New legislation will ensure Oklahoma’s disabled veterans now will have access to court-appointed, trained volunteers available to assist them with important personal affairs.
Senate Bill 931 created the Veterans Volunteer Guardianship Act, which went into effect upon being signed. The new law applies to disabled veterans both inside and out of the state’s seven veterans centers.
The measure was requested by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Approximately 10 percent of the state's fully or partially incapacitated veterans do not have family members or friends to serve as their guardians, according to a news release.
“Sadly, many of Oklahoma’s disabled heroes are falling victim to financial scams or are making dangerous health decisions because they don’t have anyone to depend on for help,” said bill author State Senator Paul Rosino (R-OKC). “This program will provide trained volunteers who will be appointed by the courts to meet the special needs of each veteran. They will now be able to rest easy knowing they have someone looking out for their best interests. I want to thank my colleagues in both chambers and Governor Stitt for supporting this important bill and showing our military heroes we truly care and want the best for them.”
The volunteer advocates will help veterans make critical decisions concerning their finances, health and other personal affairs.
Under the new law, veteran-specific guardians will be appointed under the existing provisions of the Oklahoma Guardianship and Conservatorship Act. Guardianships may be general or limited to the specific needs of the veteran. Each guardian will be required to have a bond if managing a veteran’s property.
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