Individuals in and unlawful or abusive guardianship are often …
- forcibly drugged (chemically restrained) – and their families are not permitted to intervene.
- not permitted to choose their own doctor, ask for a second opinion, or ask for or refuse treatment. Family can be completely shut out of medical decision and information as well.
- forced into nursing homes against their will and the will of their family, and their home is sold – along with their personal property, heirlooms and treasures.
- prohibited from seeing their family freely; and sometimes they are completely isolated from family and friends until the day they die.
- unable to marry, or divorce, without their guardian’s approval.
- kept from going outdoors alone to enjoy a sunny day or the pleasures of nature.
- denied the companionship and comfort of their beloved pets, which are given away or even put down.
- denied a phone in their room or the ability to receive phone calls freely.
- forced to give up their driving privileges.
- unable to contract (a lawyer for instance) or object to a contract made by the guardian or conservator.
And on and on…..
It’s important to realize that the removal of some or most of the above fundamental rights above can be necessary to protect the person in guardianship and/or conservatorship from inadvertently harming someone or harming him/herself.
At the same time, guardianship was always designed to be limited in nature. Only those rights essential to protection were supposed to be removed. Over the years, courts just found it easier to remove all rights instead of taking the time to determine which rights should be removed and which should be retained, case by case.
Therefore, a person in guardianship who seeks restoration of legal capacity is automatically encumbered (or worse) if he/she is unable to contract and hire an attorney to help in gaining restoration. If the guardian is unscrupulous or greedy, the guardian will attempt to hold on to his/her paycheck rather than put the needs and wants of the person in guardianship first. In these cases, the guardian sees to it that the guardianship becomes like a merry-go-round that never stops…..