ULC News

Uniform Guardianship Act Recommended for Enactment by Senate Committee

  • 1.  Uniform Guardianship Act Recommended for Enactment by Senate Committee

    Posted 12-06-2018 03:09 PM

    December 6, 2018 - A new and comprehensive state law on guardianship has been recommended for state enactment by the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging.  In its recent report, Ensuring Trust: Strengthening State Efforts to Overhaul the Guardianship Process and Protect Older Americans, the Senate Aging Committee has recommended that each state legislature adopt the Uniform Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Other Protective Arrangements Act (UGCOPAA).  The UGCOPAA was drafted and approved by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) in 2017.

    The Senate Aging Committee identified persistent and widespread challenges for state guardianship systems, including: 

    • The need for greater oversight of guardians and guardianship arrangements to protect against abuse, neglect, and exploitation, and
    • The need to implement more alternatives to guardianship to promote the individual's autonomy and personal values while terminating fewer legal rights.

    Following a year-long study, the Senate Aging Committee recommends nationwide enactment of UGCOPAA to address these challenges.

    UGCOPAA is an updated version of the Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act, originally promulgated in 1969 as part of the Uniform Probate Code and revised in 1982 and 1997.  This new version is a comprehensive and modern guardianship statute that better protects the individual rights of both minors and adults subject to a guardianship or conservatorship order.  The Act promotes person-centered planning to incorporate an individual's preferences and values into a guardianship order and requires courts to order the least-restrictive means necessary for protection of persons who are unable to fully care for themselves.  The Act includes a set of optional forms to help courts implement its provisions effectively.  The Act requires individualized plans and regular monitoring.  It also promotes the use of alternatives to guardianship, including supported decision-making and other forms of assistance, and limited court orders.

    UCCOPAA was drafted by a committee of elder law experts with input from family caregivers and advocates representing AARP, the American Bar Association, the ARC, the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, the National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse, the National Guardianship Association, the National College of Probate Judges, the National Center for State Courts, the National Disability Rights Network, and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, among others.

    UGCOPAA has been adopted by the state of Maine and is under consideration in several other states.  More information about UGCOPAA can be found at the ULC's website at www.uniformlaws.org, or by direct link here.

    The ULC, now in its 127th year, comprises more than 350 practicing lawyers, governmental lawyers, judges, law professors, and lawyer-legislators from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Commissioners are appointed by their states to draft and promote enactment of uniform laws that are designed to solve problems common to all the states.

    After receiving the ULC's seal of approval, a uniform act is officially promulgated for consideration by the states, and legislatures are urged to adopt it.  Since its inception in 1892, the ULC has been responsible for more than 200 acts, among them such bulwarks of state statutory law as the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Probate Code, the Uniform Partnership Act, and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.


    Ben Orzeske, ULC Chief Counsel, borzeske@...
    Katie Robinson, ULC Communications Officer, krobinson@...

    Uniform Law Commission / 111 N. Wabash Ave., Suite 1010, Chicago IL 60602 / 312/450-6600, www.uniformlaws.org


    Katie Robinson
    Legislative Program Director
    Chicago IL