Temporary Guardianship May Not Be Automatically Renewed

Ex parte Jamison, [Ms. 1190984, Apr. 9, 2021], ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2021). The Court (Bolin, J.; Shaw, Wise, Sellers, Mendheim, Stewart, and Mitchell, JJ., concur; Bryan, J., concurs in the result; Parker, C.J., dissents) issues a writ of mandamus directing the Jefferson Probate Court to vacate its order purporting to automatically renew the 30-day appointment of a temporary guardian and conservator for John Jamison III, an elderly dementia patient. The Court first explains that DHR’s filing of an adult-protective services action in the Jefferson Circuit Court did not divest the probate court of jurisdiction over the guardianship/conservatorship action and concludes that the two proceedings are not mutually exclusive. Ms. **16-17.

The Court grants the writ on the alternative ground that the order purporting to automatically renew the appointment of the temporary guardian violated § 26-2A-107, Ala. Code 1975. The Court concludes, “it is not the intent of the legislature to allow a temporary conservatorship, or actions taken to temporarily protect the assets of a protected person, to essentially ripen into a permanent conservatorship without further timely action and oversight of the probate court.” Ms. **27-28. Citing the Comment to § 26-2A-107, the Court notes “a time limit for the appointment of a temporary guardian is important because a temporary guardian may be appointed only in an emergency situation. That Comment also recognizes that a court can renew the appointment for an additional period or additional periods ‘according to the exigencies of the emergency.’” Ms. *29. Finally, the Court emphasizes that “an automatically renewing order not only violates the plain meaning of § 26-2A-107(a), it defeats the purpose of the 30-day limit on a temporary guardianship. Although there is no express time limit regarding a temporary conservatorship, the same reasoning logically applies to an automatically renewing temporary conservatorship.” Ms. *35.

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