See other bills
under the
same topic
PRIOR PRINTER'S NO. 87
PRINTER'S NO. 987
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
113
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY EICHELBERGER, SABATINA, BARTOLOTTA, RESCHENTHALER,
VULAKOVICH, COSTA, MENSCH, RAFFERTY AND BREWSTER,
JANUARY 13, 2017
AS AMENDED ON SECOND CONSIDERATION, JUNE 20, 2017
AN ACT
Amending Title 20 (Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries) of the
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in incapacitated persons,
providing for communication, visitation and interaction with
other persons and for notice to closest relatives IMMEDIATE
FAMILY of certain events.
This act shall be referred to as the "Peter Falk's Law."
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Chapter 55 of Title 20 of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes is amended by adding a subchapter to read:
SUBCHAPTER G
RIGHTS OF INCAPACITATED PERSONS
Sec.
5561. Communication, visitation and interaction with other
persons.
5562. Notice to closest relatives IMMEDIATE FAMILY of certain
events.
§ 5561. Communication, visitation and interaction with other
persons.
<--
<--
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
(a) Limitation on guardian.--
(1) Unless specifically authorized by court order, no
guardian may restrict an incapacitated person's right of
communication, visitation or interaction with other persons,
including the right to receive visitors, telephone calls or
personal mail.
(2) If an incapacitated person is unable to express
consent to communication, visitation or interaction with a
person due to a physical or mental condition, then consent of
the incapacitated person may be presumed based on the
incapacitated person's prior relationship history with the
person.
(3) A GUARDIAN SHALL COMPLY WITH A PROTECTIVE ORDER THAT
REMAINS IN EFFECT TO PROTECT THE INCAPACITATED PERSON FROM
OTHER PERSONS, EVEN IF ISSUED PRIOR TO THE APPOINTMENT OF THE
GUARDIAN.
(b) Petition by guardian for restrictions.--A guardian may,
for good cause shown, petition the court to place restrictions
on a person's ability to communicate, visit or interact with an
incapacitated person in accordance with subsection (c). Good
cause includes:
(1) THE EXISTENCE OF A PRIOR PROTECTIVE ORDER OR WHETHER
A PROTECTIVE ORDER IS BEING SOUGHT TO PROTECT THE
INCAPACITATED PERSON FROM THE PERSON SEEKING ACCESS TO THE
INCAPACITATED PERSON;
(1) (2) whether a protective order has been issued to
protect the incapacitated person from the person seeking
access to the incapacitated person;
(2) (3) whether abuse, neglect or financial exploitation
of the incapacitated person by the person seeking access to
20170SB0113PN0987 - 2 -
<--
<--
<--
<--
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
the incapacitated person has occurred or is likely to occur;
(3) (4) documented intention of the incapacitated person
to reject communication, visitation or interaction with
specific persons; or
(4) (5) any other factors deemed relevant by the court.
(c) Court order for restrictions.--
(1) A court may order restrictions placed on the
communications, visitations or interactions a person may have
with an incapacitated person upon a showing of good cause by
the guardian.
(2) In determining whether to issue an order in
accordance with paragraph (1), the following factors shall be
considered by the court:
(i) Whether a protective order has been issued to
protect the incapacitated person from the person seeking
access to the incapacitated person.
(ii) Whether the person has been charged with abuse,
neglect or financial exploitation of the incapacitated
person.
(iii) Whether the incapacitated person has expressed
an intention to reject communication, visitation or
interaction with the person.
(iv) If the incapacitated person is unable to
communicate, whether a properly executed living will,
durable power of attorney or advance directive contains a
preference by the incapacitated person with regard to the
person's communication, visitation or interaction with
the incapacitated person.
(v) Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.
(3) Prior to issuing an order under this subsection, the
20170SB0113PN0987 - 3 -
<--
<--
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
court shall consider the following:
(i) requiring reasonable time, manner or place
restrictions on communication, visitation or interaction
between the incapacitated person and the other person
based on the history between the incapacitated person and
the person or the incapacitated person's expressed
intention, or both;
(ii) requiring that communication, visitation or
interaction between the incapacitated person and the
other person be supervised; or
(iii) denying communication, visitation or
interaction between the incapacitated person and the
other person, provided that, unless the court finds that
the person poses a threat to the incapacitated person,
supervised communication, visitation or interaction shall
be ordered prior to the denial of any communication,
visitation or interaction.
(d) Other relief by court.--
(1) If an interested person, including the incapacitated
person, reasonably believes that subsection (a) or an order
issued under subsection (c)(1) has been violated, the
interested person may petition the court to:
(i) require the guardian to grant a person access to
the incapacitated person;
(ii) restrict or further restrict a person's access
to the incapacitated person;
(iii) modify the guardian's duties; or
(iv) discharge and replace the guardian as provided
by law.
(2) Notwithstanding actions available to the court under
20170SB0113PN0987 - 4 -
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
paragraph (1), a guardian who is found to be knowingly
isolating an incapacitated person and who has violated
subsection (a) or an order issued under subsection (c) shall
be subject to discharge and replacement as provided by law.
