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AARP and ABA Release Guardianship Monitoring Report

Monday, December 17, 2007

  • Organization: AARP

At a joint press conference with Senator Gordon Smith of the Senate Aging Committee, AARP and the ABA released a new report, Guarding the Guardians: Promising Practices for Court Monitoring, at the Capitol yesterday. In the report by Naomi Karp and Erica Wood, we offer help to courts around the country to ensure that the vulnerable adults under their jurisdiction receive appropriate care and financial management by their guardians. AARP and the ABA identified exemplary courts with excellent guardianship monitoring practices. We provide a menu of promising practices that other courts can adapt and use to enhance their monitoring.

You can find the report online at http://www.aarp.org/research/legal/guardianships/2007_21_guardians.html

Senator Smith, Ranking Member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and Senator Herb Kohl, Committee Chairman, also released a guardianship report with suggestions for federal actions to improve guardianship systems. Their report can be found at http://aging.senate.gov/minority/ Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the link.

Key promising practices highlighted in the AARP/ABA report include:

o Harnessing technology to benefit guardians, courts and incapacitated people. Ramsey County, MN implemented an e-filing system so guardians can file their annual accountings online, and the system will have built-in red flags to identify irregularities that bear further investigation

o Random audits. Broward County FL randomly selects cases and requires additional financial documentation, and this has a sentinel effect on all. Arizona's guardianship certification program performs intensive random audits of all professional guardians.

o Visits to homes and institutional settings by volunteer monitors and staff investigators.

o Consistent follow-through and sanctions for malfeasance. Maricopa County, AZ uses fiduciary arrest warrants when necessary.

o A problem-solving restorative jurisprudence approach. Suffolk County, NY's model guardianship court includes mediation, a resource coordinator, volunteer advocates and the ability to integrate all pending cases involving the incapacitated person, including divorces, evictions and other matters.

If you have questions about the report or guardianship in general, contact Naomi Karp at nkarp@aarp.org or Erica Wood (ABA Commission on Law and Aging) at ericawood@staff.abanet.org Feel free to post links to the report on your websites.

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