SB 613 - This act modifies provisions relating to guardianships, including funding of certain activities of public administrators and communication rights of persons subject to guardianships and conservatorships.
This act establishes the "Missouri Public Administrator Fund" for the following purposes:
(1) Any purchase of computer software or hardware to improve the efficiency of the management of the letters of public administrators of this state and to improve the security of sensitive information relating to the letters and office of public administrators;
(2) Any travel expenses incurred for in-person or home visits to the wards or protectees of the public administrator; and
(3) Any programs, seminars, or activities relating to training or instruction in guardianships, conservatorships, or the operations of the public administrator's office.
Currently, the parents of a minor subject to a guardianship that are unwilling, unable or adjudged unfit to assume the duties of guardianship may petition and receive periods of visitation upon a determination that the visitation is in the best interests of the minor. This act repeals this provision and establishes the right to unimpeded, private, and uncensored communication and visitation for wards subject to guardianship and protectees subject to conservatorships. However, this act allows a guardian or conservator, upon good cause shown as provided in the act, to file a motion with the court to order limitations or restrictions on communications or visitations to the extent necessary to protect the ward or the estate of the protectee if a guardian or conservator believes that certain communication or visitation causes substantial harm.
The court shall consider the following possible limitations and restrictions in this order:
(1) Placing reasonable time, manner, or place restrictions on the communication or visitation based on the ward's wishes or the history between the person and the ward or protectee;
(2) Requiring supervised communication or visitation; or
(3) Denying communication or visitation between the person and the ward or protectee, except that supervised communication or visitation shall be ordered prior to the denial unless the person poses a threat to the ward.
If the ward or protectee, the guardian or conservator, or any interested person reasonably believes that a ward or protectee's rights or an order issued pursuant to this act has been violated, the ward or protectee, guardian or conservator, or interested person may move the court to:
(1) Require the guardian or conservator to grant a person access to the ward or protectee;
(2) Restrict, or further restrict, a person's access to the ward or protectee;
(3) Modify the guardian or conservator's duties; or
(4) Discharge and replace the guardian or conservator.
The court may award court costs and reasonable attorney's fees to the prevailing party of a motion filed pursuant to this act, but no such costs or fees shall be funded by the estate of the ward or protectee.
Additionally, this act provides that a guardian or conservator shall promptly notify interested persons upon knowledge of the following events:
(1) A change of residence of the ward or protectee;
(2) The ward staying at a location other than his or her primary residence for more than 7 days;
(3) The ward is admitted to or is discharged from a nursing home or care facility;
(4) The ward is admitted to a hospital for acute or emergency care; and
(5) The death of the ward or protectee and any funeral or burial arrangements, which such notification shall be made by phone or in person.
A guardian or conservator is not required to provide notice if the interested person informs the guardian or conservator that the person does not wish to receive such notice or the ward or a court order has expressly prohibited the guardian or conservator from providing notice to the interested person.