(e) Hearing.--
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the court shall
schedule a hearing on a petition filed under subsection (b)
or (d) no later than 60 days after the date that the petition
is filed. The court, in its discretion, may order mediation
to be conducted between the parties and the incapacitated
person prior to the hearing. If mediation results in
agreement of the parties and the incapacitated person with
regard to communication, visitation or interaction with the
incapacitated person, the agreement shall be approved and
incorporated in an order by the court.
(2) If the petition states that the incapacitated
person's health is in significant decline or that the
incapacitated person's death may be imminent, the court shall
conduct an emergency hearing as soon as practicable, but no
later than 10 days after the petition is filed.
(3) When a scheduling order is issued for a petition
filed under paragraph (2), the court shall also order that
supervised communication, visitation or interaction with the
incapacitated person be granted during the period prior to
the hearing.
(4) Notice of the hearing, a copy of the petition and a
copy of any order issued under paragraph (3), if applicable,
shall be personally served on the incapacitated person and
any person against whom the petition is filed.
(5) Nothing in this subsection may be construed to
20170SB0113PN0987 - 5 -
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
affect the incapacitated person's right to appear and be
heard in the proceedings.
(f) Costs and reasonable attorney fees.--
(1) The court, in its discretion, may award the
prevailing party in an action brought under this section
court costs and reasonable attorney fees, provided that an
award of court costs and reasonable attorney fees may not be
paid out of the incapacitated person's estate.
(2) The court, upon petition or upon its own initiative,
may impose upon a guardian who is found to be knowingly
isolating an incapacitated person and who has violated
subsection (a) or an order issued under subsection (c) an
appropriate sanction, including an order to pay court costs
and reasonable attorney fees of the other party or parties,
provided that no sanction may be paid out of the
incapacitated person's estate.
(F) SANCTIONS.--IF A GUARDIAN HAS VIOLATED A COURT ORDER
ISSUED UNDER THIS SUBCHAPTER, THE COURT MAY:
(1) REQUIRE THE GUARDIAN TO GRANT A PERSON ACCESS OR
PROVIDE NOTICE;
(2) RESTRICT OR REDUCE A GUARDIAN'S RIGHT TO
COMPENSATION, IF ANY;
(3) MODIFY THE GUARDIAN'S DUTIES; OR
(4) REMOVE THE GUARDIAN.
§ 5562. Notice to closest relatives IMMEDIATE FAMILY of certain
events.
(a) General rule.--A guardian shall promptly notify an
incapacitated person's closest relatives IMMEDIATE FAMILY and
any person designated by the incapacitated person to be
notified, along with the appropriate contact information, upon
20170SB0113PN0987 - 6 -
<--
<--
<--
<--
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
the guardian's knowledge that:
(1) the incapacitated person's PERMANENT residence has
changed;
(2) the incapacitated person is staying at a location
other than the incapacitated person's residence for more than
seven consecutive days;
(3) the incapacitated person is admitted to or
discharged from a nursing home or assisted-care living
facility;
(4) the incapacitated person has been admitted to a
medical facility for:
(i) emergency care in response to a life-threatening
injury or medical condition; or
(ii) acute care; or
(5) the incapacitated person has died, provided that
notification of the incapacitated person's death shall be
made in person or by telephone.
(b) Exception.--
(1) A guardian shall not be required to provide notice
in accordance with subsection (a) if:
(i) a person who is entitled to notice under
subsection (a) informs the guardian in writing that the
person does not wish to receive the notice; or
(ii) the incapacitated person or a court order has
expressly prohibited the guardian from providing notice
to the person.
(2) A guardian may not provide contact information in
accordance with subsection (a) if an order of protection or
restraining order has been issued pursuant to law against the
person on behalf of the incapacitated person.
20170SB0113PN0987 - 7 -
<--
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
(C) NOTIFICATIONS.--
(1) THE REQUIREMENT TO PROVIDE NOTICE UNDER SUBSECTION
(A) MAY BE SATISFIED BY PROVIDING NOTICE TO ALL PERSONS
DESIGNATED BY THE INCAPACITATED PERSON TO BE NOTIFIED AND TO
THE INCAPACITATED PERSON'S SPOUSE, IF THE SPOUSE IS NOT THE
GUARDIAN.
(2) IF THE INCAPACITATED PERSON HAS NO SPOUSE, OR THE
SPOUSE IS ACTING AS GUARDIAN, NOTICE SHALL BE SENT TO EACH OF
THE INCAPACITATED PERSON'S CHILDREN, IF ANY.
(3) IF THE INCAPACITATED PERSON HAS NO SPOUSE OR
SURVIVING CHILDREN, NOTIFICATION MAY BE SENT TO A BROTHER,
SISTER, GRANDCHILD OR OTHER PERSON DESIGNATED BY THE
INCAPACITATED PERSON TO BE NOTIFIED, IF ANY.
Section 2. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
20170SB0113PN0987 - 8 -
<--
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14