Title 14: Decedents' Estates and Fiduciary Relations
Chapter 111: GUARDIANSHIP
Sub-Chapter 012: Persons In Need Of Guardianship
14 V.S.A. § 3067. Evaluation and report; background check; release of evaluation
§ 3067. Evaluation and report; background check; release of evaluation
(a) When a petition is filed pursuant to section 3063 of this title, or when a motion for modification or termination is filed pursuant to subdivision 3077(a)(4) of this title, the court shall order an evaluation of the respondent. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the cost of the evaluation shall be paid for out of the respondent's estate or as ordered by the court. If the respondent is unable to afford some or all of the cost of the evaluation without expending income or liquid resources necessary for living expenses, the court shall order that the department of mental health or the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living provide the evaluation through qualified evaluators.
(b) The evaluation shall be performed by someone who has specific training and demonstrated competence to evaluate a person in need of guardianship. The evaluation shall be completed within 30 days of the filing of the petition with the court unless the time period is extended by the court for cause.
(c) The evaluation shall:
(1) describe the nature and degree of the respondent's disability, if any, and the level of the respondent's intellectual, developmental, and social functioning;
(2) contain recommendations, with supporting data, regarding:
(A) those aspects of his or her personal care and financial affairs which the respondent can manage without supervision or assistance;
(B) those aspects of his or her personal care and financial affairs which the respondent could manage with the supervision or assistance of support services and benefits;
(C) those aspects of his or her personal care and financial affairs which the respondent is unable to manage without the supervision of a guardian;
(D) those powers and duties as set forth in sections 3069 and 3071 of this title which should be given to the guardian, including the specific support services and benefits which should be obtained by the guardian for the respondent.
(d) The proposed guardian shall provide the court with the information and consents necessary for a complete background check. Not more than 10 days after receipt of an evaluation supporting guardianship of the respondent, the court shall order from the respective registries background checks of the proposed guardian from any available state registries, including but not limited to the adult abuse registry, child abuse registry, Vermont crime information center, and the Vermont state sex offender registry, and the court shall consider information received from the registries in determining whether the proposed guardian is suitable. However, if appropriate under the circumstances, the court may waive the background reports or may proceed with appointment of a guardian prior to receiving the background reports, provided that the court may remove a guardian if warranted by background reports which the court receives after the guardian's appointment. If the proposed guardian has lived in Vermont for fewer than five years or is a resident of another state, the court may order background checks from the respective state registries of the states in which the proposed guardian lives or has lived in the past five years or from any other source. The court shall provide copies of background check reports to the petitioner, the respondent, and the respondent's attorney.
(e) Regardless of whether the report of the evaluator supports or does not support guardianship, the court shall provide a copy of the evaluation to the respondent, the respondent's attorney, the petitioner, the guardian upon appointment, and any other individual, including the proposed guardian, determined by the court to have a strong interest in the welfare of the respondent. The evaluation shall remain confidential, and recipients of the evaluation are prohibited from sharing the evaluation. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the court may restrict access to the evaluation or portions of the evaluation upon objection by one of the parties or on the court's own motion. (Added 1979, No. 76, § 15; amended 1989, No. 187 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 1995, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2005, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 24; 2007, No. 15, § 7; 2007, No. 186 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)