Elder Law Section
April 12, 2013
Letter to Representative Jamie Pedersen, expressing concern over the elimination of the Office of Public Guardianship from the House budget.
April 4, 2013
Letter to Representative Moeller and Senator Padden, affirming the Elder Law Section's support for the POLST bill as amended
March 20, 2013
Letter to Suprior Court Judges Association, informing them of the WSBA Elder Law Section Guardianship Task Force Report
Report from the Guardianship Task Force
Recent legislative activity from the Elder Law Executive Committee:
Letter to Representative James Pedersen
Letter to Senators Re: SB 5692
Ammedments to RCW 11.88.125
January 30, 2013
Letter to Senators: Re. SB 5344 Amendments to the Trust Act
Letter to the Honorable Jim Moeller: Re. Small Estate Guardianship - Training and Reporting
January 16, 2013
Letter to the Honorable Jim Moeller: Re. HB 1000
CBA Canadian Legal Conference taking place August 12-14 in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more information or to register, visit the CBA website
June 20, 2012
Columbia Legal Services: Thank you letter for donation to Law Fund
May 17, 2012
Recent legislative activity from the Elder Law Executive Committee (Legislative Review Protocal):
Save the Date for the Elder Law Annual Meeting and CLE on September 14, 2012. March 1, 2012
March 1, 2012
To our Section Members,
We want to alert you to the WSBA License Fee Rollback Referendum and the position taken by the Section Executive Committee:
A referendum has been filed with the WSBA to roll back the Bar license fees from $450 to $325. All active members of the WSBA will receive ballots to vote on the referendum in early March. We urge our Section members to vote against the referendum.
The referendum claims that our Bar dues are out of line with amounts paid in other states, citing amounts payable in Wyoming, Kansas, Massachusetts, Illinois, New York and Maryland. This is misleading.
The Washington State Bar Association is a unified Bar - providing both court mandated functions and trade association services to its members. All but one of the Bar Associations referenced in the referendum (Wyoming) are voluntary bar associations. Attorneys practicing in voluntary bar states pay not only the voluntary Bar dues, but also a licensing fee to the state to support court-ordered or other mandatory functions. The $450 license fee being charged by the WSBA is on par with fees being charged by other mandatory Bars.
A reduction in licensing fees as requested will require drastic cuts in the WSBA budget. All non-mandatory services will be at risk for substantial reduction or elimination. The total amount of license fees that are budgeted to be collected is $13,600,000. Of that amount only $3,500,000 is budgeted to be spent on non-mandatory expenditures. The proposed reduction will reduce license fee collections by $3,600,000 - more than the amount now allocated to all non-mandatory expenditures.
If approved, the reduction will likely result in a substantial cut in support for the Sections and a dramatic reduction in our ability to work with the Legislature on bills that have a direct impact on our practices. It may also restrict the Bar’s ability to continue to provide excellent continuing legal education opportunities to our members at affordable prices.
Please take the time to learn more about the referendum. Information is posted on the WSBA Web page at http://www.wsba.org/About-WSBA/Governance/Referendum.
The Elder Law Section Executive Committee has carefully considered the referendum and has voted unanimously to oppose it. The referendum will be decided by a majority of the votes received - no matter how many votes that may be. When you get your ballot, please vote - and please vote NO.
Announcement of Syracuse University College of Law Elder Law Survey
Are you an attorney practicing elder law? Would you like help shape recommendations for the field's future development? Do you have ideas about how to train the next generation of elder law attorneys? If so, please consider participating in a new online survey on elder law education.
The online survey is part of Phase II of a multi-year study on elder law education being conducted with support from the Borchard Foundation Center on Law and Aging. The study seeks to better understand the field of elder law, to identify the kinds of training that would benefit law students and lawyers wishing to practice in the field, and to formulate recommendations for the field’s future development. Phase I findings (which were made possible by many Section members participating in an earlier survey) were published in the Journal of Legal Education in 2010 (see http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1547267). Phase II is designed to build upon those findings with recommendations for the field’s future development.
The anonymous online survey can be accessed at www.law.syr.edu/elderlawsurvey.
The co-principal investigators for this study are Nina Kohn (Associate Professor of Law, Syracuse University College of Law) and Edward D. Spurgeon (Executive Director, Borchard Foundation Center on Law & Aging). If you have questions about the survey, please contact Professor Kohn at email@example.com.
September 19, 2011
At the Elder Law annual meeting on Friday, September 16, 2011, Rep. Jim Moeller was awarded the Distinguised Service Award in recognition of his tireless service as sponsor and supporter of the legislation implementing the recommendations of the WSBA Elder Law Section Guardianship Task Force.
June 28, 2011
Dear Elder Law Section Members:
This letter relates to SBH 1053, the new guardianship bill that passed the legislature this session. The law will become effective July 22, 2011. This letter also reviews some of the items that have been discussed on the list serve for the past month or two. For those of you not on the list serve, we recommend that you join. Contact Sections at firstname.lastname@example.org to join the list serve.
