Public Comments for: HB370 - Uniform Fiduciary Income and Principal Act; replaces prior Act.
Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, and committee members: Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB 16 and thank you, Delegate Fowler, for your work updating our state’s Safe Haven law. We, Virginia is for Children (an advocacy group for the lives of vulnerable children in our state), are following the Safe Haven law efforts and are fully supportive of the extension to thirty days of age for infant relinquishment. This is a reasonable, standard amount of time for a mom/parent to conclude that they cannot parent their baby OR, change their mind and decide they can parent their baby. Such a significant, life-altering decision does not need to be rushed or hurried. We know that moms who have just given birth, especially those who are alone, need time to recover physically and emotionally. Moms can experience postpartum depression after the birth of child, this typically occurs within the first 1-3 weeks after birth, parents can be in desperate situations- experiencing homelessness, abuse, addiction and need time to get help. Twenty-one states are now at thirty days for age of relinquishment. Utah just extended their law to thirty days in February, 2020 and approved funding for safe haven law awareness. Extending this law can potentially save more infants from abuse, neglect, and abandonment and give parents the time they need to make important decisions. We hope the committee will approve the extension and consider providing state funding for safe haven law awareness and promotion of safe haven locations or “safe baby sites”. Not enough parents are informed about the law’s existence and the process involved. Our group is especially interested in a state funded, DSS promoted, 24-hour confidential, crisis hotline that would provide intervention and support for women in crisis pregnancies and struggling parents, so that they can get the help they need to parent their baby. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and committee members for your time and for the opportunity to voice our support of this bill. Sincerely, Leah Kipley VA is for Children
In reviewing your proposed legislation to modify the Uniform Fiduciary Act, it prompted me to write to you to request including language requiring financial institutions to make available a "temporary signature proxy" for approval by the account holder in the event that he/she is likely to become incapacitated without the authority to transfer to other accounts. It would expire at the death of the individual and all remaining funds would remain the asset property of the deceased. It is quite unfortunate when well intentions go awry at the death of one who has entrusted their well being to the ruthless greed of others. Recently, I have witnessed two situations where an individual became unable to write checks for their bills, place a "trusted person" on their bank accounts to handle the bill paying for them, then passed away. According to VA Banking Laws, these funds now belong to that joint person on the account. In one situation, the person was given the authority to write checks for the bills because Rheumatoid Arthritis had severely deformed the decedent's hands and they could no longer write and they were bed ridden with a lung disease. The 26 year old walked away with the decedent's entire life's savings of $63,447 and refused to even buy flowers for the decedent's funeral. In another situation, while the decedent was in ICU with little expected life left, the so-called trusted friend transferred every dime of his money to her personal account. She transferred $48,000 to her sole personal account with no effort or question by the bank because he could no longer speak for himself or write. He died and the family became aware that his bills were in default and his vehicle was in repossession status. I am pleading with you to consider these situations because as much as I loved these individuals, there was no law that prevented them from doing any of this. It is my hope that you are able to improve our legal system to prevent this from happening to so many of our elderly and disabled in the future. Thank you for your time.