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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 23, 2023 11:57 AM
From: Representative Darisha K. Parker and Rep. Steven R. Malagari
To: All House members
Subject: Strengthening Pennsylvanian’s Guardianship Laws
Imagine someone else controlling your financial, medical, and personal decisions because a court ruled you are unable to do so yourself. This situation, known as guardianship, is a reality for close to 19,000 people in our state, more than half of whom are aged 60 and older. While many families rely on guardianship to care for their loved ones, the system itself is ripe for abuse — in 2019 three-court appointed guardians embezzled more than $1 million from 108 victims.
Because of this, Representative Malagari and I are introducing legislation to strengthen Pennsylvania’s guardianship laws. Our bill is a companion to legislation being sponsored by Senators Lisa Baker and Art Haywood in the Senate and has been supported by both the Pennsylvania Bar Association and Disability Rights PA in past sessions. This bill will help prevent fraud, abuse, and exploitation in our state’s guardianship system by:
  • Requiring appointment of counsel for alleged incapacitated persons, regardless of ability to pay;

  • Certifying professional guardians;

  • Ensuring that courts first explore alternatives to guardianship; and

  • Requiring that petitions for guardianship demonstrate that less restrictive alternatives were considered and why they are insufficient.
This issue affects people throughout our state from all walks of life — rich and poor, urban and rural, Republican and Democrat. Today, we ask that you join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation and help to protect our most vulnerable residents.

Introduced as HB1397