Section 38-1-3

Legal representative for handling public assistance payments of incompetents.

If any otherwise qualified applicant for or recipient of public assistance appears to be incapable, physically or mentally, or both, of managing his public assistance payments, and has no legal guardian, he, his spouse, father, mother, child, brother or sister, with the consent of the Department of Human Resources, or the Department of Human Resources may petition the probate judge for the appointment of a legal representative to handle his public assistance payments only. The petition shall be accompanied by a certificate in writing of a physician which certificate shall state that the physician upon examination believes the applicant or recipient to be physically or mentally, or both, incapable of managing his public assistance payments. The probate judge shall conduct a hearing for the purpose of appointing a competent person as legal representative after notice of at least 10 days in advance to the applicant or recipient, and within 30 days from receipt of the petition. If the probate judge finds that the allegations of the petition are supported by the evidence, he shall issue an order appointing a legal representative. Employees of the Department of Human Resources are expressly prohibited from serving as such legal representatives. When a legal representative is appointed, it shall be his duty to receive and disburse the recipient's assistance payments on his behalf and to make to the court a true and accurate account thereof annually or as often as required by the court. Funds in the hands of such legal representative shall be expended only for the purpose contemplated by this section and only for the benefit of said public assistance recipient. The appointment of such legal representative shall not be considered as evidence of physical or mental incapacity in any other proceeding, and such appointment shall not be the basis for committing any person to any institution.

The legal representative so appointed may be removed by the probate judge for failure to discharge his duties or at the request of the legal representative. Such representative, upon order of the court, shall make a settlement and a new competent legal representative shall be appointed by the judge with notice to the Department of Human Resources. If an applicant or recipient appears capable of managing his public assistance payments at any time after a legal representative has been appointed for him, the applicant or recipient or the legal representative with the approval of the Department of Human Resources may apply in writing to the probate judge for the legal representative to be discharged. This application must be accompanied by a certificate in writing of a physician stating that after examination of such person he believes him to be capable of managing his public assistance payments. If the probate judge finds the allegations of the petition are supported by the evidence, he shall issue an order discharging the legal representative. Such representative, upon order of the court, shall make a settlement.

(Acts 1965, No. 674, p. 1213, §§1, 2.)