Latest News and Updates

PRESS RELEASE

Treasurer Fitzpatrick Testifies in Support of HB678

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Supporting Missouri’s Disabled Individuals and their Families

Treasurer Fitzpatrick Testifies in Support of HB678

Supporting Missouri’s Disabled Individuals and their Families

 

                Jefferson City, MO – Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick today testified in front of the House General Laws Committee in support of House Bill 678 which clarifies that a conservatorship is not required for individuals and families using ABLE accounts. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Patterson (R-Lee’s Summit).

                In April, a St. Louis family contacted the Treasurer’s Office because, after seeking a guardianship for their adult daughter, the St. Louis County Circuit Court’s Probate Division decided the family needed to establish a conservatorship in order to continue using the benefits of the ABLE account they had created for their daughter. A conservatorship requires regular fiscal monitoring by the courts, which entails seeking approval for expenditures, filing ongoing paperwork, executing and filing a bond, and incurring additional legal expenses to comply.

                As a result of the ruling, families in that jurisdiction are now required to go through extra steps to obtain a conservatorship if their adult children, who are already under a guardianship, are to continue utilizing the benefits of an ABLE account.

                These unnecessary requirements are not the intent of Missouri’s ABLE Act. The act only requires an authorized legal representative—a parent, legal guardian, or a person granted a Power of Attorney—to act on behalf of the designated beneficiary without any other requirements. HB678 makes it clear that assets held in an ABLE account are not part of an estate under conservatorship law.

                “ABLE accounts are intended to help disabled individuals save money for disability-related expenses—not create a burden for caregivers,” Treasurer Fitzpatrick said. “This commonsense legislation clarifies the law and benefits individuals with disabilities and their families. I encourage the General Assembly to pass it.”

   “ABLE accounts are an important program for Missouri’s disabled individuals and their families,” Rep. Patterson said. “I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this bill so that this program can be used as intended.”

                MO ABLE accounts are tax advantaged savings plans for Missourians with disabilities and are administered by the Missouri State Treasurer’s Office. The program allows persons with disabilities to save and invest without losing federal needs-based benefits and encourages financial independence for its owners. For more information about the program, please visit www.moable.com.

 

###