with law enforcement referral powers for all guardianships. Responsible for all guardianship account auditing and managing census and total assets(including trust assets) as defined in HB4174.