Lisa Dedden Cooper, Manager of Advocacy for AARP Michigan, made these comments to the member of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 23:
"AARP supports the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA) because when more than one state is involved in a guardianship matter, families can get caught up in jurisdictional tangles that can cost a lot of money, delay good care, and aggravate disputes.
See infographic here: Guardianship Infographic
"Passage of Senate Bills 465 and 466 is a legislative priority for AARP.
As you may know, one out of every 7 adults in Michigan is currently serving as a caregiver for an adult family member, and more and more Michigan residents have family members who live in other states.
Most family caregivers do not end up in court. As I know from my previous work as an elder law and estate planning attorney, there are many ways that families can and do use advanced planning to minimize the need for that. Nevertheless, life happens, and sometimes guardianship or conservatorship proceedings are needed.
"The key word in the long name of this Act is Jurisdiction. The focus of the UAGPPJA is narrow. Its purpose it to establish a set of uniform rules for how courts from different states interact with each other when an adult guardianship or conservatorship case involves more than one state. The UAGPPJA would not change Michigan’s substantive guardianship laws, and it would not change the process for cases that only involve people and property within the state of Michigan.
"Adopting the UAGPPJA would also help prevent a type of elder abuse known as 'granny snatching,' an elder abuse tactic by which someone who wants control over a vulnerable individual and their assets – usually when there’s a sizeable estate involved – takes that individual across state lines and immediately files for guardianship, preventing control or contact with the individual by other family members. Granny snatching is rare, but when it happens it can be emotionally and financially devastating for families.
AARP is urging the Michigan Legislature to pass Senate Bills 465 and 466 because caring for a loved one who needs help with their day-to-day life is challenging enough even without unnecessary inter-state legal battles. This legislation is one small way to help bring families peace of mind."
See letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee here: Guardianship Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Sept 2014