Recent Legislation: Oregon Uniform Adult Guardianships

From time to time, we will publish blurbs on recent local court opinions and state legislation:

Senate Bill 238

Oregon Senate Bill 238 enacts the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act. It is broken into five different articles that provide a uniform procedure for people to follow when a guardianship or conservatorship case may involve multiple states.

ARTICLE ONE:  The first article sets out basic definitions as well as several provisions that permit Oregon courts to work with courts in other jurisdictions in conservatorship and guardianship matters (hereinafter collectively referred to as “protective proceedings”). It gives courts permission to speak with courts of another state regarding protective proceedings. It also gives Oregon courts the ability to cooperate with protective proceedings being held in other states by holding evidentiary hearings, ordering an evaluation of a respondent, releasing medical records, and multiple other functions that could be achieved by a local court more easily than a foreign court. Last, it provides that testimony for a protective proceeding may be taken in another state and that an Oregon court must cooperate in setting a location for the testimony.

ARTICLE TWO:  Article two addresses how courts should determine the proper jurisdiction for a protective proceeding. Jurisdiction can be granted in a protective proceeding for a laundry list of reasons, but the main purpose of this article is to create a system where only one protective proceeding is ongoing and to set out basic rules for courts to use to decide which court should proceed and which court should dismiss. This article also creates the ability for an Oregon court to exercise “special jurisdiction” in an emergency, when property is in the state of Oregon, or to appoint a guardian or conservator for an incapacitated or protected person when a party is transferring a petition from another state. Last, this article allows a court to decline jurisdiction because there is a more appropriate forum for the protective proceeding.

ARTICLE THREE:  The third article sets out procedures for transferring a protective proceeding to a court in a different state. On the court’s own motion or by a party’s petition, the court may make a provisional order transferring the case. The article lists multiple factors the court should consider when making such a determination. The order is provisional because it is dependent upon the other state accepting jurisdiction over the protective proceeding. The second part of article three sets out the procedure for Oregon courts to use to determine if it should take jurisdiction over a case being transferred to it by another state.

ARTICLE FOUR:  The registration and recognition of protective orders from other states is set out in article four. A registered order allows all powers of the registered order to be recognized in the state of Oregon, except any authority that may be prohibited under Oregon law. 

ARTICLE FIVE:  Article five makes several minor amendments to ORS 125.015, 125.025, and 125.215. These three sections deal with jurisdiction, and article five makes them subject to the new jurisdictional provisions set out in articles one through four. 

Taken as a whole, Senate Bill 238 is an extremely comprehensive and expansive jurisdictional statute to which special attention should be paid when bringing a protective proceeding.