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January 2024 Newsletter

January 2024, Issue 10

Thank you for your interest in Michigan’s Elder Abuse Task Force (EATF) – an alliance representing more than 55 different organizations in the public, private and non-profit sectors – all working together to reduce barriers facing our aging population.

Please take a few minutes to catch up on what the Task Force has been up to since our last issue in September 2023.

If you want this information sent regularly to your email inbox, it’s as easy as signing up using the link below. 

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Recent Updates

Brochures Available

As a reminder, substantial quantities of “No Excuse for Elder Abuse” tri-fold brochures remain available for distribution.

The brochure identifies physical, emotional, behavioral, and financial signs that often are present when elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation occurs.  It also includes a list of various agencies to contact when elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation is suspected. 

Task Force members and agencies/organizations that have a mission consistent with the EATF may request copies for distribution by sending an email with the subject line “EATF brochure request” and indicate the quantity needed, preferred language (English, Arabic, Spanish, and Mandarin available), and address for mailing (no PO boxes please).

No Excuse for Elder Abuse Brochure

Michigan Elder Justice Initiative

The Michigan Elder Justice Initiative was honored to receive a $500,000 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to create guardianship diversion pilot projects in several probate courts around the state. The goal of the two-year project is to connect older adults and people with disabilities who are at risk of guardianship to services and less restrictive legal alternatives, thus preserving the individuals' autonomy to the greatest extent possible and conserving court resources.

The pilot project will move forward in Bay County, Genesee County, Grand Traverse County, and Muskegon County beginning in early 2024.  Project staff will also create materials and training that can be used in other counties to reduce the number of avoidable guardianships during the grant and reports and project guides to replicate and expand the project at the end of the grant period. 

Michigan Elder Justice Initiative

Updated Elder Abuse Reporting Form

The Department of Attorney General, in conjunction with the Elder Abuse Task Force launched an updated webform for residents to report suspected incidents of elder abuse, patient abuse and exploitation. 

The updated form includes sections to identify: 

  • The person being abused or in need of assistance; 
  • The person alleged to be responsible for the abuse; 
  • If the abuse has been previously reported to other agencies; and 
  • Details of the abuse.  

The complaints are then investigated by the Department’s Financial Crimes or Health Care Fraud Division, depending on the details of the allegation. 

View the Updated Reporting Form

Initiatives and Legislative Update: Completed & Ongoing

The current Legislative session has resulted in the completion or substantial progress toward completion of several key Task Force initiatives. 

Power of Attorney Form ready to sign with book and pen.

Uniform Power of Attorney Act

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) was passed with overwhelming support in both chambers of the state legislature and was signed into law on November 8th. Michigan now joins 31 other states that have adopted uniform standards for the creation and use of a power of attorney form, as well as provides for the imposition of civil and criminal penalties when an agent uses a POA to exploit a principal.

home portrait of a three-generation asian family

Guardian Conservator Reform Bills

HB 4909-4912 and HB 5047, passed the house with wide support on October 24 after Attorney General Nessel and several members of the task force testified in support of the bills on September 27th.

The five-bill package is intended to overhaul and improve the state’s existing laws regarding guardianship and conservatorship matters.  The pending legislation is now pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Stephanie Chang. 

Readers are encouraged to contact their local state senator and voice their support for the bills.

Learn More About
House Bills 4909-4912

Michigan State Capitol Building in Lansing

HB 5047

HB 5047 would establish an Office of State Guardian (OSG). The newly created office would be overseen by a board comprised of 14 members appointed by the governor to the represent the interests of a variety of stakeholders and an executive director.

The board will be charged with adopting policies and procedures required to improve oversight of professional guardians and professional conservators, including developing minimum standards for licensure, implementing compliance mechanisms, establishing enforcement procedures, and collecting certain data to be provided to the Legislature.  The executive director would be responsible for carrying out the policies and procedures adopted by the board.

Michigan State Capitol Building in Lansing

HB 4197

House Bill 4197, which passed by a substantial majority in both the house and senate and was signed by Governor Whitmer on December 14, 2023, to become PA 306, amends the Uniform Securities Act to adopt several new provisions aimed at protecting vulnerable adults, particularly seniors, from financial exploitation. The legislation becomes effective on March 12, 2024, and will require broker-dealers or investment advisers covered by the Act to report suspected exploitation to a law enforcement agency or adult protective services.

Covered entities will also be authorized to delay certain transactions or disbursements when there is a concern that exploitation is occurring. Moreover, the amendments provide immunity from criminal, civil, or administrative liability to broker-dealers or investment advisers for actions taken in good faith under the Act and further provides for the powers and duties of certain governmental officers and entities to enforce the Act.  


Under Michigan’s current law, in most situations where a patient lacks capacity to consent to medical treatment but does not have a patient advocate designation or other alternative in place, it would be necessary to seek court appointment of a guardian to provide consent. 

Amending existing law to create a statutory priority for surrogates (including certain non-family members if no immediate family member is available) to consent to medical treatment on behalf of a patient who is temporarily or suddenly incapacitated would serve to reduce the number of individuals subject to guardianship proceedings in the state. 

If the proposed changes are adopted, an individual authorized to act as a surrogate medical decision maker would be subject to the same restrictions applicable to a designated patient advocate and would also be required to provide notice to interested persons if required to act more than 7 days.

