Education and Resources
Reports and Updates on Issues of Interest to Guardians

State Adult Guardianship Legislation: Directions of Reform – 2011 Update Now Available from the ABA Commission on Law and Aging

In 2011, at least 27 states passed a total of 40 adult guardianship bills – as compared with 21 states and 29 bills passed in 2010. Nebraska, Arizona and Colorado passed substantial bills with a focus on guardian responsibilities, oversight and compensation. Texas enacted a host of provisions addressing multiple aspects of its guardianship system.  Ten states enacted the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA), bringing the total number of states with enactments to 30.  To see the 2011 Legislative Update, scroll down the “Guardianship Law and Practice” page of the ABA Commission site to “State Laws and Policy,” which also includes annual legislative summaries dating back to 2005, as well as nine state-by-state legislative guardianship charts.

Stronger Federal Leadership Could Enhance National Response to Elder Abuse

This March 2011 report from the Federal Government Accountabily Office (GAO-11-208) contains information on (1) existing estimates of the extent of elder abuse and their quality, (2) factors associated with elder abuse and its impact on victims, (3) characteristics and challenges of state Adult Protective Services (APS) responsible for addressing elder abuse, and (4) federal support and leadership in this area.
June 29, 2011

Caregiving Costs to Working Caregivers: Double Jeopardy for Baby Boomers Caring for Their Parents

Produced by the MetLife Mature Market Institute in partnership with the National Alliance for Caregiving and the Center for Long Term Care Research and Policy at New York Medical College, the study analyzes data from the 2008 panel of the National Health and Retirement Study (HRS) combined with estimates to determine the extent to which older adult children provide care to their parents, the roles gender and work play in that caregiving, and the potential cost to the caregiver in lost wages and future retirement income as a result of their support.

Adult Guardianships: A “Best Guess” National Estimate and the Momentum for Reform

This article written for Trends, a publication of the National Center for State Courts. It highlights the need for improved data collection as demonstrated by the projection of active pending adult guardianship cases nationwide and discusses the momentum that led the authors to report: "Retrospectively, 2010 may be remembered as a pivotal year in the call for guardianship reform at both federal and state levels."

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA)

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) is a powerful way for states to promote the responsible use of powers of attorney. It aims to facilitate the use of the power of attorney (POA) as a low-cost planning tool that enhances individual autonomy. Importantly, it recognizes that the POA can be a “license to steal,” so its provisions help prevent, detect and redress abuse. To date, nine states and the US Virgin Islands have enacted the UPOAA. Learn more in the AARP Public Policy Institute’s report on what states can do about POA abuse. Also see the Uniform Law Commission fact sheet on why states should adopt the Act.”

Weathering the Storm: The Impact of the Great Recession on Long-Term Services and Supports

The AARP Public Policy Institute has released a report that documents how the recession continues to affect state programs for older individuals and adults with physical disabilities. Demand for publicly funded services has grown, and resources are stretched thin, according to this new 50-state study. The study also provides a very early snapshot of the likelihood of states pursuing some of the long-term services and supports provisions within the Affordable Care Act. The report documents Adult Protective Services demands for the states in which the State Unit on Aging administers the APS program. In addition, there are state-by-state data on changes in expenditures and changes in service requests for state adult guardianship programs where the State Unit on Aging or Medicaid agency has these data.

This related AARP Public Policy Institute Fact sheet highlights the increased demand for adult protective services to address cases of older adult mistreatment. It highlights findings that, during the recent “Great Recession,” state APS departments saw an uptick in complaints filed while their resources went down or remained flat.
Adult Protective Services: Increased Demand and Decreased Funds  

The AARP Public Policy Institute has recently released a study titled:
Access to Long-Term Services and Supports: A 50-State Survey of Medicaid Financial Eligibility Standards

The report contains detailed information on Medicaid eligibility in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report can be viewed here.

Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs

The 2010 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs issued October 201

"10-Plus Years After the Olmstead Ruling: Progress, Problems, and Opportunities"

A new report by the National Senior Citizens Law Center chronicles the advancements made in the availability of community-based service options in the aftermath of the The Supreme Court's 1999 Olmstead Ruling decision, and identifies many of the barriers that remain and opportunities for overcoming them.

Yakohama Declaration

At the first World Congress on Adult Guardianship Law held in Yokohama, Japan, October 2 to 4 October, 2010, the hosts and co-hosts decided to issue the Yokohama Declaration to reconfirm the extremely significant implications of the Adult Guardianship Law and the international roles it will play in the years to come, while making a proclamation to the world on the proper use of the adult guardianship system. This Yokohama Declaration is the result of the three-day congress, as summarized by the participants.

Assessment of Older Adults With Diminished Capacity

The American Psychological Association and American Bar Association have collaborated on a series of handbooks related to assessment of older adults with diminished capacity. All three handbooks (for lawyers, judges and psychologists) are available here.

Adult Guardianship Court Data and Issues Results from an Online Survey

This report outlines results and recommendations from an online survey that was a joint project carried out by the CCJ/COSCA Joint Task Force on Elders and the Courts and NCSC’s Center for Elders and the Courts (CEC). The online survey instrument was distributed through listservs sponsored by the National Association for Court Management, and the National College of Probate Judges.

Caregiving in the U.S. 2009

By: National Alliance for Caregiving in Collaboration with AARP; Funded by The MetLife Foundation
December 2009

When Disabled Homeowners Lose Their Homes For A Pittance in Unpaid Property Taxes: Some Lessons From In Re Mary Lowe

By Robert F. Harris, Esq.; Charles P. Golbert, Esq.; and Barry Sullivan, Esq.
Reprinted with Permission from NAELA Journal, Vol. 5, No. 2 /

The Economic Crisis and Its Impact On State Aging Programs

A survey conducted by the National Association of State Units on Aging (NASUA) reports that although additional funding was provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more than 20 percent of states still must cut services. Nearly 80 percent of states have waiting lists for home-delivered meals, and more than half have waiting lists for personal care, homemaker services, and respite care. Despite the increased need, more than 30 percent of states face cuts of between six and 10 percent for FY 2010.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services has sent a comprehensive report to Congress entitled “Advance Directives and Advance Care Planning.” The report, requested by Congress in 2006, focuses on (1) the best ways to promote the use of advance directives and advance care planning among competent adults as a way to specify their wishes about end-of-life care; and (2) addressing the needs of persons with disabilities with respect to advance directives.

The report includes an excellent literature review on every aspect of advance care planning, analyses of key ethical and legal issues, and a discussion of opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of advance care planning and advance directives.

Full report
Background report prepared by Charlie Sabatino of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging

A study on Elder Financial Abuse Prevention

This study from the MetLife Mature Market Institute (MMI), the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, and the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University provides a comprehensive understanding about the extent and implications of elder financial abuse in all its various manifestations—personal, institutional, and societal. Through an extensive review of available information on elder abuse, this research enhances the understanding of the complexities surrounding elder financial abuse, the current magnitude of the issue, reasons why this issue is likely to grow, and some recommendations of ways to potentially mitigate this complex and devastating crime.

While difficult to present any comprehensive or consensus definition of elder financial abuse, this study considers elder financial abuse as “the unauthorized use or illegal taking of funds or property of people aged 60 and older.” It is perpetrated by those who gain, and then violate, the trust of an older person. They can be as close as a family member, neighbor, or friend, or as distant as an invisible voice on the telephone or an e-mail from the other side of the globe.

