JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A bill aimed at ensuring that MO ABLE accounts remain true to there intention and that families are able to use the program to its fullest was before a House committee.
On Wednesday, the House Committee on General Laws held a public hearing on HB 678, filed be Rep. Jon Patterson. The measure clarifies that a conservatorship is not necessary for individuals or families using ABLE accounts, which are created with the purpose of helping Missouri’s disabled individuals and their family save money for disability-related expenses.
“ABLE accounts are an important program for Missouri’s disabled-individuals and their families,” Patterson said.
The provisions in Missouri’s ABLE Act only require an authorized legal representative— a parent, legal guardian, or a person granted a Power of Attorney — who is then empowered to act on behalf of the designated beneficiary without any other requirements, noted Patterson.
Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick said that a recent court ruling has caused uncertainty for the program participants by adding complicated and costly steps.
A judge in 2018 ruled that families in that jurisdiction had to establish conservatorship to use the ABLE account and its benefits, meaning they would have go through the process of establishing conservatorship of the disabled individuals, even if they were already established with guardianships.
“These requirements are unnecessary, and I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this bill so that this program can be utilized as intended,” said Patterson.
HB 678 makes it clear that assets held in an ABLE account are not part of an estate under conservatorship law.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.