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Guardianships not always appointed in person's best interest

As readers of this blog may know, courts appoint guardianships for many reasons. Typically, guardianship is granted to someone who is appointed to care for a vulnerable child, an elderly person or a sick or disabled person--someone who has been deemed unable to care for themselves. If someone is appointed guardianship, that means the guardian (typically a stranger) is given control over a person's life and assets. Unfortunately, those guardians don't always have their charges' best interests at heart. Recently, members of the National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse spoke out on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Seattle residents may be especially interested in the testimony of one woman's son, who says that two neurologists agreed that his mother was competent. The son believes that his mother should never have been placed into guardianship. Even after the son produced documentary evidence showing that the lawyer who was representing his mother was also representing the court-appointed guardian who was sending his bills to the woman's estate, the guardianship continued.

In another case, a woman claims that she has spent $100,000 of her own money in a fight against the guardians for her mother. The daughter says she was prevented by her mother's guardians from seeing her. Further, the woman claims that the guardians emptied her mother's million-dollar estate and that they were negligent in allowing her childhood home to be sold at a tax lien sale for a very meager amount.

In yet another example, a retired Washington-area teacher was reportedly placed into court-appointed guardianship. The woman's son alleges that the guardian hired unlicensed persons to care for his mother following a fall in the home which she shared with her son and husband. The son further claims that his mother is being wrongly held in an Alzheimer's treatment facility. The facility charges residents $6,000 per month. The son claims his mother is being illegally deprived of her constitutional rights, despite having never been evaluated as incapacitated.

Examples of problems with guardianship can be seen all around the country. Seattle residents who are struggling with issues relating to the guardianship of a loved one would do well to contact a qualified estate planning attorney. Doing so can ensure that a sympathetic advocate fully represents your and your loved one's best interests, and that your constitutional and civil rights are aggressively protected.

Source: sfexaminer.com, "Death can be lone way out of guardianship prison," Barbara Hollingsworth, Nov. 10, 2011

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