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A MEMORIAL
REQUESTING THAT THE DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES PLANNING
COUNCIL CONVENE A TASK FORCE TO REVIEW THE PROCESSES BY WHICH
GUARDIANS OF ADULTS ARE APPOINTED, TRAINED, SUPERVISED AND
REVIEWED.
WHEREAS, the appointment of a guardian pursuant to the
Uniform Probate Code for an adult with diminished capacity
limits or eliminates the legal authority of the adult to make
decisions and control the adult's own life; and
WHEREAS, appointment of plenary guardians, with
authority to control all aspects of a ward's life, is still
the typical outcome of guardianship petitions to the district
courts, despite the preference in New Mexico law for limited
guardianships that would maximize the autonomy and authority
of adults with limited capacity; and
WHEREAS, recent studies have demonstrated that there is
very little effective oversight of guardianship arrangements
once they have been established, including one study that
showed that only twelve percent of private guardians have
filed required annual reports; and
WHEREAS, there is no systematic process through which
existing guardianship orders and arrangements are reviewed to
determine whether such arrangements are still needed or
appropriate, even though some existing orders are twenty years
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old or more and the ward's circumstances or capacity may have
changed;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the
developmental disabilities planning council be directed to
convene a task force to review the processes by which
guardians of adults under the Uniform Probate Code are
appointed, trained, supervised and reviewed; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force be composed
of persons who have sufficient authority to engage in policy
planning and implementation on behalf of the departments or
agencies they represent. The participants shall include
representatives of the developmental disabilities planning
council, the administrative office of the courts, the adult
protective services division of the aging and long-term
services department, the department of health, the attorney
generalís office, other appropriate state agencies, New Mexico
district court judges, the New Mexico guardianship
association, the protection and advocacy system, the senior
citizens law office, individual and corporate guardians,
elders, individuals with disabilities, advocates or other
representatives of elders or adults with disabilities and
other interested individuals; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that representatives of state
agencies constitute less than fifty percent of the membership
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of the task force; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force consider
potential statutory or regulatory changes, training
requirements, identification and dissemination of best
practices and other recommendations that would improve New
Mexico's system for qualification, appointment and oversight
of guardians of adults with limited capacity; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force present its
recommendations no later than October 31, 2008 to the interim
legislative health and human services committee and the
courts, corrections and justice interim committee; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be
transmitted to the developmental disabilities planning
council.