A Whole New World – Navigating the Uniform Probate Code
January 1, 2010
Imagine that your spouse or parent is in an accident or develops an illness that renders them incapacitated. Certainly, you would be dealing with worry and fear due to their situation, and you would most likely want to do all that you could to assist them. Unfortunately, when adults lose capacity to make their own decisions, if they do not have the proper documents in place, it is necessary to petition the court to have a guardian and/or conservator appointed. In order to have a guardian and/or conservator appointed, the court must first declare the incapacitated person to be incompetent. While guardianship and conservatorship laws have existed in the Commonwealth for many years, the laws changed dramatically with the enactment of the Uniform Probate Code (“UPC”) on July 1, 2009.
Recently, the Probate Court has endured harsh criticism. Many felt that guardianships and conservatorships were obtained too easily and that there were not enough due process protections in place for the incapacitated person. With the enactment of the Uniform Probate Court, additional safeguards have been put in place to protect the incapacitated person and to ensure that their rights are protected throughout the process. While this is beneficial to the incapacitated person, it means additional time, expense and consternation for the petitioning party.
Prior to the UPC, a guardian could be appointed…
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by: Gina M. Barry