The three stated goals of our organization are to educate, advocate and legislate. We have had some success particularly in educating the public.
The number of articles and exposes about Guardianship abuse have increased dramatically as more and more writers, editors and film makers become educated about the Probate predation industry. Media exposure from investigative reporters in major markets have proliferated to the point where every week or two there is a series of articles in prestigious mainstream media outlets uncovering case after case of guardianship abuse and seeking remedies.
Despite this active and growing database of reporting and anecdotal experience, we remain unable to convince members of the US Senate Select Committee on Aging– which famously met last week to reveal the GAO guardianship investigation they requested last year–that professional guardians represent a threat to every vulnerable individual in the country. For some strange reason the only witnesses that were called to testify before this advisory Senate committee were stakeholders in the system each of whom makes a living in the guardianship sphere. Not a single advocate or victim was called to testify despite the fact that the committee had been deluged with complaints and requests for appearances from members of our group and others for years. Despite hearing complaints about professional abusive guardianships for three decades, despite the dramatic testimony that was given before the committee by the late Latifa Ring several years ago in which she explained in agonizing detail the depth and breath of the depravity involved, despite months of intense communication between members of our group and counsel for the committee, still nearly all of the members of the committee are content to believe that abusive guardianship is all the fault of greedy family members, family guardians and fiduciaries. Only in passing was it even mentioned that professional guardians are guilty of abuse and theft of family funds in the professional guardianship racket.
Our experience is very different.
While there’s no excuse for anyone to take advantage of an elderly relative, there are major differences between inappropriate actions of family guardians and fiduciaries versus abuses by professional guardians. Just to mention a few:
- family guardianships and conservatorships do not strip an elderly individual of all of their rights and leave them totally vulnerable to strangers who OWN THEM and with whom they have no relationships as is the case in professional guardianships
- there are safeguards in place to protect the vulnerable person who is potentially being exploited in a family guardianship like adult protective services, local law enforcement, friendly neighbors and other family members. In professional guardianship, an isolated ward who has no rights and no assets is literally a prisoner and slave piece of chattel to the Guardian who can do almost anything he wants with or to the Ward as long as he covers his tracks with the judge. Safeguards like APS are co opted by the incestuous nature of the system and therefore worthless. There is no one–absolutely no one– to complain to when abuse happens (except maybe in Florida with the OPPG that our group help bring into existence)
- Banks and other financial institutions are on alert to report financial exploitation of elderly clients, but when a Guardian brings a court order to the bank to completely assume control of a Ward’s assets, no questions are asked
- when a family Guardian is forced to dispose of real property belonging to the Ward it is in his best interest to get the highest price possible. professional guardians are known to regularly engage in straw man sales where the property is sold at a low-ball price and then resold surreptitiously at full value with the profits going not to the estate but to the guardianships stakeholders and their friends
- with nonprofessional guardians, theft, abuse and exploitation are criminal offenses which can be prosecuted by law enforcement. In professional guardianship law enforcement refers to these very same acts as civil matters which are uniformly adjudicated in favor of the court-appointed guardian by the judge who appointed him
- family guardians typically render their service without pay. They donate enormous amounts of time and effort to do the best they can for their relative/loved one even if imperfectly. Professional guardians and their lawyers are supposed to be held to a higher standard but still often fail to follow even the most rudimentary reporting rules and statutes. They are outrageously expensive and the proximate cause of estate dissipation, denying family their rightful inheritance while using the funds gained via staged litigation to fight off family members with their own inheritance
Despite all this, for some reason, blatant, rampant Professional Guardianship and Legal Abuse in Probate has not risen to a high enough level of concern in our government to warrant legislative or law enforcement action or even recognition.
How many more families have to be destroyed, how many innocent elders have to be over medicated to death, how many more needless Guardianships have to be created before our elites in Washington get it?
The Washington elites tell us they need to have firm statistics, uniform reporting standards and layers of information to inform their deliberations. When will they understand that there are no such statistics and there never will be because the Professional “Probateers” make sure that all proceedings and reports are sequestered? That is what makes this “industry” so profitable, foolproof, easy and low risk.
For now, I see no help coming from Washington.