Welcome to CPA at Law, helping individuals and small businesses plan for the future and keep what they have.

This is the personal blog of Sterling Olander, a Certified Public Accountant and Utah-licensed attorney. For over thirteen years, I have assisted clients with estate planning and administration, tax mitigation, tax controversies, small business planning, asset protection, and nonprofit law.

I write about any legal, tax, or technological information that I find interesting or useful in serving my clients. All ideas expressed herein are my own and don't constitute legal or tax advice.

Utah's Guardianship Bill of Rights

According to the American Bar Association, "Since 2015, at least 18 states have passed legislation to focus on the rights of individuals under guardianship, while others with existing laws have modified and strengthened those laws." Utah was added to this list earlier this year when H.B. 320, the Guardianship Bill of Rights, was passed and signed into law.

The Guardianship Bill of Rights "addresses the rights of a person alleged to be incapacitated with respect to a guardianship" and also "addresses the rights of an incapacitated person with respect to a guardianship." While it was always clear that an adult person alleged to be incapacitated had a right to be represented by an attorney prior to having a guardian appointed, that right was less clear after having been declared incapacitated and having a guardian appointed. After all, is a person under full guardianship legally capable of retaining an attorney?

The Guardianship Bill of Rights specifies that "an incapacitated person for whom a guardian is appointed has [the] right to... have counsel represent the incapacitated person at any time after the guardian is appointed." This is an important clarification that will help prevent guardianship abuse.

Another important right that persons under guardianship have is to "receive telephone calls and personal mail and associate with relatives and acquaintances." This section works with Utah Code 75-5-312.5 to help address the "anecdotal evidence... that guardians, either well-meaning or for personal gain, have restricted the protected person’s access to their family..." The Guardianship Bill of Rights is an important law that provides meaningful protection for vulnerable individuals.