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Searching 2017-2018 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 33 : Human Services

Chapter 069 : REPORTS OF ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND EXPLOITATION OF VULNERABLE ADULTS

Subchapter 001 : REPORTS OF ABUSE OF VULNERABLE ADULTS

(Cite as: 33 V.S.A. § 6915)
  • § 6915. Access to financial information

    (a) As used in this chapter:

    (1) "A person having custody or control of the financial information" means:

    (A) a bank as defined in 8 V.S.A. § 11101;

    (B) a credit union as defined in 8 V.S.A. § 30101;

    (C) a broker-dealer or investment advisor, as those terms are defined in 9 V.S.A. § 5102; or

    (D) a mutual fund as defined in 8 V.S.A. § 3461.

    (2) "Capacity" means an individual's ability to make and communicate a decision regarding the issue that needs to be decided.

    (3) "Financial information" means an original or copy of, or information derived from:

    (A) a document that grants signature authority over an account held at a financial institution;

    (B) a statement, ledger card, or other record of an account held at a financial institution that shows transactions in or with respect to that account;

    (C) a check, clear draft, or money order that is drawn on a financial institution or issued and payable by or through a financial institution;

    (D) any item, other than an institutional or periodic charge, that is made under an agreement between a financial institution and another person's account held at a financial institution;

    (E) any information that relates to a loan account or an application for a loan;

    (F) information pertaining to an insurance or endowment policy, annuity contract, contributory or noncontributory pension fund, mutual fund, or security, as defined in 9 V.S.A. § 5102; or

    (G) evidence of a transaction conducted by electronic or telephonic means.

    (4) "Financial institution" means any financial services provider licensed, registered, or otherwise authorized to do business in Vermont, including a bank, credit union, broker-dealer, investment advisor, mutual fund, or investment company.

    (b) A person having custody or control of the financial information of a vulnerable adult shall make the information or a copy of the information available to an adult protective services investigator upon receipt of a court order or receipt of the investigator's written request.

    (1) The request shall include a statement signed by the account holder, if he or she has capacity, or the account holder's guardian with financial powers or agent under a power of attorney consenting to the release of the information to the investigator.

    (2) If the vulnerable adult lacks capacity and does not have a guardian or agent, or if the vulnerable adult lacks capacity and his or her guardian or agent is the alleged perpetrator, the request shall include a statement signed by the investigator asserting that all of the following conditions exist:

    (A) The account holder is an alleged victim of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

    (B) The alleged victim lacks the capacity to consent to the release of the financial information.

    (C) Law enforcement is not involved in the investigation or has not requested a subpoena for the information.

    (D) The alleged victim will suffer imminent harm if the investigation is delayed while the investigator obtains a court order authorizing the release of the information.

    (E) Immediate enforcement activity that depends on the information would be materially and adversely affected by waiting until the alleged victim regains capacity.

    (F) The Commissioner of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living has personally reviewed the request and confirmed that the conditions set forth in subdivisions (A) through (E) of this subdivision (2) have been met and that disclosure of the information is necessary to protect the alleged victim from abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.

    (c) If a guardian refuses to consent to the release of the alleged victim's financial information, the investigator may seek review of the guardian's refusal by filing a motion with the Probate Division of the Superior Court pursuant to 14 V.S.A. § 3062(c).

    (d) If an agent under a power of attorney refuses to consent to the release of the alleged victim's financial information, the investigator may file a petition in Superior Court pursuant to 14 V.S.A. § 3510(b) to compel the agent to consent to the release of the alleged victim's financial information.

    (e) The investigator shall include a copy of the written request in the alleged victim's case file.

    (f) The person having custody or control of the financial information shall not require the investigator to provide details of the investigation to support the request for production of the information.

    (g) The information requested and released shall be used only to investigate the allegation of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation or for the purposes set forth in subdivision 6911(a)(1)(B) of this title and shall not be used against the alleged victim.

    (h) The person having custody or control of the financial information shall provide the information to the investigator as soon as possible but, absent extraordinary circumstances, no later than 10 business days following receipt of the investigator's written request or receipt of a court order or subpoena requiring disclosure of the information.

    (i) A person who in good faith makes an alleged victim's financial information or a copy of the information available to an investigator in accordance with this section shall be immune from civil or criminal liability for disclosure of the information unless the person's actions constitute gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. Nothing in this section shall be construed to provide civil or criminal immunity to a person suspected of having abused, neglected, or exploited a vulnerable adult.

    (j) The person having custody or control of the financial information of an alleged victim may charge the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living no more than the actual cost of providing the information to the investigator and shall not refuse to provide the information until payment is received. A financial institution shall not charge the Department for the information if the financial institution would not charge if the request for the information had been made directly by the account holder. (Added 2015, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 10, 2016.)