The difference between you/us and them
I spend a lot of time talking to victims of probate abuse from all around the country. My heart goes out to them for the suffering they endure as a result of trying to do what they think is the right thing for an elderly parent. As is so often the case, the people I speak to have been attacked, maligned, excoriated, fined, sanctioned and generally worked over in probate hearings and litigation. By the time they reach out to someone like me, they have been financially ruined, suffered from PTSD, isolated from family and loved ones and often times have resorted to drugs or alcohol to deal with the unbearable pain that losing a loved one to the predators in probate court can bring.
The system is so unbalanced and unfair and unjust.
On the one side you have the court insiders, the judges lawyers and guardians who make their living by performing in front of a compliant court that is anything but unbiased. The insiders know full well that the more time they spend pretending to argue in court about the welfare and best interests of the ward, the more their bank accounts will swell. They know that they are never placed under oath so that they can lie with absolute impunity and make up the wildest stories you can imagine and still be sure that the judge will rule in their favor nearly every time. The judge can do this without a second thought because he is untouchable– he cannot be sued because of judicial immunity and anyone who has the temerity to speak up against something the judge might say or do will suffer the consequences including sanctions, fines, character assassination and much much more.
The court insiders control the docket and that is a powerful authority. Since senior wards are already towards the end of their lifetime, arranging for unnecessary delays for hearings, engaging in one-sided ex parte communication with other insiders to the exclusion of opposing litigants, controlling access to court documents and lording over the court recorders and clerks of court with absolute authority confers a level of advantage to the court insiders which is exponentially exacerbated by the reality that probate judges will never allow jury trials in their courts of equity. Absent juries to balance out the process, the game is rigged and unwinnable except by the court insiders. All the while the elderly ward is stripped of his rights and assets, overmedicated with powerful drugs and placed on the sacrificial altar to die miserable and alone (and lately also from Covid 19) while their life savings are drained both while they are alive and after they die by endless court orders approving ridiculous and outrageous guardian and lawyer fees.
Family members who oppose guardianship are literally crushed by the experience. They are excoriated and vilified by the court insiders whose unproven unsworn allegations are accepted as nothing short of biblical fact by the probate judges. They are accused of alleged but unproven acts of undue influence, alleged but unsubstantiated claims of drug addiction and alcoholism, allegations of financial misdeeds without any admissible evidence of same or allegations of criminal intent to harm a ward or even kill a ward made out of whole cloth. Meanwhile, family members are forced to watch while their inheritances are diverted into paying off that ever-increasing mountain of legal and guardianship bills. The impact for many families is devastating. Upgrades to homes, college educations, business opportunities, and a host of other appropriately anticipated opportunities to put the savings of a lifetime to good use for the benefit of the family all vanish in a puff of legal hocus-pocus. Even worse, the same families are forced to spend their own money on endless legal fees to defend themselves against the vicious attacks of the court insiders. Far too many go bankrupt, far too many become severely depressed, far too many become physically ill.
It is very hard for normal individuals who have ethics morals and principles to grasp the perfidy of the court insiders. It is counter intuitive to be forced to believe that the very place we turn to for justice is instead a cesspool of injustice, bias and overt corruption. It is counter intuitive to be forced to believe that the best interests of an elderly parents are served by stripping them of their rights, placing them in isolation, over medicating them severely, destroying their family, stealing every penny they have and doing it all in the name of the law. These realities are so dystopic that someone who is never experienced it will have terrible trouble believing the stories that come out from these rigged guardianship hearings. An uninvolved outsider would find the abuses that go on on a daily basis in these hotspot courts to be unbelievable. They might say things like, well, you must’ve done something wrong! You did hire a lawyer didn’t you?
The damage from these corrupt guardianships is intergenerational. Children and grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of the ward are denied not just the proceeds of their estate, but the love and affection they might have received had their parent or grandparent been allowed to get the help they may have needed without having to be conscripted into an abusive guardianship situation that alienated one from the other.
Because court insiders do this for a living, they know every trick in the book. They use every legal maneuver available to them to disadvantage their opponents. If necessary they will blackmail anyone who gets in their way even including the judge because as an incestuous fraternity of court insiders they all know each others’ secrets and use them as weapons . Family members on the other hand walk into probate court expecting to see a process similar to what they’ve seen on television for decades- evidence presented according to the rules, due process executed, unbiased judges, lawyers who zealously advocate for them and outcomes that are based on what would truly be the best interest of the ward. Instead what they find is a system that is completely rigged in favor of the creation of guardianships for wealthy individuals with assets that can easily be pilfered over time with endless fee requests, muddled accounting, unquestioned missing funds, late or nonexistent reports and a law enforcement system that refuses to believe or understand that crimes are being committed in probate courts around the country.
There is a reason that court insiders never lose except but they get incredibly greedy, sloppy or stupid like Rebecca Fierle did or like Tracy Hudson Samuels did, or when they fail to cut their co conspirators in on the booty like Fernando Guttierez did. The system is designed to produce the maximum number of guardianships from which the maximum amount of money can be extracted for the maximum number of court insiders.
The fact that such a system exists in the United States of America is an abomination. It is an embarrassment to the legal system, the Supreme Court and our Constitution. It cannot be reformed from inside or by legislation. In fact, as of this writing it is my opinion that until the current crop of probate judges is replace by a new and more humane group, the best advice that I can give to anyone is to avoid probate court and guardianship at any and all costs. In my book and on my website I share ideas of how to sidestep or escape the tentacles of this powerful dangerous predatory excuse for justice.