Senate approves Jones bill cracking down on senior exploitation

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to protect Michigan seniors from being financially exploited by a family member was unanimously approved on Thursday by the Michigan Senate.

“Michigan courts should have the power to stop someone from taking advantage of our most vulnerable residents — our seniors,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Unfortunately, this bill was inspired by a real case here in Michigan. An elderly woman from mid-Michigan was taken by her son to another state, where she was put on drugs that she did not need and deemed incompetent. A judge then appointed her son as her guardian, who proceeded to drain her bank accounts.”

Jones said that the woman’s family in Michigan succeeded in getting her back home and off the unnecessary medications. Once off the drugs, it was clear the woman did not need a guardian.

“When she asked a Michigan judge to declare her competent to be her own guardian, she was told there was nothing the judge could do,” Jones said. “This was a woman who had lived in Michigan for 85 years, had a home and family here and was let down by her own state.

“It was unacceptable, and I thank my Senate colleagues for standing with our seniors and ensuring that Michigan judges have the power to protect Michigan residents.”

The Michigan judge said he had no jurisdiction over the woman’s case. An out-of-state judge had taken jurisdiction and, in the eyes of the court, she was a resident of that state.

Senate Bill 270 would allow Michigan judges to take jurisdiction in guardianship cases if certain criteria are met. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Editor’s Note: Audio comments by Jones are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorRickJones.com. Click on “Audio.”