Changning sees rise in guardianship cases

Ke Jiayun
Number of cases last year 253 percent higher than in 2015 while an increasing number are related to elderly people with diseases affecting their ability to look after themselves.
Ke Jiayun

Changning District accepted more than 700 cases related to guardianship over the past five years, with the number of such cases last year 253 percent higher than that in 2015, according to a white paper issued by the court on Tuesday.

Guardianship refers not only to minors, but also to senior citizens, especially those with problems such as Alzheimer's disease and cerebral infarction, mental illness and disabilities.

The white paper said that by the end of 2018 Changning had more than 210,000 residents aged 60 or older, nearly 37 percent of the district's population. Diseases that damaged physical and mental health also affected elderly residents’ capacity for civil conduct so that they required a guardian.

Since a guardian has the right to dispose of the property of the person under guardianship, disputes emerge in a family over allocation of assets, which are then brought to the court.

To ensure the guardians appointed to take care of those demanding guardianship are fulfilling their duties, the court set up a mechanism to have social workers visit families regularly.

On Tuesday, the court also released the nation's first case that ended with a ruling which ordered a third-party person to be the custodian of the property of a minor orphan.

The girl, whose parents had both died, was left in the care of her uncle along with a house and more than 300,000 yuan (US$42,405). However, she later went to live with her grandparents after some disputes.

The grandparents then applied to court to be her guardians. Although the uncle agreed, he was worried the elderly couple would not be able to manage the girl's assets well and might be cheated out of her money. 

With the court's assistance, the two sides finally decided to have another relative be the third-party property custodian of the girl. The court then ruled that the grandparents would be the girl's guardians and ordered the uncle to return the 300,000 yuan to her. The money will be under the custody of the third party until the girl is 18 years old.

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