LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Attorney General Dana Nessel spoke in front of the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) to update officials on four legislative proposals made to combat elder abuse.

Through that feedback and these productive conversations, we have made significant changes in the areas of guardian certification, removal from a permanent residence, guardian visitation, improving transparency and accountability, and ensuring protected persons know who their designated decision maker is when a guardianship company is appointed.

Attorney General Dana Nessel

The substitute versions of HB 4847, 4848, 4849 and 4850 include: 

  • maintaining the current in-person quarterly visitation requirement for guardians;  
  • limiting the monthly visitation requirements to only being conducted virtually or telephonically; 
  • ensuring that anyone who is appointed as a guardian receives some type of certification; 
  • requiring court notice and approval when a professional guardian seeks to remove a protected person from their permanent residence while ensuring that a professional guardian can address emergency housing situations that may exist of arise during that guardianship; and  
  • providing guardians with the ability to clearly educate interested persons about a protected person’s reasonably identified sentimental items and their ability to dispose of such items to meet their fiduciary duty.

The Committee passed the bills Tuesday morning, with support from Michigan Supreme Court Justice Megan Cavanaugh, as well as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.

Chairman of the HJC, State Rep. Graham Filler, helped sponsor the state plan to improve Michigan’s guardianship and conservatorship systems.

“We’ve seen egregious cases in southeast Michigan, including one where a guardian severely limited an elderly couple’s access to their loved ones, spending thousands of the couple’s money to erect fences to keep family out,” Filler said.

The proposals come after more than two years of work done by the Elder Abuse Task Force.

The plans now go to the Michigan House for consideration.