National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

NARPA 2009 Workshops:

Revamping Guardianship Laws to Enhance Rights and Dignity
Tom Behrendt

Adult guardianship has historically meant the wholesale removal of one’s right to self-determination.  While there have been reforms in several states, the systems and laws in place throughout the country are archaic and woefully paternalistic.  Legal protections are lacking;  Professionalism of judges, lawyers, and court-appointed guardians is often problematic if not utterly lacking.

There are sporadic media exposes, and some of these gave rise to national task forces and “model laws.” A number of states have recently revamped their laws, but “culture change” remains needed.  We will exchange stories of successes in reforming guardianship statutes, and discuss strategies for the work yet to be done.

Resources / Materials / Links:

WINGSPAN — The Second National Guardianship Conference, Recommendations

State-Level Adult Guardianship Data: An Exploratory Survey - Erica F. Wood, ABA Commission on Law and Aging (for the National Center on Elder Abuse). August 2006.

Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act - National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws  (1997).

Uniform Probate Code - See Article V (Protection of Persons under Disability and their Property).

Guardianships: Little Progress in Ensuring Protection for Incapacitated Elderly People - US Government Accountability Office Testimony Before the Special Committee on Aging, U.S. Senate.

Illinois Guardianship Reform Project. Chicago: Equip for Equality. Contains task force findings and recommendations on determinations, monitoring, training, public education, and other issues. Morris A. Fred, J.D., Ph.D. (2001).

Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code - Article V (an outline). Robert D. Fleischner, Esq., Center for Public Representation. June 2009.

Guardianship Standards and Procedures - Robert D. Fleischner, Center for Public Representation, June 2007.

Wisconsin's Landmark Guardianship Reform. From State Adult Guardianship Legislation: Directions of Reform – 2006. Erica Wood, ABA Commission on Law and Aging.

Highlights of Public Act 07-116 -- Conservatorship Reform in Connecticut. Sally Zanger, Connecticut Legal Rights Project.   

Conservatorship Standing On One Foot: The law requires what we would want for ourselves. Sally Zanger, Connecticut Legal Rights Project.   

A short list of new duties of conservators under Connecticut Public Act 07-116.

Conservatorship in Connecticut. Written and developed by Kate McEvoy, J.D., Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut; Edited by Sally Zanger, J.D., Connecticut Legal Rights Project. June, 2009.

Connecticut:  Bolstering Procedures for Appointment and Appeal. From State Adult Guardianship Legislation: Directions of Reform – 2007. Erica Wood, ABA Commission on Law and Aging.

The issue of immunity of guardians and court-appointed attorneys for respondents in Connecticut guardianship (conservatorship) proceedings: The Second Circuit's decision in Gross v. Rell, 2009 WL 3429602 (2d Cir. 2009).