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(3) Except as hereinafter provided it shall be unlawful for any person to accept appointment as guardian of any ward if such proposed guardian shall at that time be acting as guardian for five wards. In any case, upon presentation of a petition by an attorney of the bureau under this section alleging that a guardian is acting in a fiduciary capacity for more than five wards and requesting his discharge for that reason, the court, upon proof substantiating the petition, shall require a final accounting forth with from such guardian and shall discharge such guardian in said case. The limitations of this section shall not apply where the guardian is a bank or trust company acting for the wards' estates only. An individual may be guardian of more than five wards if they are all members of the same family.
(4) A petition for the appointment of a guardian may be filed in the probate court by any person who, under existing law, is entitled to priority of appointment. If there be no person so entitled, or if the person so entitled shall neglect or refuse to file such a petition within 30 days after mailing of notice by the bureau to the last-known address of such person indicating the necessity for the same, a petition for such appointment may be filed in the probate court by any responsible person as next friend of such ward. The petition for appointment shall be entitled “Petition for appointment of guardian under uniform veterans' guardianship act,” and shall set forth the name, residence, and date of birth of the minor or incompetent person, the names and addresses of the parents, and if a minor orphan, the names of the deceased parents with the date of death, the names and places of residence of the nearest relative or relatives, the relationship, if any, of the petitioner, and the right in which the application is made. Said petition shall also set forth that such ward is entitled to receive moneys payable by or through the bureau, and shall state the amount of moneys then due and the amount of probable future payments, as well as the estimated value of any other property to which said ward is entitled, the character thereof, and where situated, and, if real estate, the value and annual rental thereof. In the case of a mentally incompetent ward the petition shall show that such ward has been rated incompetent on examination by the bureau in accordance with the laws and regulations governing the bureau.
(5) Where a petition is filed for the appointment of a guardian of a minor ward a certificate of the director, or his representative, setting forth the age of such minor, as shown by the records of the bureau, and the fact that the appointment of a guardian is a condition precedent to the payment of any moneys due the minor by the bureau, shall be prima facie evidence of the necessity for such appointment.
(6) Where a petition is filed for the appointment of a guardian of a mentally incompetent ward a certificate of the director, or his representative, setting forth the fact that such person has been rated incompetent by the bureau on'examination in accordance with the laws and regulations governing such bureau, and that the appointment of a guardian is a condition precedent to the payment of any moneys due such person by the bureau, shall be prima facie evidence of the necessity for such appointment.
(7) Upon the filing of a petition for the appointment of a guardian, under the provisions of this act, the court shall cause such notice to be given as provided by law.
(8) Before making an appointment under the provisions of this act the court shall be satisfied that the guardian whose appointment is sought is a fit and proper person to be appointed. Upon the appointment being made the guardian shall execute and file an undertaking to be approved by the court in an amount not less than the sum then due and estimated to become payable during the ensuing year. The said undertaking shall be in the form and be conditioned as required of guardians appointed under chapter 31 of the District of Columbia Code. The court shall have power from time to time to require the guardian to file an additional undertaking.
(9) Every guardian who shall receive on account of his ward any moneys from the bureau shall file with the court annually, on the anniversary date of the appointment, in addition to such other accounts as may be required by the court, a full, true, and accurate account under oath of all moneys so received by him, of all disbursements thereof, and showing the balance thereof in his hands at the date of such account and how invested. A certified copy of each of such accounts filed with the court shall be sent by the guardian to the office of the hureau. The court shall follow the same procedure as to examination, notice, and approval of said accounts as pertains to other guardianship cases under its jurisdiction.
(10) If any guardian shall fail to file any account of the moneys received by him from the bureau on account of his ward within 30 days after such account is required by either the court or the bureau, or shall fail to furnish the bureau a copy of his accounts as required by this act, such failure shall be grounds for removal.
