Guardianship News:

Perspective

Sam Sugar, co-founder of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianships, says state bills to rein in professional guardians have wide support this legislative session. Sam Sugar, co-founder of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianships, says state bills to rein in professional guardians have wide support this legislative session.

Lessons learned

As I reflect on the experiences of the last several years as an advocate for victims of guardianship abuse, it is fair to say that I have gained a certain perspective on the breadth and depth of the guardianship crisis in the United States.

Perhaps the most important one is that it is a crisis of major proportions affecting large numbers of families in essentially every state. Despite the enormity of the abuse, the nature of the crisis is essentially unknown to the vast majority of Americans and only when it hits them between the eyes personally do they become the slightest bit interested in it.

Importantly, I have come to the terribly sad conclusion that guardianship abuse, horrible as it is, is only one facet of an out of control  judicial system which has become brazenly corrupt, exploitative, unmonitored and patently illegitimate. Administrative equity courts like probate, family, divorce and bankruptcy courts across the country have become massive honeypots for lawyers, guardians, judges and a whole cast of downstream court sycophants who make their very lucrative livings through the orders that originate in those courts. Because it is almost impossible to prosecute a judge even when he commits criminal acts, probate judges have become increasingly brazen knowing that no one is watching them and the odds of them ever even being criticized in a substantial way are near zero. Same for lawyers and guardians.

Legislative and judicial processes which at least should have been intended to protect the vulnerable including alleged wards, couples who wish to move on with their lives after dissolving their marriages, their children and those seeking to restart their financial lives after a bankruptcy have been commandeered in a most egregious fashion and morphed into prolific moneymaking schemes for bottom feeder lawyers aided and abetted by the elected uncaring judges who enable them as a matter of standard operating procedure. In these courts, it is about nothing other than the money that can be extracted from those unfortunate enough to be litigants.

Without a massive overhaul of the administrative justice system and every court that functions as an equity court, innocent Americans are at substantial risk of their lives and their fortunes. Nibbling around the edges of reform  with piecemeal probate or divorce legislative reforms is not only a waste of time but diverts our attention from the overarching problem of government corruption. It is that long-standing massively destructive judicial industrial complex that has continuously benefited from the attitude of law enforcement that every probate matter is civil and that it is impossible for any laws to be broken in guardianship– hence there have been essentially no criminal actions taken against any of the perpetrators of the massive criminal activity in these matters no matter how many criminal complaints are lodged.

Once this court process is begun, it is, for all practical purposes, impossible to stop. There is simply too much money and property in even the most modest estate and it becomes low hanging fruit too tantalizing for the court sycophants to ignore.

I am often asked how this victimization can be avoided. In the past I have answered that ironclad advance directives including videotaped advance directives should be the roadblock to guardianship. I have learned that those advance directives and all the paperwork that goes with them might work when there is no controversy or argument among and within families, but the moment the court is involved in settling family disputes it assumes iron fisted total control and authority and its contrary decisions are made often despite valid previously filed predeath arrangements or wishes of the individual.

Over the last few years our national surveys have documented the universal anger, frustration and terror of victimized families who will never recover from the trauma they have experienced in these equity courts. Their stories document this national disgrace.

It has become clear to me that the fight to reverse this legal abuse will take generations and large amounts of money. I hope I live long enough to see it.