The AARP recently testified before the House Committee on Judiciary, speaking on a bill that would make it “easier for out-of-state caregivers to focus on supporting loved ones rather than navigate current law.”
Bill H6034 would adopt a “uniform law”, in other words, a law that multiple states have enacted, allowing for cooperation on and simplification of inter-state issues.
If this bill is passed, Rhode Island would adopt the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA). According to the Uniform Law Commission, which drafted the legislation, there are five key benefits of the Act:
- It clarifies state jurisdiction issues
- It facilitates the transfer of guardianships
- It enhances interstate recognition and enforcement of guardianship orders
- It simplifies communication and cooperation between courts
- It addresses emergency situations and other special cases
As of 2014, 37 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have done so. In addition to Rhode Island, the legislation will also be introduced in Georgia, New Hampshire, and Texas in 2015.
Among the organizations who support the adoption of the UAGPPJA by all states: The Alzheimer’s Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the National Guardianship Foundation, National College of Probate Judges, and the Conference of Chief Justices.
The AARP notes that one key reason they support the enacting of the UAGPPJA “is our concern over elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. The Act can reduce the incidence of elder abuse in a myriad of ways. These include:
- reducing granny-snatching — removing or enticing a vulnerable person to another state ― to gain control over a vulnerable person’s assets or life decisions through forum shopping;
- permitting a court to consider which jurisdiction can best protect a person subject to abuse;
- facilitating communication between courts in different jurisdictions about allegations of abuse; and
- transferring cases between jurisdictions to remove individuals from abusive situations.”
The AARP’s testimony is part of the organization’s ” ongoing campaign to support caregivers and improve the state’s caregiving environment.”