(11) Compensation payable to guardians shall not exceed 5 per cent of the income of the ward during any year. In the event of extraordinary services rendered by such guardian he court may authorize additional compensation therefor payable from the estate of the ward. No compensation shall be allowed on the corpus of an estate received from & preceding guardian. The guardian may be allowed from the estate of his ward reasonable premiums paid by him to any corporate surety upon his undertaking.
(12) Every guardian shall invest the funds of the estate in such manner or in such securities, in which the guardian has no interest, as allowed by law or approved by the court.
(13) A guardian shall not apply any portion of the estate of his ward for the support and maintenance of any person other than his ward, except upon order of the court.
(14) Whenever a copy of any public record is required by the bureau to be used in determining the eligibility of any person to participate in benefits made available by such bureau, the officia charged with the custody of such public record shall without charge provide the applicant for such benefits or any person acting on his behalf or the representative of such bureau with a certified copy of such record.
(15) Whenever it appears that an incompetent veteran of any war, military occupatiun, or expedition is eligible for treatment in a United States veterans' hospital, and commitment to such hospital is necessary for the proper care and treatment of such veteran, the court is hereby authorized to communicate with the bureau with reference to available facilities and eligibility; and upon receipt of a certificate from the bureau that there is a bed available in a United States veterans' hospital and that the veteran is entitled to hospitalization, the court may then direct such veteran's commitment to such United States veterans' hospital. Thereafter such veteran, upon admission, shall be subject to the rules and regulations of such hospital, and the officials of such hospital shall be vested with the same powers now exercised by superintendents of State hospitals for mental diseases within the State in which such United States veterans' hospital is located with reference to the retention of custody of the veteran so committed. Notice of such pending proceedings shall be furnished the person to be committed. and his right to appear and defend shall not be denied.
(16) When a minor ward for whom a guardian has been appointed shall have attained his majority and has not been found incompetent, and when any imcompetent ward has been rated competent by the bureau, a certificate of the director, or his duly authorized representative, to that effect shall be prima facie evidence that a guardian is no longer required; and the court, upon the guardian filing a satisfactory final account, may discharge such guardian upon a petition filed for that purpose. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to prevent the ward from filing a petition for the discharge of his guardian on the ground that the ward has attained majority or is competent, or the court from acting on its own motion in such cases. If, after the probate court has taken jurisdiction of the administration of the estate of an incompetent ward, such ward should by proceeding in the equity branch be adjudicated to be of unsound mind, the case, on proper order of the probate court, shall be transferred to the equity court for administration therein in accordance with the provisions and rules pertaining to the administration of estates of persons non compos mentis, so far us not inconsistent with this act. Upon the death of any minor or incompetent ward, the guardian shall forthwith file his final account, and after the approval by the court thereof shall deliver the balance as set forth in said account to the proper legal representative of the deceased ward.
(17) This act shall be construed liberally to secure the beneficial intents and purposes thereof and shall apply only to beneficiaries of the bureau. It shall apply to committees and guardians of such beneficiaries appointed prior to the enactment of this act: Provided, however, That nothing herein shall be construed to confer jurisdiction upon the Probate Court of the District of Columbia to appoint guardians for incompetent veterans to the exclusion of the jurisdiction otherwise vested in courts of the various States. (18) This act may be cited as the uniform veterans' guardianship act.
SR-71-2-VOL 2- -4
(19) The invalidity of any portion of this act shall not affect the validity of any other portion thereof which can be given effect without such invalid part.
(20) All laws or parts of laws inconsistent with this act are hereby modified so far as concerns bureau beneficiaries.
(21) This act shall become effective from and after its approval.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS BILL
The object of this bill is to incorporate into the District of Columbia Code the uniform veterans' guardianship act proposed by the national conference of commissioners on uniform State laws.
The act has been adopted in 29 States in the form proposed by the conference on uniform State laws and approved by the American Bar Association. Six other States have enacted most of the principal provisions of the act, while six other States had similar legislation prior to the drafting of the act. In other words, 41 States have on their statute books legislation of this nature.
