New Procedures in Adult Guardianships and Conservatorships

July 10, 2014 § 1 Comment

SB 2240, which went into effect July 1, 2014, makes significant changes in the way we handle adult guardianships and conservatorships. You can access it at this link.

The purpose of this post is to alert you to it, and to recommend that you read and begin to apply it. In a future post, I’ll break it down further.

For now, here are some highlights from the new law:

  • The law clarifies the distinction between a conservator and a guardian. A conservator now is a person appointed by a court to “administer the property of an adult, including a person appointed under Section 93-13-251, et seq.” A guardian under the new law is a person appointed by a court to “make decisions regarding the person of an adult, including a person appointed under Section 93-13-111 and Sections 93-13-121 through 93-13-135.”
  • The new statute provides for “protective orders,” which are either emergency or permanent orders for management of a protected person’s property.
  • It states that it provides the sole jurisdictional basis for courts of this state to appoint guardians or issue protective orders.
  • It details jurisdictional and venue requirements for courts of this state to exercise jurisdiction.
  • The new provision sets out elaborate procedures for courts of Mississippi to communicate with courts of foreign states in determining jurisdiction, acquiring testimony and other evidence, and in registration of judgments. It establishes procedures for transfer of guardianships between states.
  • It creates a new Title 14, in Chapter 93. The law begins at § 93-14-101.

I can’t tell you categorically that this new law will be an improvement of the cobbled-together mishmash of provisions governing adult guardianships and conservatorships that we have now, because I have not fully digested it. I am willing to bet, however, that it will be a big help.

One improvement that this new law makes is in the area of interstate proceedings. Up to now there has been no way to transfer guardianships and conservatorships between states, and there has been no clarity in cases where elderly relatives are removed from one state and taken to another to set up fiduciary arrangements. This has been a significant problem in an age where it is more common for adult children to live in one state and the parents or elderly relatives live in another state and are in need of management.

Section 93-14-504(a) states that “This act applies to guardianship and protective proceedings begun on or after July 1, 2014.”

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