Skip to main content

April 2024 Newsletter

April 2024, Issue 11

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 January 2024.

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

Sign Up to Receive Future Elder Abuse Task Force Newsletters

Attorney General Dana Nessel
Number five purple color over a purple background.

EATF 5-year Anniversary

This March marked the fifth year since the launch of the Elder Abuse Task Force in 2019. The Department of Attorney General and over 55 member groups have worked to support policy changes to improve the lives of seniors. Its efforts have achieved several of its goals. Some of those goals are:

  • Adoption of a standard Vulnerable Adult Incident Report form.
  • Required reporting for banks and credit unions when fraud or financial abuse is suspected.
  • Required reporting for securities brokers and financial advisors when fraud or financial abuse is suspected.
  • Creation of supportive partnerships and productive joint efforts.
  • Encouraging the probate courts to make referrals of suspected fraud or abuse for investigation or prosecution.
  • Revising the power of attorney law to increase acceptance and reduce fraud.
  • Working with the Social Security Administration to raise awareness and address the problem of theft from vulnerable adults who live in nursing homes
  • Training police and prosecutors on best practices for investigating and prosecuting vulnerable adult abuse cases.

The task force is proud of these accomplishments. It looks forward to continuing its efforts to see additional progress on its goals in the years to come.

“I am immensely proud of the accomplishments of our Elder Abuse Task Force over the last five years. Through our collaborative efforts, we have made significant strides in protecting vulnerable Michigan residents from exploitation and fraud. By fostering partnerships, seeking improvements to Michigan’s guardianship and conservator statutes and providing extensive training, we are empowering our communities to combat elder abuse effectively. Our work continues to evolve, and we remain as dedicated as ever to safeguarding our elder population and holding those who exploit them accountable.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

Uniform POA Goes into Effect July 1

On July 1, 2024, the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) will become effective. The Act was signed into law on November 8, 2023. Michigan now joins 31 other states that have adopted uniform standards. The uniform standards relate to the creation and use of a power of attorney form. The passage of this law is expected to increase financial institutions’ and healthcare providers’ acceptance of Power of Attorney forms.

A Power of Attorney that meets the new statutory requirements would remain in effect even if a person later becomes incapacitated. If the Power of Attorney contains a condition stating that it is not durable, it would not remain in effect after incapacitation. This stipulation should reduce the number of guardianship and conservatorship court proceedings in the state. The UPOAA also requires an agent to maintain records and receipts. It imposes penalties if an agent uses the power granted by a Power of Attorney to steal from or abuse the person they are acting on behalf of.

Words POWER OF ATTORNEY composed of wooden dices.

EATF Updates

Legislative Update on Guardianship

Five related bills (HB 4909-4912 & HB 5047) supported by Attorney General Nessel and the Elder Abuse Task Force (EATF) would bring sweeping changes to the state’s guardianship and conservatorship laws. The bills passed with strong support in the state House last fall. They are now waiting for consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

The proposed reforms in HB 4909-4912 would:

  • Adopt clear limits on guardianship and conservatorship appointments;
  • Develop new standards for court-appointed guardian reports;
  • Add requirements to protect personal items of sentimental value;
  • Guarantee the right to an attorney throughout the proceedings;
  • Introduce additional guidelines for removing individuals from their homes; and
  • Add a certification requirement for professional guardians and conservators.

HB 5047 would create a new unit within a state agency. The new unit’s purpose would be to:

  • Supervise professional guardians and conservators;
  • Collect data notifying the legislature about future decisions; and
  • Develop licensure standards, compliance mechanisms, and enforcement procedures.

The proposed reforms reflect the Task Force’s commitment to protecting the rights of vulnerable adults subject to guardianship or conservatorship.

Contact Your District's State Legislator to Support These Bills

Elder Abuse Training Update

The Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan’s (PAAM) Elder Justice Project and the Subcommittee for the Training of Officers and Prosecutors of the Elder Abuse Task Force are presenting the second of two educational seminars on April 25 in Gaylord. The first seminar was held March 20 in Lansing.

PAAM and its partner have designed the seminars for prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and adult protective services staff. The seminars focus on investigating and prosecuting vulnerable adult financial exploitation offenses. 

The seminars cover elder abuse cases from the first contact with the victim through sentencing. The content of the seminars is based on a recently released training manual. The training manual is available for download on MI-Train. It is also available on the PAAM Elder Justice Project website. Interested prosecutors, members of law enforcement, and adult protective services staff may email Katlyn Bolan regarding registration.

Guardianship Diversion Pilot Program

The Michigan Elder Justice Initiative is pleased to launch the Michigan Guardianship Diversion Project (MGDP) this month. The MGDP is supported by the Attorney General's Elder Abuse Task Force. MGDP Pilot projects have begun in the following Probate Courts:

  • Bay County (beginning March 11)
  • Genesee County (beginning March 11)
  • Grand Traverse County (beginning March 18)
  • Muskegon County (beginning March 25)

The MGDP wants to empower and preserve the independence of older adults and individuals with disabilities. The MGDP will do this by connecting them to available resources and legal alternatives to guardianship.

The MGDP will:

  • Provide consumer-friendly flyers that address common guardianship problems;
  • Work with communities to discover cases where alternatives to guardianship may exist;
  • Connect with concerned parties to identify guardianship alternatives;
  • Work with agencies and organizations to find guardianship alternatives;
  • Ensure that less restrictive alternatives to guardianship are used when appropriate;
  • Track data to evaluate the success of the project.

The MGDP will assist in cases filed both under the Estates and Protected Individuals Code and the Mental Health Code. The MGDP will not represent any parties in court. The project will focus on individuals who have not yet been found incapacitated in court. We hope to be able to refer individuals to available legal resources. This includes those who are already under guardianship but want to terminate or change their legal status.

Contact MGDP staff:

Laura Kubit and Rachel Richards
517-827-8010, ext. 7
Email the project

The MGDP is funded by a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

Adult Protective Services 2023 Annual Report

Abuse of vulnerable adults is one of the fastest growing crimes in Michigan. The National Institute of Justice completed a study that found 11 percent of elder adults reported being abused, neglected, or exploited.

The goal of Michigan’s Adult Protective Services program is to protect vulnerable adults, 18 years or older. Michigan’s Adult Protective Services investigators coordinate with:

  • mental health facilities;
  • public health facilities;
  • law enforcement agencies;
  • probate courts;
  • aging networks;
  • community groups; and
  • the general public.

The goal of Michigan’s Adult Protective Services program is to provide stability in a safe environment.

View APS' 2023 Annual Report

World Elder abuse awareness day purple background with long shadow style illustration.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15)

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is observed on June 15th of each year.

The MDHHS Adult Protective Services Office will host a walk to raise awareness. The walk will take place on June 13, 2024, beginning at 11 a.m.

Those who would like to participate are invited to meet at the Grand Tower. It is located at 235 S. Grand Avenue in downtown Lansing.