Strengthened Laws to Protect Alleged Incapacitated Pennsylvanians Recommended
On April 21, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Advisory Council on Elder Justice in the Courts issued recommendations designed to protect individuals who are alleged to be incapacitated. The new recommendations follow the 2018 adoption of new guardianship rules by the Pennsylvania’s Orphans’ Court Procedural Rules Committee that were also designed to protect the rights of alleged incapacitated persons.
The most notable Advisory Council recommendation is to require that counsel be appointed in all guardianship proceedings. Currently alleged incapacitated persons may, at the court’s discretion, have an attorney appointed to represent them in Orphans’ Court proceedings, but the law does not require it.
According to an Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts press release, the Advisory Council was created in 2015 to “implement the recommendations made by the Elder Law Task Force and to identify and address elder justice issues affecting older Pennsylvanians. Along with the Office of Elder Justice in the Courts, the Council focuses on efforts to educate judges, court staff, attorneys, guardians and the public about guardianship and elder abuse including:
- Educational programs for judges handling guardianship cases;
- Educational sessions for judges and court staff on the warning signs of abuse and financial exploitation; and
- Training for family and lay guardians about their powers, duties and responsibilities.”
Legislation is currently being considered to address the Advisory Council’s recommendations.
Our firm is frequently involved in Orphans’ Court litigation, including guardianship proceedings. If you have an Orphan’s Court matter that you wish to discuss, whether it be estate litigation, guardianship proceedings or termination of parental rights matters, you may contact firm shareholders Peter Reiss, Esquire or Daniel Keane, Esquire at 215-348-1776 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your case.
This article is not legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.