can be bad
for your health and wealth!
LAW GONE BAD!
The purpose of the law - known both
as guardianship and conservatorship
GUARD and CONSERVE
* To GUARD incompetent* people
against harming themselves or others;
* To CONSERVE their
assets and property (by means of prudent investment); and
* To PROTECT the
taxpaying public from those individuals becoming public charges.
BUT SOMETHINGS GONE
Over the years,
guardianship law has been misapplied, misused, and sometimes just plain
manipulated, until it has become a threat to the health and wealth to
our elderly and disabled citizens.
Unlawful and abusive guardianships and conservatorships can ensnare the most vulnerable people in a larger
and larger trawling net, now including those merely physically
"incapacitated"! Adult guardianship has become
a feeding trough for unethical lawyers and other "fiduciaries" appointed
by the courts to protect, but many of whom become nothing more than
Wards in these circumstances, instead of being protected by the system, are victimized by it.
Strangers are often given total and absolute control of life, liberty, and
property of their wards, including:
the right to contract, including the right to choose a lawyer;
the right to
control their assets and make financial
the right to remain in their own home and protect it from sale;
the right to protect and enjoy their personal property;
the right to choose where to live;
the right to accept or refuse medical treatment, including
the right to decide their social environments and contacts;
the right to assure prompt payment of taxes and liabilities;
the right to vote;
the right to drive;
the right to marry; and
the right to complain.
Wards are left defenseless and subject to exploitation by
the very people chosen to protect them; they
become invisible and voiceless.
An uncaring/callous/overworked/dishonest system often misuses
the law and engages in blatant due process, civil/human rights
violations. Victims arent always given notice of hearings at
which their competence will be adjudicated, arent always allowed to
attend, and often dont have lawyers. If the court does appoint
lawyers, often they are too closely affiliated with other professionals
who make their living in this special area; and do not properly
represent the victims interests. In these situations, judges do not apply the
required evidentiary standards in making adjudications of incompetency,
and frequently fail to obey the protective statutes, or include specific
findings of fact.
Homes are sold to insiders at below market! Contents - family
heirlooms, jewelry, photographs, etc. - disappear, either stolen
outright or sold at auction. Estate assets are rapidly paid out to
the fiduciaries in exorbitant "fees" and "commissions" until there is
Fiduciaries are given power of life
and death, burying their wards in nursing homes where they are kept
chemically restrained with unnecessary and dangerous drugs; family
members are denied any say in their care, and sometimes denied visitation, except
under guard at their own expense!
It has become an accepted, yet appalling, practice for guardianships and
conservatorships to devour the entire estates the proceedings are (by
law) supposed to be protecting. In a shocking twist, the American
whom these statutes are supposed to protect, are then forced to PAY THE
MEDICAID TAB FOR
CONTINUED LIFELONG CARE
OF WARDS OF THE STATE "PROTECTED" INTO INDIGENCE while their
court-appointed "protectors" enjoy their unjust
Instead of protecting the public interest, guardianship has indeed
become a taxpayer burden
ironic, costly, and appalling
consequence of a good law gone bad! Some dishonest fiduciaries claim
that what they're doing (while filling their pockets) is to "spending down"
the assets specifically to qualify the ward for Medicaid! That's not what the law intended!
states have expanded their classification for guardianship, apparently
casting a wider net by lowering their criteria from "incompetent" to
"incapacitated," thus causing guardianships in inappropriate situations
(i.e., because a person is disabled, doesn't automatically mean he/she
is also "incompetent"
and in need of guardianship). This change in one word
can result in an avalanche of unnecessary guardianships of the Baby Boomers!
note: Not all judges are bad, nor all attorneys, nor all
guardians. NASGA does not paint these professionals with a
wide brush. We applaud the good guys - those who take pride in
their profession and those who vigorously and zealously defend the
rights and wishes of guardianship and conservatorship wards and their
families who are in
unlawful or abusive situations. And we know and appreciate
that there are plenty of good guys out there! We have
personally heard from many of them and hope to hear from many more!
Nor is NASGA anti guardianship; guardianship is a necessary law.
Certainly most guardianship works. But, when it doesn't, it is
harmful and tragic, even devastating. Our mission is to reform, not abolish.
We are not lawyers, and we do not give legal advice nor do we give
lawyer recommendations; instead, we work to
fix the broken system.