Key Findings:

  • While underreported, the annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse is estimated to be at least $2.6 billion dollars
  • Elders’ vulnerabilities and larger net worth make them a prime target for financial abuse
  • The increased aging of the population, social changes, and technology advances will lead to a dramatic increase in the opportunity for a growing level of elder financial abuse
  • The perpetrators of elder financial abuse are typically not strangers and most are people who have gained the trust of the older individual, including business and service professionals and family members
  • The victims of elder financial abuse come from all walks of life, and this type of abuse affects elders regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity

Documents from this study:

Elders and the Courts: The Results of Needs Assessment

In 2008, the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), with funding from the Retirement Research Foundation of Chicago, launched the Center for Elders and the Courts (CEC). This report is the published results of a needs assessment NCSC carried out in February 2009 for the purpose of identifying resources and tools that should be addressed through the CEC’s website ( and training programs.

AARP Radio Report on Parent Guardianship

December 23, 2008 - As the population continues to age, more baby boomers are faced with caring for their disabled parents. For many, assuming guardianship can often be the hardest and most trying step in getting their parents the care they need. And differing state laws are part of the problem. The Uniform Law Commission (a group that seeks to reconcile inconsistent state laws) is proposing a solution. Click here to learn more, from a panel of exper.

Guardianship of the Elderly

This article was recently printed in Court Manager, the magazine of the National Center for State Courts, and is linked here with their permission.

In December 2008 AARP’s Public Policy Institute released Power of Attorney Abuse: What States Can Do About It, A Comparison of Current State Laws with the New Uniform Power of Attorney Act by Lori A. Stiegel and Ellen VanCleave Klem of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging. The report provides background on POA abuse, analysis of the UPOAA’s consumer protection provisions, detailed charts on how current laws stack up against the UPOAA, and tips for enactment. The new uniform act (UPOAA) enhances the use of this low-cost, flexible planning tool – and at the same time it helps prevent, detect and redress abuse of the POA. The report finds a large majority of state laws lack protections for individuals creating financial powers of attorney (POA). In 2009, about 12 states are expected to consider adoption. Thus far, New Mexico and Idaho have adopted the Act. It is hoped the report will aid in enactment efforts. For more information contact NGA member Naomi Karp (

Executive Summary / Complete Report

Center for Guardianship Certification to Unveil Designation Name Change

Designation Name Change to Occur in October 2008
HARRISBURG, PA- In October 2008, the Center for Guardianship Certification (CGC) will be updating the name of the current certification designations, Registered Guardian and Master Guardian, to National Certified Guardian (NCG) and National Master Guardian (NMG) respectively.


Enduring Powers of Attorney: Areas for Reform

The 2008 final report from the Western Canada Law Reform Agencies (WCLRA), a consortium of four western Canadian law reform agencies – the Alberta Law Reform Institute, the British Columbia Law Institute, the Manitoba Law Reform Commission and the Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan.

Executive Summary | Complete Report

NGA Featured in AARP April 21, 2008 Report - Who Guards the Guardians

AARP Report Shows How States Can Help Prevent Abuse Of Older Americans, Identifies Better Ways For Courts To Oversee Guardianships

Guardianship Monitoring:A National Survey of Court Practices
Naomi Karp AARP Public Policy Institute and Erica Wood ABA Commission on Law and Aging Summary

USA Today Reports: Poor elderly wait for care as Fla. system backs up

Public Guardianship After 25 Years: In the Best Interest of Incapacitated People? An Executive Summary of the National Study of Public Guardianship Phase II Report

Authored by Pamela Teaster Ph. D; Erica Wood, JD; Winsor Schmidt, JD, LL.M.; and Susan Lawrence, Ph.D.
Released in January of 2008 by the University of Kentucky and the ABA Commission on Law and Aging. For more information, or to order print copies of the executive summary for $5 and the Full Report for $30, contact the ABA Commission at

State Adult Guardianship Legislation: Directions of Reform2007

From the Commission on Law and Aging American Bar Association

Guardianship for the Elderly: Protecting the Rights and Welfare of Seniors With Reduced Capacity

A report issued by Senator Gordon H. Smith, Ranking Member, United States Senate Special Committee on Aging Senator Herb Kohl, Chairman, United States Senate Special Committee on Aging

Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act


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