Help us document 10,000 cases of fraudulent guardianships. Dr. Sam Sugar, the founder of AAAPG, and I are working to elevate our story to the national conscience. Although many of us are working very hard to stop this madness we need to be more effective if we are ever going to slow this epidemic in our lifetimes. A couple months ago I volunteered to help Sam in this effort and he appointed me as Intake Director for AAAPG.
We need numbers to legitimize our claims. AAAPG currently has less than 500 members and less than 50 cases profiled in their database. This is anemic, given the strength of our message and the number of victims nationwide. Sam and I are asking your help to pass the word and fill in the survey. This database will serve as our petition of credibility. 10,000 cases gives us credibility, 50 is dismissed.
The National Center for State Courts estimates there are 1.3 million adults under guardianship and 176,000 were added to the roles in 2015. They claim the total assets under guardianship are $50 billion. My national studies fully support the population numbers but the assets make no sense. These numbers reflect an average net worth of an adult ward at $38,500. Over the last 3 years I have investigated and profiled nearly 400 guardianship cases and their average net worth is $600,000. Very few destitute people are placed into guardianship, and certainly in those areas where guardianship abuse is prevalent the assets are sizeable. Of course, the NCSC study likely ignores Trust assets as those are almost never recorded by the court. Again, destitute people do not execute Trusts and most attorneys and guardians show the ward has no assets yet Trust assets are most often assumed in fraudulent guardianships.
Minnesota has the best guardian monitoring system nationwide and they recently reported they have $908 million in assets and 15,000 adults under guardianship. This is a mid-stream number but their average assets per guardianship is $61,000. My assumption is that Trust assets have been excluded from this number as well. We’ll continue to dig into the numbers and your response to the survey will help us in that regard as well as legitimize our claims.
Authorities nationwide don’t understand the dangers associated with adult guardianships and the rampant abuse that occurs within most; ignorance and apathy abounds. Predatory guardians and their lawyers know very well how lucrative guardianships are and they continue to promote their efforts as altruistic and unappreciated. Too often their motivations are completely opposite. Most families don’t even recognize the abuse. If you hold a Trust, living will, or DPOA and are the spouse, parent, or child of a vulnerable adult you should be able to stay out of guardianship. As we all know, that doesn’t happen when your loved one has been targeted. A single frivolous petition that involves the court is exploitation if your documents are in order or you have consanguinity priority. The exploitation begins with the very first petition.
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Sam and Rick