Advocaat.be reacts with concern over proposed bill around guardianship
Advocaat.be expresses its concern about the proposed bill on receivership, as proposed by Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne. This bill seeks to crack down on a small group of negligent, excessive and fraudulent administrators. And while advocaat.be understands the intention behind the bill to tackle abuses and abuses, there are some concerns.
Advocaat.be is pushing for a balanced draft law on receivership that takes into account the diversity of cases and offers tailor-made solutions, a tough but fair approach to abuse, realistic compensation for receivers, and maintaining flexibility for the justice of the peace to appoint professional receivers if necessary, while keeping the best interests of the protected persons at heart.
"To provide effective protection to the most vulnerable in our society, we must ensure tailoring and fairness and realistic remuneration. We are ready to work together for a better and fairer bill that puts the best interests of the protected at the centre."
Not only older people are under guardianship
The draft law seems to start from a false image around guardianship, namely elderly people in rest homes with limited financial resources. But that is no longer the reality: in reality, a wide range of people are under guardianship. Half of the people under guardianship are under 50 years old, with a quarter of cases even involving people under 30.
These are people with complex financial and personal situations. They rent a house, need internet, go on holiday, drive a car, move in together ... In addition, among the younger people who come under guardianship, we also see many people with mental health problems who may or may not be in a very precarious situation: they may be taking medication and can cause problems just like anyone else. In all these situations, as a guardian, you are often the first point of contact.
Such cases require a lot of attention and also administrative follow-up. Therefore, we ask that the draft law take more account of this diversity of cases and offer tailor-made solutions instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.
A fair approach to abuse
Advocaat.be obviously agrees that abuses and malpractices should be dealt with severely, but we should be cautious about imposing reporting obligations that could lead to the replacement of administrators without concrete evidence. Experience shows that persons under trusteeship are sometimes too quick and unjust to accuse their trustees of malpractice. The "innocent until proven guilty" principle should be respected and allegations thoroughly investigated before action is taken.
No national register but recognised training for professional administrator
Instead of a national register for professional administrators, Advocaat.be proposes to issue certificates to lawyer-administrators who have completed an Administration training course. That training already exists today for lawyers and guarantees that lawyer-administrators have the right qualifications and that everyone can find a professional administrator through Advocaat.be.
A realistic fee
The proposed fee of €900 per year for administrators lacks realism, partly because of the complexity of cases. This amount means that a professional administrator gets 75 euros per month for all costs and hours to ensure proper supervision. A good fee system is essential to ensure quality services. Advocaat.be has always been and remains willing to discuss this.
Customisation is necessary
While family members can sometimes be suitable administrators, an absolute priority for family administrators should not lead to a lack of customisation. The justice of the peace should retain the flexibility to choose a professional administrator in complex cases when necessary.
Advocaat.be recognises the importance of an effective and transparent guardianship system. It is keen to work with the government to arrive at a balanced bill that best protects the interests of vulnerable individuals without unnecessarily hampering professional administrators in their crucial role.
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