The act has been recognized generally, by the United States Veterans' Bureau and by veterans' organizations, to be most beneficial in protecting the interests of incompetent veterans and in safeguarding the Government funds paid to children of disabled or deceased veterans.
This bill was suggested to the committee by the Director of the Veterans' Bureau. It has been amended so as not to conflict with District law. In its perfected form, the committee believes this bill, when enacted, will be of great benefit to veterans and minor wards under the jurisdiction of the Veterans' Bureau.
The bill presents an efficient, equitable, and well-considered plan of court procedure in the commitment of veterans to United States veterans' hospitals and in the handling of estates for incompetent veterans and for the minor wards of disabled or deceased veterans.
Its provisions have been carefully studied by counsel of the Veterans' Bureau, officials of the District Supreme Court, and by the corporation counsel of the District of Columbia.
There are appended hereto, as part of the report, communications from the Director of the Veterans' Bureau and from various veterans' organizations in the District of Columbia, indorsing the proposed legislation.
UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU,
Washington, June 20, 1929. Hon. ARTHUR CAPPER,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR CAPPER: This letter is addressed to you as chairman of the Senate Committee of the District of Columbia with a view to suggesting certain legislation relative to minor and incompetent beneficiaries of the United States Veterans' Bureau. As you are probably aware, the uniform veterans' guardianship act proposed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, approved by the American Bar Association as well as by the American Legion and other veteran organizations, has been enacted in whole or in part by more than half of the States of the Union, including your own State, and is being considered at the present time by several State legislatures now in session. It is believed that this legislation, which seeks to make uniform throughout the United States the adıninistration of the estates of bureau beneficiaries and to insure the cooperation of the courts and the bureau in supervising the administration of such estates, should be enacted by the Congress for the District of Columbia.
I am taking the liberty of forwarding herewith a copy of the pamphlet issued by the conference containing the proposed legislation and a brief or foreword showing the reasons and necessity therefor. If enacted for the District of Columbia this legislation would repeal in part the following acts: Public No. 597 (69th Cong.), an act to amend section 115-B of subchapter 3 of chapter 1 of the District of Columbia Code; Public No. 598 (69th Cong.), an act to amend section 1135, chapter 31, of the District of Columbia Code; and Public No. 752 (69th Cong.), an act relating to the appointment of trustees and committees. It would constitute a virtual reenactment of the last mentioned act and would liberalize somewhat the provisions of the other two. It may be stated that experience was demonstrated that the restrictions with regard to compensation of fiduciaries as contained in the first two acts mentioned makes it very difficult to secure the services of satisfactory guardians and committees. It is believed that the provisions of the uniform act with reference to commissions would be much more satisfactory and that the other provisions of said act would enable the courts and the bureau to better protect the interests and welfare of the minor and incompetent wards resident in the District of Columbia.
Further information and additional copies of the proposed act, if desired, will be supplied upon request. This uniform legislation is, of course, sponsored by the representatives of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and of the American Bar Association. Further information in this respect may be secured from Mr. Frederick S. Tyler, secretary of the committee for the District of Columbia, National Metropolitan Bank Building, Washington, D. C. Hon. Charles V. Imlay, 1416 F Street NW., Washington, D. C., is also one of the commissioners and in such capacity assisted in the drafting of the uniform act. Very truly yours,
FRANK T. Hines, Director.
UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU,
Washington, December 6, 1929. Hon. ARTHUR CAPPER,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR CAPPER: With further reference to my letter of June 20, 1929, there is forwarded herewith for consideration of such committee a proposed bill embodying the features of the uniform veterans' guardianship act as proposed by the commissioners on uniforn State laws and approved by the American Bar Association, the American Legion, and other ex-service organizations. The purpose of this act is to make uniform throughout the Nation the laws relative to incompetent veterans and the minor dependents of disabled and deceased veterans of the World War who are receiving benefits from the United States Government as a result of the service of such veterans in the World War. This uniform act has been adopted in whole or in part to date by 32 States and it is believed that it would be very desirable for the District of Columbia, as pointed out in my previous communication. The present District Code includes some of the features of this uniform act and the act, if adopted for the District, would necessarily repeal some of the previous acts, reference to which is made in said communication. It is believed that this would be advantageous to the bureau and the courts in supervising the administration of the estates of these bureau beneficiaries and that it would enable the bureau and the courts to cooperate more fully and satisfactorily to this end.
It is also believed that the provision with regard to commission to be earned by a fiduciary is more logical than that now contained in the District Code. Under the law that now exists the compensation which may be allowed a committee or guardian is 5 per cent of the receipts if and when expended. Experience seems to indicate that it is more desirable that the law permit the court to allow a commission not to exceed 5 per cent in the usual case and unless extraordinary service performed by the fiduciary warrants a larger commission. The section with regard to commitments would, it is believed, be more satisfactory in that it would permit commitment to United States Veterans' Hospitals located outside the District of Columbia. At the present time such commitments can be made only to St. Elizabeths Hospital which is not a United States veterans' hospital.
The bureau will be glad to supply any further information which may be desired in connection with this matter and I may state that your committee may also secure information from the commissioners on uniform State laws for the District of Columbia.
I may state also that a copy of this bill has been forwarded to Hon. Proctor L. Dougherty, president Board of Commissioners, District of Columbia, and he has been supplied with information relative to the proposed legislation. Very truly yours,
FRANK T. Hines, Director.
Washington, April 4, 1930. Hon. ARTHUR CAPPER,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: At a meeting of the executive committee of the Department of the District of Columbia held March 27, 1930, the following resolution was adopted:
Whereas the American Legion in its tenth annual convention adopted a resolution indorsing the action of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and of the American Bar Association in drafting and recommending for adoption by the various States and the District of Columbia of the uniform veterans' guardianship act; and
Whereas said uniform act has been enacted by some 28 States, and in part by six additional States, some six other States having previously adopted similar legislation, thus evidencing widespread approval of the Government's policy of safeguarding the estates of veterans who were disabled or who have died as a result of injuries received in service during the World War; and
Whereas there is now pending in the Congress of the United States, Senate bill No. 2816, embodying the provisions of said act; and
Whereas the enactment of said bill for the District of Columbia would more definitely insure the protection of our unfortunate comrades, and their children; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Department of the District of Columbia, the American Legion heartily indorses the action of Hon. Arthur Capper in introducing said bill and respectfully recommends its enactment by the Congress.
Be it further resolved, That the department adjutant be, and he is hereby instructed to forward a copy of this resolution to the Hon. Arthur Capper, chairman of the Senate Committee for the District of Columbia, and to the Hon. Royal C. Johnson, chairman of the Committee on World War Veterans' Legislation, House of Representatives. Respectfully submitted.
HOWARD S. Fisk, Department Adjutant.
GEORGE WASHINGTON Post No. 1,
Washington, March 28, 1930.
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: Inclosed is a copy of a resolution passed by George Washington Post No. 1, recommending the passage of the uniform veterans' guardianship act. We feel that this act, if passed, will do much to correct abuses such as have occurred in the past. Respectfully yours,
HOMER G. JORDAN, Adjutant. Whereas the American Legion in its tenth annual convention adopted a resolution indorsing the action of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and of the American Bar Association in drafting and recommending for adoption by the various States and the District of Columbia of the uniform veterans' guardianship act; and
Whereas said uniform act has been enacted by some 28 States, and in part by 6 additional States, some 6 other States having previously adopted similar legislation, thus evidencing widespread approval of the Government's policy of safeguarding the estates and welfare of incompetent disabled veterans and of the minor children of veterans who were disabled or who have died as a result of injuries received in service during the World War; and