With more and more Belgian pensioners residing abroad, Belgium has now incorporated into domestic law a European convention that seeks to define how protective measures for incapacitated adults are to be applied across borders, Justice Minister Koen Geens disclosed on Tuesday. The number of overseas-based Belgian pensioners has been increasing steadily in recent years and now stands at about 51,000. The new measures designed to protect them include a mechanism under which a designated third party can make decisions on behalf of the retirees, to correctly manage their property or decide on the hospital to which they should be taken, for example. Judges can also decide to place people in hospices or other senior-care institutions when they cannot take care of themselves.
The practical problems that this type of situation can cause are now settled by Belgian law. The Justice Department has been designated as the competent institution to handle requests from abroad or to contact overseas-based institutions. It will serve as a bridge with the investigating judge charged with deciding on such protective measures.
A new law also introduces a procedure that judges need to follow to approve and apply measures taken abroad.
“Everyone deserves to enjoy their retirement in all quietude,” Geens said. “How to apply the measures for protecting incapacitated persons in cross-border situations is now more clearly defined. In this way, we have harmonised our laws with those applicable in many other European Union member countries that have already applied this convention.”