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Guardianship Law: Proposed Amendments to the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code

SUMMARY - Report on Guardianship Law, October 2012              

               Senate Resolution No. 46 of 1945 directed the Commission to study decedents’ estates laws in the Commonwealth, and in July 1945, the Commission created the Task Force and Advisory Committee on Decedents’ Estates Laws.

               The Task Force on Decedents’ Estates Laws is a bicameral and bipartisan panel of legislators, currently consisting of Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf (Chair), Senator Patrick M. Browne, Senator Jay Costa, Representative Michael K. Hanna, Representative C. Adam Harris and Senator Michael J. Stack.


The Advisory Committee on Decedents’ Estates Laws is a standing group of attorneys and judges from across the Commonwealth who assist the General Assembly by recommending improvements to Pennsylvania’s Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code and related statutes. Since 1945, the Advisory Committee has provided expertise and advice to formulate legislation aimed at modernizing Pennsylvania law.


Over the years, the Advisory Committee has formed various subcommittees to assist in reviewing specific topics and developing statutory recommendations involving the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code for consideration by the Advisory Committee
and Task Force. The Subcommittee on Guardianships and Powers of Attorney was formed to review, among other things, 20 Pa.C.S. Chapters 54 (health care), 55 (incapacitated persons) and 56 (powers of attorney).


Contents of Report


This report contains proposed legislation to amend, repeal or add numerous sections in 20 Pa.C.S., among them §§ 751, 752, 5503, 5504, 5511, 5512, 5512.2, 5512.4, 5512.5, 5513, 5515, 5515.1, 5515.2, 5515.3, 5518, 5518.1, 5521, 5526, 5531, 5536 and 5553. The proposed legislation contains official comments, which may be used in determining the intent of the General Assembly. Transitional language (provisions regarding applicability and the effective date of the proposed legislation) follows the statutory recommendations.


This report also contains the following:


(1)     A summary of the proposed legislation.


(2)     Background material regarding the current law and the discussions of the Advisory Committee.


(3)     A source table that explains the basis for a number of the proposed new subsections in 20 Pa.C.S. § 5521.


(4)     Select provisions from the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code that are cross-referenced in current 20 Pa.C.S. § 5521(b).


(5)     Act No. 108 of 2012.


(6)     A roster of the members of the Advisory Committee since its inception in 1945.