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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 5, 2021 11:37 AM
From: Senator Art Haywood
To: All Senate members
Subject: Comprehensive Guardianship Reform
 In the near future, I will reintroduce my SB 23 of last session, an update of Senator Greenleaf’s SB 884 of the 2017-18 session, to comprehensively reform guardianships in Pennsylvania.
The Joint State Government Commission’s Advisory Committee on Decedents’ Estates Laws is a standing group of attorneys and judges from across the Commonwealth who assist the General Assembly by recommending improvements to the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code and related statutes. In October 2012, the Joint State Government Commission’s Advisory Committee on Decedents’ Estates Laws issued a report entitled “Guardianship Law: Proposed Amendments to the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code.” After a thorough review, the Advisory Committee recommended extensive changes that are included in this legislation.  Their recommendations include outlining how venue in a guardianship proceeding is determined, further defining procedures and qualifications for appointing guardians, and clarifying what a guardian of an estate may do and may not do without court approval.  
In June 2011, the same Advisory Committee issued a report entitled “Powers of Attorney and Health Care Decision-Making,” which recommended making a guardian’s health care decision-making powers equivalent to those of a health care representative. This is also included in my legislation.
In addition to recommendations by the Advisory Committee above, this bill also includes provisions developed in tandem with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Advisory Council on Elder Justice in the Courts. The Council’s recommendations include certification with a background check and training for professional guardians, ensuring the right to counsel for individuals undergoing an incapacity evaluation, and ensuring all settlements and attorney fees paid through an estate are approved by the court.
Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation.