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 July 2024 Newsletter

EATF Newsletter Issue 12 July 2024

 July 2024 Newsletter

EATF Quarterly Newsletter

July 2024, Issue 12


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 April 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

AG Nessel Issues a New Video Discussing Uniform Power of Attorney Law

Michigan’s recently passed Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) is now in effect and Attorney General Dana Nessel has released a public service announcement explaining the new law.

The UPOAA adopts uniform standards for the creation and use of a power of attorney form used by more than 30 other states. The passage of this law is expected to increase financial institutions’ and healthcare providers’ acceptance of Power of Attorney forms; reduce the number of guardianship and conservatorship court proceedings in the state; and impose 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.

AG Nessel Issues a New Video Discussing Uniform Power of Attorney Law Video

New Legislation & Updates

Notable New Proposed Legislation

Last month, Rep. Kelly Breen introduced legislation (House Bill 5833), which would bring Michigan in line with 44 other states that allow family members (or a designated non-family member) to make healthcare decisions when a loved one is temporarily unable to consent to treatment.

HB 5833: This bill would amend the Estates and Protected Individuals Code to provide a statutory mechanism to permit family or other interested individuals to make healthcare decisions for a temporarily incapacitated patient without the need to secure a guardian appointment from the local probate court. This bill has been referred to the Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors.

In addition, Sens. Veronica Klinefelt (D-Eastpointe), Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), and Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) introduced a four-bill package (Senate Bills 922-925, referred to the Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety) aimed at better protecting those who are vulnerable because of a mental or physical impairment or advanced age.  Each bill is described in more detail below. 

SB 922: Ths bill would create authority for the issuance of a personal protection order (PPO) tailored to address the unique needs of the state’s vulnerable adult population. If enacted, this type of PPO would prohibit an individual from taking various actions that could endanger the petitioner’s safety or well-being, including entering premises, committing assault, making threats, possessing firearms, and other behaviors. Additionally, the issuing court would be authorized to grant any other relief needed to prevent or remedy the financial exploitation of the petitioner.

SB 923: Currently, embezzlement of a vulnerable adult is only subject to a six-year statute of limitations. This bill would amend the Michigan Penal Code to include embezzlement of a vulnerable adult as a predicate offense of racketeering, allowing prosecutors to pursue recovery of property under a 10-year statute of limitations.

SB 924: Under current law, a person is only explicitly prohibited from using or obtaining a vulnerable adult’s money or property through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, coercion, or unjust enrichment during the vulnerable adult’s lifetime. The proposed amendment would extend this protection beyond the vulnerable adult’s death. This bill would allow for the recovery of money or property taken during the victim’s lifetime or from the victim’s estate.

SB 925: This bill would allow each county or region to create a vulnerable adult multidisciplinary team. These teams would facilitate the coordination and collaboration of agencies, allowing them to take a holistic approach to preventing, investigating, prosecuting, and intervening in the abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. 

Readers are encouraged to contact the legislative committee members to voice their support for all five of the bills discussed above. 

Voice Your Support
home portrait of a three-generation asian family

Guardianship Reform Legislation Update

HB 4909-4912, 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 and remain pending before the Senate.

On June 13, 2024, Scott Teter, Division Chief of the Department of Attorney General Financial Crimes Division, and head of the Elder Abuse Task Force, testified before the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety Committee in support of the reform package.

The proposed reforms in HB 4909-4912 would:

  • Adopt clear limits on guardianship and conservatorship appointments;
  • Develop new standards for a court-appointed guardian ad litem;
  • 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.
No Excuse for Elder Abuse Brochure front cover

"No Excuse for Elder Abuse" Brochures Remain Available for Distribution

The tri-fold brochure identifies physical, emotional, behavioral, and financial signs that often are present when elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation is present. 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 P.O. boxes, please).