2018 Rhode Island General Laws
Title 33 - Probate practice and procedure
Chapter 33-15 Limited Guardianship and Guardianship of Adults
Section 33-15-18.1 Rights of persons subject to limited guardianship, guardianship and conservatorship.

Universal Citation: RI Gen L § 33-15-18.1 (2018)

§ 33-15-18.1. Rights of persons subject to limited guardianship, guardianship and conservatorship.

(a) Unless specifically authorized by court order, a limited guardian, guardian, or conservator shall not restrict a ward's right of communication, visitation, or interaction with other persons, including the right to receive visitors, telephone calls, or personal mail. If a ward is unable to express consent to communication, visitation, or interaction with a person due to a physical or mental condition, then consent of the ward may be presumed based on the ward's prior relationship history with the person.

(b) A limited guardian, guardian, or conservator may, for good cause shown, move the court to have restrictions placed on a person's ability to communicate, visit, or interact with a ward in accordance with subsection (c) of this section. Good cause means and includes:

(1) Whether any protective orders have been issued to protect the ward from the person seeking access to the ward;

(2) Whether abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of the ward by the person seeking access to the ward has occurred or is likely to occur;

(3) Documented wishes of the ward to reject communication, visitation, or interaction with specific persons; or

(4) Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.

(c)(1) A court may order restrictions placed on the communications, visitations, or interactions a person may have with a ward upon a showing of good cause by the limited guardian, guardian, or conservator.

(2) In determining whether to issue an order in accordance with subsection (c)(1) of this section, the following factors shall be considered by the court:

(i) Whether any protective orders have been issued to protect the ward from the person seeking access to the ward;

(ii) Whether the person has been charged with abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of the ward;

(iii) Whether the ward expresses a desire to communicate, visit, or interact with the person;

(iv) If the ward is unable to communicate, whether a properly executed living will, durable power of attorney, or advance directive contains a preference by the ward with regard to the person's communication, visitation, or interaction with the ward; and

(v) Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.

(3) Prior to issuing an order pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the court shall consider the following restrictions in the order listed:

(i) Placing reasonable time, manner, or place restrictions on communication, visitation, or interaction between the ward and another person based on the history between the ward and the person or the ward's wishes, or both;

(ii) Requiring that communication, visitation, or interaction between the ward and another person be supervised; or

(iii) Denying communication, visitation, or interaction between the ward and another person, provided, that, unless the court finds that the person poses a threat to the ward, supervised communication, visitation, or interaction under subsection (c)(3)(ii) of this section shall be ordered prior to the denial of any communication, visitation, or interaction.

(d)(1) If any interested person, including the ward, reasonably believes that subsection (a) of this section or an order issued pursuant to subsection (c)(1) of this section has been violated, then such person may move the court to:

(i) Require the limited guardian, guardian, or conservator to grant a person access to the ward;

(ii) Restrict, or further restrict, a person's access to the ward;

(iii) Modify the limited guardian, guardian, or conservator's duties; or

(iv) Discharge and replace the limited guardian, guardian, or conservator pursuant to § 33-15-18.

(2) Notwithstanding actions available to the court pursuant to subsection (d)(1) of this section, a limited guardian, guardian, or conservator who is found to be knowingly isolating a ward and who has violated subsection (a) of this section or an order issued pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall be subject to discharge and replacement pursuant to § 33-15-18.

(e)(1) Except as provided in subsection (e)(2) of this section, the court shall schedule a hearing on a motion filed pursuant to subsection (b) or (d) of this section no later than thirty (30) days after the date the motion is filed. The court may, in its discretion, order mediation to be conducted between the parties and the ward prior to the hearing. If mediation results in agreement of the parties and the ward with regard to communication, visitation, or interaction with the ward, the agreement shall be approved and memorialized in an order by the court.

(2)(i) If the motion states that the ward's health is in significant decline or that the ward's death may be imminent, the court shall conduct an emergency hearing as soon as practicable, but no later than ten (10) days after the motion is filed.

(ii) When a scheduling order is issued for a motion filed pursuant to subsection (e)(2)(i) of this section, the court shall also order that supervised communication, visitation, or interaction with the ward be granted during the period prior to the hearing.

(3) Notice of the hearing, a copy of the motion, and a copy of any order issued pursuant to subsection (e)(2)(ii) of this section, if applicable, shall be personally served upon the ward and any person against whom the motion is filed, and nothing in this section shall affect the ward's right to appear and be heard in the proceedings.

(f)(1) The court may award the prevailing party in any action brought under this section court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees; provided, however, that an award of court costs or attorneys' fees shall not be paid out of the ward's estate.

(2) The court, upon motion or upon its own initiative, shall impose upon a limited guardian, guardian, or conservator who is found to be knowingly isolating a ward and who has violated subsection (a) of this section or an order issued pursuant to subsection (c) of this section an appropriate sanction, including an order to pay court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees of the other party or parties; provided, however, that no sanction shall be paid out of the ward's estate.

(g) A limited guardian, guardian, or conservator shall promptly notify a ward's closest relatives and any person designated by the ward to be notified, along with the appropriate contact information and upon the limited guardian, guardian, or conservator's knowledge of such event and information, in the event:

(1) The ward's residence has changed;

(2) The ward is staying at a location other than the ward's residence for more than seven (7) consecutive days;

(3) The ward is admitted to or discharged from a nursing home or assisted-care living facility as defined in §§ 23-17-2 and 23-17.4-2;

(4) The ward is admitted to a medical facility for:

(i) Emergency care in response to a life-threatening injury or medical condition; or

(ii) Acute care; or

(iii) The ward dies, provided, that notification of the ward's death shall be made in person or by telephone.

(h)(1) A limited guardian, guardian, or conservator is not required to provide notice in accordance with subsection (g) of this section if:

(i) A person who is entitled to notice under subsection (g) of this section informs the limited guardian, guardian, or conservator, in writing, that the person does not wish to receive such notice; or

(ii) The ward or a court order has expressly prohibited the limited guardian, guardian, or conservator from providing notice to the person.

(2) A limited guardian, guardian, or conservator shall not provide contact information in accordance with subsection (g) of this section if an order of protection or restraining order has been issued against the person on behalf of the ward.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2017, ch. 225, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 244, § 1.)

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Rhode Island may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.