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Highlights

The Senate Special Committee on Aging asked GAO to follow up on its 2004 report, Guardianships: Collaboration Needed to Protect Incapacitated Elderly People, GAO-04-655. This report covered what state courts do to ensure that guardians fulfill their responsibilities, what exemplary guardianship programs look like, and how state courts and federal agencies work together to protect incapacitated elderly people. For this testimony, GAO agreed to (1) provide an overview and update of the findings of this prior work; (2) discuss the status of a series of recommendations GAO made in that report; and (3) discuss the prospects for progress in efforts to strengthen protections for incapacitated elderly people through guardianships. To complete this work, GAO interviewed lawyers and agency officials who have been actively involved in guardianship and representative payee programs, and spoke with officials at some of the courts identified as exemplary in the report.

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