CHAPTER 570

HOUSE BILL NO. 1288

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 39 OF TITLE 12 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIANS AND TO ESTABLISH THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC GUARDIAN AND FURTHER PROVIDING A SUPPLEMENTARY APPROPRIATION THEREFOR.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Amend §3914 of Chapter 39, Title 12, Delaware Code by striking the title to said section in its entirety and substitute in lieu thereof a new title to read as follows:

"Guardian for person or property of aged, mentally infirm or physicaly incapacitated persons".

Section 2. Amend Subsection (a) of §3914, Chapter 39, Title 12 of the Delaware Code by striking phrase "manage and care for his property" wherever such phrase appears in said subsection and substituting in lieu thereof the phrase "manage and care for his person or property".

Section 3. Further amend subsection (a) of §3914, Chapter 39, Title 12 of the Delaware Code by striking the phrase "guardian of the property" and substituting in lieu thereof the phrase "guardian of the person or property".

Section 4. Further amend subsection (a) of §3914, Chapter 39, Title 12 of the Delaware Code, by adding after the phrase "victim of designing persons" the following phrases:

"or, in the case where a guardian of the person so sought, such person is in danger of substantially endangering his health, or of becoming subject to abuse by other persons, or of becoming the victim of designing persons".

Section 5. Amend subsection (b) of §3914, Chapter 39, Title 12 of the Delaware Code, by striking the phrase "for whose property a guardian is sought: and substituting in lieu thereof the phrase "for whose person or property a guardian is sought".

Section 6. Further amend subsection (b) of §3914, Chapter 39, Title 12 of the Delaware Code, by adding thereto a new sentence to read as follows:

"Provided, however, that in all cases where a guardian of the person is sought such person shall be entitled to representation by counsel."

Section 7. Amend subsection (c) of §3914, Chapter 39, Title 12 of the Delaware Code, by striking the phrase "of such person's property" and substituting in lieu thereof the phrase "of the person or of such person's property, or both, as the Court may deem proper".

Section 8. Amend subsection (f) of §3914, Chapter 39, Title 12 of the Delaware Code by adding after the word "guardian" the phrase "of the property".

Section 9. Amend Chapter 39, Title 12 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new Subchapter VII, to read as follows:

"SUBCHAPTER VII. PUBLIC GUARDIAN

§3991. Public Guardian: appointment.

There is established the office of the public guardian.

The Chancellor shall appoint the public guardian, who shall serve at his pleasure. The salary of the public guardian shall be $18,500 per annum, to be paid from the General Fund. The Chancellor, in his discretion, ay require the public guardian to post bond.

§3992. Powers and Duties.

(a) The public guardian, when appointed as guardian by Court order shall:

(1) Serve as a guardian for the property of aged, mentally infirm or physically incapacitated persons, pursuant to §3914, Title 12, Delaware Code, or

(2) Serve as a guardian for the person of aged, mentally or physically incapacitated persons where such persons are in danger of substantially endangering their health, or of becoming subject to abuse by other persons, or of becoming the victim of deigning persons, or,

(3) Serve as both guardian of the person and of property of such person.

§3993. Allocation of costs.

(a) If a public guardian has been appointed guardian of the person or of the property, administrative costs and all costs incurred in the appointment procedure shall not be charged against the income or estate of the ward or protected person. However, if at any time the Court determines that the income or the estate of the ward or protected person can support the payment of any part of those costs, the Court may enter an order charging that part of the payment of cost against the income or the estate.

() If a public guardian has been appointed guardian of the person of the property, all administrative costs and all cost incurred in the appointment procedure shall be paid in-

itially from the general fund. If the Court enters an order charging any part of those costs against the income or estate of the ward or protected person, the public guardian shall reimburse the general fund from the income or estate.

§3994. Court costs.

In any proceeding for appointment of a public guardian, or in any proceeding involving the estate of a ward or protected person from whom a public guardian has been appointed guardian of the person or of the property, the Court may waive any court costs or filing fees.

§3995. Staff; budgeting and finance.

(a) The public guardian may appoint subordiantes to assist him in carrying out the purposes of this subchapter. Subordinates shall include, but not be limited to, such nonprofit organizations as the public guardian shall deem to be qualified in carrying out the duties as a subordinate guardian.

(b) The public guardian shall prepare an annual fiscal budget for the operation of the office of public guardian for the consideration of the General Assembly. The office of public guardian shall be operated within limitation of the Annual Appropriation and any other funds appropriated by the General Assembly or designated for that purpose from the estate of the ward by the Court. Special funds may be used in accordance with approved programs, grants and appropriations.

§3996. Periodic Review.

Beginning six months from the date of the committment order, the Court shall review the case and status of the person committed, and shall further review the case and status of such person every six months thereafter to determine whether or not such comittment and guardianship should be

continued.

§3997. Annual Report.

The public guardian shall make an annual report to the Chancellor and the General Assembly of the operations of his office, and render such other reports as the Chancellor or General Assembly may from time to time request or as may be required by law."

Section 10. The sum of $56,522 is hereby appropriated to the Office of the Administrator of the Courts for the purpose of implementing the provisions of this Act.

Section 11. This is a supplementary appropriation and the funds hereby appropriated shall be paid by the State Treasurer out of funds in the General Fund of the State of Delaware not otherwise appropriated.

Section 12. The funds herein appropriated remaining unexpended on June 30, 1977 shall revert to the General Fund of the State of Delaware.

Approved July 20, 1976