Guardianship was designed to be a matter of last resort – after everything else has been tried and failed. The reason, as Money Magazine explained back in the late 80’s, is because guardianship is a double-edged sword. The noble goal of the proceedings is to protect, but removing rights subjects the so-called “protected person” to exploitation by his or her guardian, be that guardian a family member, lawyer, charity, professional or public guardian.
Another noble goal of guardianship is to protect people only to the extent they needed protection rather than control every aspect of their lives. Guardianship was always designed to be “limited.”
But judges in general found it easier to just appoint a plenary guardian in case after case rather than take the time and effort to determine what the person subjected to guardianship or conservatorship could do for him/herself and what a guardian/conservator should control specifically rather than “everything.”
Opportunists ate all this up and guardianship wards have paid a dear price for the court’s “protection.” It has become routine and accepted that the guardianship can and will devour the entire estate. Overbilling, double billing, busy work, exorbitant fees, inciting litigation, etc. are the tools of guardianship used by unscrupulous guardians to financially exploit their easy and helpless prey.