Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 5361

February Session, 2016

 

LCO No. 846

 

*00846_______AGE*

Referred to Committee on AGING

 

Introduced by:

 

(AGE)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING A PROTECTED PERSON'S RIGHT TO INTERACT WITH OTHERS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2016) (a) For purposes of this section and section 2 of this act, (1) "protected person" means a person eighteen years of age and older who is incapable of meeting essential requirements for his or her personal needs or managing his or her financial affairs or property because of a mental, emotional or physical condition, (2) "conservator" means a conservator of the person as defined in section 45a-644 of the general statutes, (3) "court" means a probate court with jurisdiction over a conservatorship of a protected person, and (4) "interact", "interaction" or "interacting with" means communication by telephone, mail or in person. Unless specifically authorized by an order from a court pursuant to this section, a conservator shall not restrict a protected person's right to interact with other persons, including, but not limited to, the protected person's children, siblings, parents, or other close relatives or friends. If a protected person is unable to express consent to interact with other persons due to a mental, emotional or physical condition, then consent of the protected person may be presumed based on the protected person's prior relationship with such other persons unless the protected person has previously documented his or her wishes not to interact with the person seeking access to him or her.

(b) A conservator who knowingly prevents access to a protected person in violation of subsection (a) of this section, or any court order issued pursuant to this section, is subject to removal and replacement by the court.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, a conservator may move a court to have restrictions placed on a protected person's ability to interact with a person seeking access to him or her for good cause. In determining good cause, the court shall consider factors, including, but not limited to:

(1) That any protective orders have been issued to prevent the person or persons seeking access to the protected person from interacting with him or her;

(2) The person seeking access to the protected person has been charged with the abuse, neglect or financial exploitation of the protected person or the conservator presents a preponderance of evidence that such person has or is likely to abuse, neglect or exploit the protected person; or

(3) If the protected person is unable to communicate, whether such person has stated that he or she does not want to interact with the person seeking access to him or her in documents including, but not limited to, a properly executed living will, durable power of attorney or advance directive.

(d) Prior to issuing an order pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, a court shall consider:

(1) Whether the protected person expresses or has expressed a desire to interact with the person seeking access to him or her;

(2) Placing reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on interaction between the protected person and the person seeking access to him or her based on the history of their relationship, the protected person's wishes or both; and

(3) Requiring that interaction between the protected person and the person seeking access to him or her be supervised.

(e) If any interested person, including the protected person, reasonably believes that provisions of this section have been violated, then such person may move the court to:

(1) Require the conservator to grant a person access to the protected person;

(2) Restrict, or further restrict, a person's access to the protected person;

(3) Modify the conservator's duties; or

(4) Remove and replace the conservator.

(f) Except as provided in subsection (g) of this section, a court shall schedule a hearing on a motion filed pursuant to subsection (c) or (e) of this section not later than sixty days after the date the motion is filed. The court may, in its discretion, order mediation to be conducted prior to the hearing. If mediation results in agreement regarding interaction with the protected person, such agreement shall be approved by the court.

(g) If a motion filed pursuant to this section states that the protected person's health is in significant decline or that the protected person's death may be imminent, a court shall conduct an emergency hearing as soon as practicable, but not later than ten days after the motion is filed. Upon request, the court shall order that supervised interaction between the protected person and persons seeking access to the protected person be granted during the period prior to the hearing.

(h) Notice of the hearing, a copy of the motion and a copy of any order issued pursuant to this section shall be personally served upon the protected person and any person named in the motion. Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting the protected person's right to appear and be heard in the proceedings.

(i) A court, upon its own motion or a motion filed with the court, may impose an appropriate sanction, including, but not limited to, an order to pay court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees, upon a conservator who knowingly has violated any provision of this section or an order issued by the court pursuant to this section. No monetary sanction may be paid out of the protected person's estate.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2016) (a) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, a conservator shall notify as soon as is reasonably possible a protected person's closest relatives, including, but not limited to, children and siblings, and any other person designated by the protected person to be notified, in the event that:

(1) The protected person's residence has changed;

(2) The protected person is staying at a location other than the protected person's residence;

(3) The protected person is admitted to a medical facility for emergency care in response to a life-threatening injury or medical condition or for acute care; or

(4) The protected person dies. In the case of the protected person's death, the conservator shall make a good faith effort to contact such relatives or designated persons in person or by telephone.

(b) A conservator is not required to provide notice in accordance with subsection (a) of this section if:

(1) A person who is entitled to notice under subsection (a) of this section informs the conservator in writing that such person does not wish to receive such notice; or

(2) The protected person or a court order has expressly prohibited the conservator from providing notice to such person.

(c) A conservator shall not provide contact information for a protected person to any person who is the subject of an order of protection or a restraining order issued on behalf of the protected person.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2016

New section

Sec. 2

July 1, 2016

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To protect the rights of protected persons to interact with family and friends.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]