1. NEW LEGISLATION: SHB 1053 – EFFECTIVE JULY 22, 2011:
i. Authorizes the superior court to hold a hearing on the initial care plan within 90 days of guardian appointment;ii. Requires all guardians to designate a standby guardian within 90 days of guardian appointment;iii. Requires all guardians to provide notice of right to request special notice to interested parties within 90 days of guardian appointment;iv. Requires all guardians to file their final report upon termination of a guardianship within 90 days of the termination of the guardianship; andv. Requires a “Guardianship Summary” be used on all orders of appointment and orders approving accountings and reports to inform the guardian and the court of important dates.
SHB 1053 establishes a form “Letters of Guardianship” to be issued in guardianship cases. The Letters can be issued for a period of up to five years. To obtain new Letters, a guardian must file the statutorily required accountings or reports and have them approved by the superior court. If a guardian fails to account or report, the superior court is authorized to set a show cause hearing and take action to include, but not be limited to, obtaining compliance with accounting and report requirements.
Finally, SHB 1053 directs AOC to create a lay guardian training program. The training will be available online and at no cost to the lay guardian. Proposed and current lay guardians are required to take the training, unless waived by the superior court. The lay guardian will be informed of reporting requirements and the scope of authority to act. If the initial petition for guardianship names a proposed lay guardian, it must state that the nominee has completed the training. If the guardian is already appointed, the annual or triennial reports must state that the training has been completed or waived by the court. Passage of SHB 1053 is a small but significant first step in implementing the recommendations of the Guardianship Task Force. Members of the Task Force volunteered countless hours to studying our state’s guardianship system for the purpose of writing the Guardianship Task Force Report. I urge you all to review the Task Force Report and its recommendations, found on pages 13 – 18. It can be found on our Section’s web page at http://bit.ly/guardianshiptaskforce. We thank the members of the Task Force.
We especially want to thank WSBA Legislative Liaison Kathryn Leathers, the WSBA Legislative Committee, the WSBA Board of Governors, and Rep. Jim Moller and other sponsors of SHB 1053 for their support and assistance.
2. PROPOSED LEGISLATION AND THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: Proposed legislation consumes a significant amount of time. On average, ten to twenty bills per session are referred to the Executive Committee for review and often require instantaneous comment. Some of the issues addressed this past legislative session related to Office of Public Guardianship, disposition of human remains, the predatory guardianship bill, and revising the definition of financial exploitation in the Vulnerable Adult Act. Analyzing proposed legislation, deciding whether to comment, and submitting a written response was a team effort this past legislative session led by Legislative Co-Chairs Eric Gustafson and Barry Meyers.
3. ADVOCACY BY THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: The Elder Law Executive Committee has taken other steps to advocate for the implementation of other recommendations. Some of the following has occurred:
A. Statistics/Number of Guardianship Cases:
No one knows the total number of existing guardianship cases in this state. It is estimated that there are 21,000 active cases, of which approximately 16% are cases in which a Certified Professional Guardian (CPG) has been appointed. Absent an accurate count and other information, no one knows for sure where problems in the system exist.
To address the “information gap,” members of the Executive Committee have been working with the Superior Court Judges’ Association and AOC to develop a SCOMIS vode for guardianship pleadings. If a SCOMIS vode is developed and used in conjunction with the requirement to account and report, it is hoped AOC and local jurisdictions will be in a position to accurately state the number of guardianship cases and identify areas of concern.
Besides training of lay guardians, members of the Executive Committee have conferred with the Superior Court Judges’ Association Guardianship and Probate Committee and are now working with the Best Practices Work Group of that committee to provide judicial officers with information about monitoring guardianships.4. Complaints about Guardians:
The Guardianship Task Force identified the RCW 11.88.120 complaint process as an issue needing improvement. We have stressed to members of the Best Practices Work Group that the RCW 11.88.120 complaint procedure must be followed. Providing a model RCW 11.88.120 complaint form with instructions on the Supreme Court’s Model Form website has been discussed.
The Task Force has identified areas of concern. The Elder Law Section Executive Committee has made recommendations to the legislation and administrative entities. In addition, private citizens are expressing concern about guardianship, and sometimes those concerns are both emotional and accusatory. We are working hard to serve as sources for information and context to the legislature and to be viewed as an honest broker of the issues confronting our population. We remind everyone that our Section members provide a broad range of legal services to the elderly and their families, including, but not limited to, representing vulnerable adults, family members, alleged incapacitated persons, professional guardians and others.
We will continue to work with our Section members, the Board of Governors and our legislators to improve the guardianship statutes and the approach that our state takes towards vulnerable adults.
Karen I. Treiger, ChairRobert B. Nettleton, Immediate Past ChairJanet Somers, Chair Elect
At its Annual Meeting held on Friday, October 15, 2010, the Elder Law Section honored Representative Darneille, of the 27th District, with an award for her tireless efforts to enact legislation to create the Office of Public Guardianship and to ensure its continued funding.
From left to right: Rob Nettleton, immediate past chair; Karen Treiger, chair; Representative Darneille; and Jeff Crollard, former chair of the Elder Law Section.
Elder Law Section — Status of Annual Grant Program for 2010-2011For the 2010–2011 program period, the Elder Law Section will not be offering its annual grant program. Please check back next summer (2011) to see the status for 2011–2012.
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