BILL SUMMARY for HB09-1198
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
|Votes: View--> ||Action Taken: |
|Refer House Bill 09-1198 to the Committee of the W||PASS|
01:33 PM -- House Bill 09-1198
Representative McGihon, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 09-1198 concerning the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. The bill is recommended by the Colorado Commission on Uniform State Laws. It repeals the existing law regarding power of attorney and substitutes the uniform act recommended by the National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws. The new uniform provides a set of default rules governing how people can deal with their property in case of future incapacity. She explained some of the terminology contained in the bill and responded to questions about how the uniform law differs from current Colorado law.
The committee continued to discuss the use of powers of attorney in Colorado and how the bill might interact or conflict with existing powers of attorney. Questions were raised about whether Colorado's current laws on powers of attorney are generally consistent with similar laws in other states. Medical powers of attorney are specifically excluded from the provisions of this bill because Colorado has a separate set of laws for the different kinds of powers of attorney.
02:02 PM -- Sharon Eubanks, Office of Legislative Legal Services, appeared to answer committee questions about the presumptions contained in the bill.
02:10 PM -- Jan Zavislan, Colorado Attorney General's Office (AGO), spoke in (general) support of the bill. Mr. Zavislan indicated that the AGO is still considering the bill, but feels it is an important issue. He talked about the AGO's interest in elder abuse or exploitation. At a summit on the subject of exploitation of senior citizens held in 2008, powers of attorney was the main issue discussed. He stated that there are many provisions of the bill that make a great deal of sense. The uniform act addresses the depletion of a trust or estate and makes such depletion much more difficult. It also provides more transparency than what currently exists. Mr. Zavislan stated that the AGO will continue to look at issues of transparency, oversight, and enforcement. He responded to questions from the committee.
02:20 PM -- John DeBruyn, private citizen, spoke in support of the bill. Mr. DeBruyn is a practicing attorney in the area of probate law. He discussed the historical development of Colorado probate law and the uniform laws commission. He stated that uniformity is a great virtue, but stressed the importance of being flexible enough to change uniform laws when they do not work for Colorado. Abuse of incapacitated individuals is a problem that must be addressed and Mr. DeBruyn believes this bill will assist in doing so.
02:25 PM -- Mary Catherine Rabbitt, The Legal Center, spoke in support of the bill. Ms. Rabbitt discussed problems faced by elderly individuals who must face the consequences of an agent who mishandles their affairs. She pointed out provisions that she believes are an improvement to current law. Representative Roberts reiterated her desire for a comparison of how the uniform law is different from current practice in Colorado.
02:34 PM -- Sheryl Hutter, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, took a neutral position on the bill. Ms. Hutter does not want to lose the positive aspects of Colorado law concerning powers of attorney, but believes in increased enforcement against agents who abuse their powers.
02:36 PM -- Dennis Valentine, American Association for Retired Persons (AARP), spoke in support of the bill. Mr. Valentine sees the uniform law as a vast improvement over existing law. The three major areas of improvement are curbing instances of abuse, guidance for financial entities that receive a power of attorney, and the comprehensive form that is included in the bill.
Representative McGihon wrapped up her presentation of the bill and asked for a favorable recommendation.
|TIME: || 02:48:11 PM|
|MOTION:||Refer House Bill 09-1198 to the Committee of the Whole with a favorable recommendation. The motion passed on a vote of 10-0, with 1 excused.|
Final YES: 10 NO: 0 EXC: 1 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS