BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                          AB 925
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CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
AB 925 (Hertzberg)
As Amended August 24, 1999
Majority vote
  
ASSEMBLY: 71-7 (June 1, 1999)   SENATE: 24-13                    
(August 26, 1999)                          
  
  Original Committee Reference:   JUD.  

  SUMMARY  :   Creates a Statewide Registry (Registry) for private  
conservators and guardians.  Specifically,  this bill  among other  
things: 

1)Requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) to maintain a  
  Registry, and to make all information in the Registry  
  available to the court for any purpose, but to otherwise keep  
  such information confidential.

2)Requires all persons who wish to serve as a conservator or  
  guardian or who are currently serving as a conservator or  
  guardian to register with the Registry and re-register every  
  three years thereafter, and to file a signed declaration with  
  the Registry that includes the following information:  a) full  
  name; b) professional name, if different from above; c)  
  business address; d) business telephone number or telephone  
  numbers; e) his or her educational background and professional  
  experience, including verification of any college or graduate  
  degree claimed; f) the names of the conservator's or  
  guardian's current conservatees; g) the aggregate dollar value  
  of all assets currently under the conservator's or guardian's  
  supervision; and, h) whether he or she has ever been removed  
  for cause or resigned as conservator or guardian in a specific  
  case, the circumstances of that removal or resignation, and  
  the case names, court locations, and case numbers.

3)Provides the Registry may disclose to the public, upon  
  request, the following information:  a) whether an individual  
  is or is not registered with the Registry; and, b) the  
  educational background and professional experience of a  
  conservator or guardian registered with the Registry.

4)Allows DOJ to charge a reasonable fee to persons registering  
  with the Registry for the cost of that registration, and  
  requires DOJ to issue a certificate of registration to each  








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  registrant.

5)Requires each court clerk to forward a copy of any complaint  
  filed with that court, and found to be meritorious by that  
  court, against a conservator or guardian in her or her  
  capacity as a conservator or guardian for inclusion in the  
  Registry.  It also requires the Registry to place any copies  
  of those complaints in the file of that conservator or  
  guardian.

6)Prohibits a court from appointing a person as a conservator or  
  guardian unless that person is registered with the Registry.   
  It also requires a court, in appointing a person as a  
  conservator or guardian, to examine and consider the  
  information contained in the Registry for that person prior to  
  the appointment.

7)Requires any court, that removes a conservator or guardian for  
  cause and any court that has accepted the resignation of a  
  conservator or guardian, shall notify the Registry of that  
  removal and the reason therefor.

8)Provides that any person serving as a conservator or guardian  
  prior to January 1, 2000, who does not register with the  
  Registry by either January 1, 2001, or by the next required  
  court review of the conservatorship or guardianship, whichever  
  is sooner, shall be removed as a conservator or guardian by  
  the court.

9)Provides that a conservator or guardian who does not register,  
  commits fraud in registering, falsely asserts that he or she  
  is registered, or makes false claims or representations as to  
  the nature of his or her file contained in the Registry, shall  
  be subject to a $200 fine for the first violation and a $500  
  fine for each subsequent violation.  The fines are to be  
  assessed and collected in a civil action brought by DOJ and  
  deposited into the General Fund (GF).

  The Senate amendments  :

1)Require DOJ, rather than the Health and Welfare Data Center  
  (Center), to maintain the registry and be responsible for  
  enforcement actions.

2)Add the requirement that persons who are registered must  








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  re-register with DOJ every three years.

3)Require persons seeking to register to file a signed  
  declaration, rather than filing under penalty of perjury, and  
  to include in the declaration the following additional  
  information: 

   a)   The names of the conservator's or guardian's current  
     conservatees; and,

   b)   The aggregate dollar value of all assets currently under  
     the conservator's or guardian's supervision.   

4)Provide that a person who signs such a declaration asserting  
  the truth of any material matter which he or she knows to be  
  false is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment  
  for up to one year in county jail, or a fine or not more than  
  $2,000, or both that fine and imprisonment

5)Require that all civil penalties collected under this  
  legislation shall be deposited in the GF, rather than a  
  separate Statewide Registry Fund.

  EXISTING LAW  prohibits a superior court from appointing a  
private professional conservator or guardian unless they: 

1)Register with the county clerk.

2)Have submitted a self-certified background check. 

3)Annually file the following information:  

   a)   Their educational background and professional  
     experience; 

   b)   At least three professional references; 

   c)   The names of the conservator's or guardian's current  
     conservatees or wards; 

   d)   The aggregate dollar value of all assets currently under  
     the conservator's or guardian's supervision; 

   e)   The addresses and telephone numbers for his or her place  
     of business and place of residence; 








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   f)   Whether he or she has ever been removed for cause or has  
     resigned, and the circumstances causing that removal or  
     resignation, including the case names, court locations, and  
     case numbers; and, 

   g)   The case names, court locations, and case numbers of all  
     their closed cases.

  AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY  , this bill created a Registry for  
private conservators and guardians that was to be maintained by  
the Center.

  COMMENTS  :  This bill would create a Registry to provide better  
communication between counties regarding the qualifications of  
private conservators and guardians.  It will also allow the  
public access to basic information about private conservators  
and guardians, in order to assist them in making decisions about  
selecting such individuals and to help guard against the abuse  
of elderly and other vulnerable Californians.

Under current law, conservators and guardians must register with  
the court clerk for the county in which they seek to be  
appointed.  There are no educational or professional  
requirements for registry.  Conservators and guardians are  
required to annually file certain information with the court  
regarding their background, including educational and  
professional experience and whether they have ever been removed  
for cause in, or resigned from, a case. This information is for  
the court's use only.

According to the author, "a glaring flaw in the present system  
is that there is no communication between counties regarding the  
qualifications or credibility of those who are registered.  Many  
conservators and guardians are registered in more than one  
county.  If a conservator is registered in Los Angeles and  
Riverside Counties and is removed for cause in Los Angeles  
County, Riverside County would never know.  This lack of  
coordination prevents a court from accessing essential  
information when deciding whether to appoint a conservator or  
guardian.  A Statewide Registry would enable courts to access  
detailed information from throughout the state about a  
conservator or guardian before they make an appointment."  










                                                         AB 925
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Analysis Prepared by  :   Daniel Pone / JUD. / (916) 319-2334 

                                                                  
                                                                  
                                                                  
                                                                  
                                                                  
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