Deposit of funds held in trust for inpatients or residents; unclaimed funds and personal property; fiduciaries
Section 26. (a) The superintendent may deposit in any bank organized and existing under the laws of the commonwealth funds belonging to persons who are inpatients or residents at such facility, funds deposited by relatives or friends of such persons, and other funds belonging to such persons except that independent funds shall only be deposited with the consent of the resident. The interest earned by any funds so deposited shall be credited to the account of such person. Such funds shall be held in trust or used for the benefit of such persons except that such person shall have an unrestricted right to manage and spend in his sole discretion all his independent funds.
(b) Any funds held in trust by the superintendent for any persons who have been discharged from or who have otherwise left any facility of the department, or the custody of the department, which shall have remained unclaimed for more than seven years, shall be paid by the superintendent to the state treasurer to be held subject to being paid to the person establishing a lawful right thereto, with interest at the rate of five per cent per annum from the time when it was so paid to the state treasurer to the time when it is paid by him to such person; provided, however, that the department shall first be paid from such funds for any sum due it for charges to the person for whom such funds were originally deposited, and provided, further, that if such amount does not exceed fifty dollars, the superintendent may pay such sum to the state treasurer immediately. The balance of such funds, after six years from the date when such funds were paid to the state treasurer, may be used as part of the ordinary revenue of the commonwealth. Any person may, however, establish his claim to such funds after the expiration of such six year period and any claim so established shall be paid from the ordinary revenue of the commonwealth. Any person claiming a right to funds deposited with the state treasurer under this section may establish the same by a petition to the probate court; provided, however, that in cases where claims amount to less than fifty dollars, the claims may be presented to the comptroller who shall examine the same and allow and certify for payment such as may be proved to his satisfaction.
(c) Personal property belonging to or deposited for the benefit of any persons who have been discharged from or who have otherwise left any facility or the custody of the department, which shall have remained unclaimed for more than one year shall be sold, or if without value, otherwise disposed of by the superintendent; provided, however, that no less than thirty days prior to such disposition the superintendent shall send notice of the intended sale or disposition of such property to the person at his last known residential address, to the nearest relative or guardian or conservator of such person or the person with whom such person last resided. If such person, relative or other person does not within such thirty day period object to such sale or disposition, the department may sell or dispose of the property in accordance with its regulations. Funds received as a result of such sale or disposition shall be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of subsection (b) of this section.
(d) All fiduciaries of persons who are inpatients or residents at a departmental facility shall register with the superintendent of such facility on a form supplied by the department.
(e) The department shall establish procedures to make the fiduciaries accountable to the department for all funds belonging to such inpatients and residents. These procedures shall require an annual report by the fiduciary to the department on a form supplied by the department indicating the manner in which such funds were managed or expended during the report period. The annual report shall be submitted by the fiduciary under penalty of perjury pursuant to sections one and one A of chapter two hundred and sixty-eight.
(f) A fiduciary who fails to register with the department or who fails to submit an annual report to the department shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be subject to a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.
(g) A fiduciary who embezzles or fraudulently converts or appropriates money, goods, or property held or possessed by him for the use and benefit of the resident shall be subject to penalties prescribed in section fifty-seven of chapter two hundred and sixty-six.
(h) A guardian, trustee, or conservator shall be removed from his duties upon his conviction of any of the offenses enumerated in paragraphs (f) and (g). The department shall petition the appropriate federal agency for the removal of a representative payee from his duties upon his conviction of any of the offenses enumerated in said paragraphs (f) and (g).