PA 16-49—HB 5255

Human Services Committee

Judiciary Committee


SUMMARY: This act makes unrelated changes in the statutes governing probate court processes to appoint guardians for adults with intellectual disabilities. Prior law allowed the court to appoint only people, legally authorized state officials, and nonprofit corporations. The act adds (1) corporations, (2) limited liability companies, (3) partnerships, and (4) other state-recognized nonprofit or for-profit entities. The change applies to both (1) plenary guardians, who supervise all aspects of an adult's care, and (2) limited guardians, who supervise certain specified aspects of an adult's care. By law, unchanged by the act, residential care homes cannot be plenary guardians, and hospitals and nursing homes cannot be plenary or limited guardians.

The act also makes several changes regarding the confidentiality of documents in guardianship cases. The act replaces the term “ward” with “protected person. ” But the definition remains a person for whom the probate court grants guardianship.

Lastly, the act makes other technical and conforming changes and repeals an obsolete provision on probate court fees.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016, except for the repealer, which is effective July 1, 2016.


Prior law required applications for guardianship and subsequent records of probate court proceedings to be sealed, except for the guardian's name. The act eliminates the sealing requirement. It instead makes such records and all other records related to guardianship cases confidential, except for the names of the guardian and protected person.

It allows disclosure of the records to all parties in the case and their counsel, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), and the Office of the Probate Court Administrator. Prior law limited disclosure to the respondent, the respondent's counsel or guardian, and the DDS commissioner or her designee, except for cause.

Under prior law, the probate court could disclose records to other parties for cause shown, as long as the court held a hearing and provided notice to the (1) respondent, respondent's counsel, or guardian, and (2) DDS commissioner or her designee. The act instead requires the court to notify (1) all of these people and (2) DDS, instead of the commissioner or her designee.

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