A heightened level of service is required on a respondent to an incompetency proceeding in North Carolina. G.S. 35A-1109 requires copies of the petition (SP-200) and the notice of hearing (SP-201) to be personally served on the respondent (the alleged incompetent adult). As my colleague, Ann Anderson, discussed in an earlier post, because the use of private process servers is very limited in North Carolina, personal service is completed on the respondent by the sheriff in most cases. Under the version of G.S. 35A-1109 in effect prior to May 4, 2020, service was not proper if the notice and petition were sent by FedEx, UPS, or regular mail or left with a family member at the respondent’s home or with a caregiver at a facility where the respondent resides. This heightened requirement of service on the respondent ensures that the respondent knows of the proceeding and knows the location, date, and time of the hearing. It reflects the significant impact an adjudication of incompetency has on a person’s rights to make decisions about his or her life and property. Continue Reading
Financial exploitation of an older adult is a type of elder abuse. It occurs in many forms. A door-to-door home repairman defrauds an older adult out of her life savings. A caregiver gets an older adult who lacks capacity to sign a deed conveying the older adult’s property to the caregiver’s son. An adult child steals the older adult’s debit card and withdraws significant amounts of money for his own benefit. (Notably, a recent study suggests that relatives may perpetrate more financial elder abuse than strangers.)Continue Reading
My colleague, Sara DePasquale, and I were excited to release a new Juvenile Law Bulletin two weeks ago—Delinquency and DSS Custody without Abuse, Neglect, or Dependency: How Does that Work? We were also exhausted. While the laws that allow for courts to order juveniles into DSS custody in a delinquency proceeding are short, their implications are broad and complex. Sara’s blog announcing the bulletin, Extra! Extra! Read All About It! New Juvenile Law Bulletin – Delinquency and DSS Custody without Abuse, Neglect, or Dependency: How Does that Work?, provides some suggestions about reading the bulletin in bite-sized chunks. Now that readers have had a chance to do that, let’s focus on a few of the key points for delinquency practitioners.
- the proceeding remains a delinquency proceeding although the juvenile is in the custody of DSS;
- the only attorney who will represent a juvenile placed in DSS custody through a delinquency proceeding is the juvenile’s counsel in the delinquency matter;
- termination of probation does not automatically terminate DSS custody; and
- implementation of the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act (a.k.a. “raise the age”) could result in a new challenge for DSS placements.
Did you know that in a juvenile delinquency court case the juvenile may be placed in the custody of a county’s child welfare department (usually a department of social services (DSS))? A DSS placement through a delinquency action may happen in one of three ways:
- a nonsecure custody order (G.S. 7B-1902 through -1907),
- a dispositional order after the juvenile has been adjudicated delinquent (G.S. 7B-2506(1)c.), and/or
- an order appointing DSS as the juvenile’s guardian of the person (G.S. 7B-2001).
With each of these types of delinquency orders, there is not an allegation, substantiation, or adjudication that the juvenile is abused, neglected, or dependent (see my last blog post, here, discussing delinquency as it relates to abuse, neglect, or dependency). Instead, the juvenile’s court involvement is a result of his or her alleged acts of delinquency rather than circumstances created by a parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker. Each of these three custody orders is a type of delinquency order and not an order related to a juvenile’s abuse, neglect, or dependency. However, at times, as a result of the order placing the juvenile in DSS custody, pieces of abuse, neglect, and dependency law apply in the delinquency case.
The legal implications of placing a juvenile into DSS custody and resulting foster care as part of a delinquency matter are complex – so complex, that a blog post will not do. Instead, my colleague, Jacquelyn (Jacqui) Greene and I wrote a new extensive juvenile law bulletin discussing these orders and the issues that arise with each type of order. You can access the bulletin, Delinquency and DSS Custody without Abuse, Neglect, or Dependency: How Does that Work? here. Continue Reading
Yesterday, the application period opened for a free workshop we will be hosting September 26-27, 2019 at the School of Government in Chapel Hill.* The purpose of the workshop is to bring together stakeholders from around North Carolina to create and grow multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) to address elder abuse in their respective communities. You can learn details about the workshop and apply here. Only teams will be accepted to attend the workshop. This post provides additional information to consider if you and others in your community are interested in forming a team and submitting an application. Continue Reading
In connection with an upcoming class on guardianship, I recently surveyed a number of clerks of superior court (judicial officials who preside over guardianship cases in NC) about common post-appointment problems among guardians. My questions focused on non-attorney individuals serving as general guardians and guardians of the estate. Here are some specific issues identified related to those guardians charged with managing an incompetent adult’s property under G.S. Chapter 35A of the NC General Statutes. For purposes of this post, “guardian” means a guardian of the estate or general guardian.Continue Reading
A guardian of the estate for any unemancipated minor may be appointed under G.S. Chapter 35A to receive and administer property on the minor’s behalf. G.S. 35A-1221; G.S. 35A-1251; G.S. 35A-1202(12) (requiring also that the minor must not be married). This is because such minors are legally incompetent to transact business or give consent for most purposes. G.S. 35A-1201(a)(6); see G.S. 7B-3507 (rights of emancipated minors). Unemancipated minors therefore need responsible, accountable adults to handle property or benefits to which they are entitled. Id.Continue Reading
I previously wrote about an agent’s authority to make gifts under the new North Carolina Uniform Power of Attorney Act (NCUPOAA) that went into effect in North Carolina on January 1, 2018. There are two additional points to keep in mind if you are an agent, a third party, or a court examining the agent’s authority granted by the principal to make gifts under a POA. Continue Reading
Mary signs a power of attorney (POA) appointing her son, Frank, as her agent authorized to act on her behalf. The POA is acknowledged by a notary public and states that the agent has the authority to do all acts that the principal could do. The POA is effective immediately and durable by default under the new North Carolina Uniform Power of Attorney Act (NCPOAA) effective January 1, 2018. S.L. 2017-153 (S569) (not applicable to health care POAs or consent to health care for a minor under G.S. Chapter 32A).
Months later, Mary suffers a massive stroke and is no longer able to manage her property or business affairs because she is unable to make or communicate decisions. Frank retrieves the original POA from Mary’s safe and takes it to the bank and attempts to withdraw money from Mary’s checking account to pay some of her bills. The bank refuses to accept the POA and conduct the transaction. A friend of Frank’s notes he had a similar problem with his father’s POA. He had to ultimately seek court-ordered guardianship of his father to be able to conduct the necessary transactions on his father’s behalf because of the bank’s refusal to accept the POA. Is Frank stuck because of the bank’s refusal? Must he obtain guardianship to be able to carry out his duties under the POA on behalf of Mary?
The new North Carolina Uniform Power of Attorney Act (the Act) goes into effect on January 1, 2018. I recently blogged about the judicial relief provisions under the Act here. Next Tuesday, December 12th from noon to 1:15 pm, the School of Government in partnership with the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts will be offering a free webinar on this new law. The Honorable James Stanford, Clerk of Superior Court, Orange County, Allison Smith, NCAOC assistant legal counsel, Janice Davies, an attorney with Davies Law, PLLC, and I will be presenting. Anyone can register for the webinar here. Note, registration closes tomorrow at noon. Continue Reading