Manage Protection Icon

It is an unfortunate reality that elder and vulnerable adults are at high risk of being subject to physical and emotional abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation at the hands of family members, friends, or other close associates. 

Michigan should follow the example of other states that have enacted legislation that would create authority for the issuance of a personal protection order (PPO) tailored to address the unique needs of this section of the population.  This type of PPO could be sought to both preemptively prohibit a person from engaging in specified acts and provide a mechanism to seek relief from past acts of abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect. 

Violations of Michigan’s racketeering statute, which requires showing a pattern of criminal activity, generally carry a greater sentencing risk penalty, serving as an additional deterrent for engaging in the underlying offense. 

Adding vulnerable adult embezzlement and tax fraud to the list of predicate offenses that could result in a racketeering charge is warranted. In many cases of vulnerable adult embezzlement and tax fraud, the criminal activity isn’t discovered until it has been taking place for several years. Currently, restitution for these acts can only be sought for the money stolen within the six-year statute of limitations for those offenses. 

Expanding the racketeering statute to include these additional predicate offenses would increase the statute of limitations to hold a suspect accountable through punishment and to seek restitution upon conviction for up to ten years. 

Currently, the courts and guardians have unfettered discretion in imposing visitation limitations on family members or friends of a ward, which can lead to harmful isolation of the ward.

The Legislature is encouraged to amend EPIC to require the following: (1) a clear and convincing standard before the court can impose a visitation limitation; and (2) a good cause standard for the guardian who then must detail the reasons for the limitation, explain why no reasonable alternative exists, and then provide the written reasons to the court and the family member within 7 days or the limitation is lifted, and the guardian may be subject to removal.

Existing criminal statutes often do not cover conduct in which deceptive business practices are used to cheat elderly and vulnerable adults into fraudulent purchase transactions.  The effect of this conduct is particularly harmful to elderly victims, who are typically unable to recoup losses through future earnings. 

Therefore, legislation to enhance consumer protections for the elderly by imposing criminal penalties on certain fraudulent trade practices committed against persons 80 years and older and vulnerable adults is needed. The anticipated legislation would amend the Michigan Penal Code to add a new subsection specifically tailored to misconduct that is both fraudulent and repetitive and provide meaningful penalties to effectively punish and deter such conduct.

A multidisciplinary team is comprised of a group of individuals from different disciplines and organizations who work together, utilizing the benefit of their respective knowledge and perspective from various fields, toward addressing a common goal or issue. 

Legislation should be enacted that would provide authority for each county or region to have a standing Vulnerable Adult Multidisciplinary Team in place to further one or more of the following goals: 

  • Prevent, investigate, and/or prosecute vulnerable adult abuse and/or financial exploitation offenses under the laws of the State of Michigan.
  • Coordinate medical, social, and legal services for vulnerable adults and their families.
  • Develop programs for detection and prevention of the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults.
  • Promote community awareness and action to address key issues faced by vulnerable adults.
  • Disseminate information to the public regarding the problem of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults, strategies, and methods for preventing such abuse, neglect, and exploitation, and treatment options for vulnerable adults.  
  • Under the current law, a person that is alleged to be incapacitated has the right to obtain an examination from a “physician or mental health professional” prior to a court determining whether to grant a guardianship petition.  While these types of exams can provided helpful information for a court to consider regarding an individual’s medical diagnoses, information regarding an individual’s functional abilities may provide equally valuable information when deciding whether a guardianship should be granted, and, if so, whether a full or limited guardianship is appropriate. 

    The law should be amended to provide a right to request either a medical exam or a functional assessment.  The functional assessment could be completed by a wider pool of providers including, social workers, occupational therapists, case managers, or psychologists working individually or within an interdisciplinary team.  A functional assessment could also determine what benefits, services and supports may be available or have already been obtained to address any existing limitations, which in turn could reduce the number of individuals subject to full guardianship. 

    Elder Abuse Task Force Training Video

    Elder Abuse Task Force Training

    The Elder Abuse Task Force is a dynamic group of difference makers who are laser focused on improving the lives of older adults.

    This seven-video series covers the Elder Abuse Task Force - Who We Are and What We Are Doing; Understanding Michigan's Financial Exploitation Protection Act; Residential Care Options; Homes for the Aged Resident Rights; Adult Foster Care Homes; and Multi-Disciplinary Teams.

    Curriculum on the Prevention, Recognition and Reporting of Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation

    The Healthcare subcommittee of the AG’s Elder Abuse Taskforce was charged with developing a curriculum on the prevention, recognition and reporting of abuse, neglect and exploitation. The curriculum consists of the attached 11 modules which provides information regarding how to prevent, recognize and report abuse, neglect and exploitation. The audience of the curriculum would be individual support partner, who is hired directly by the person in need of care.  

    The curriculum developed by BEAM (Bringing Eden Alternative to Michigan) in cooperation with Michigan State University and the Aging and Adult Services Agency through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services was modified to create the attached curriculum for an individual support partner. 

    Curriculum on the Prevention, Recognition and Reporting of Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Video
    Working Together to Meet the Needs of the Community Video

    Working Together to Meet the Needs of the Community

    Fighting elder abuse is a challenge that cannot be tackled by one discipline alone. Learn about the importance of multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) and how your community can work together to bring renewed focus to a growing problem.

    To Report:

    State of Michigan Attorney General Seal

    For Questions:
    800-24-ABUSE (22873)