Why WINGS doesn’t fly

How can the very people who are the problem solve the problem?

The National Guardianship Network is a collaborative group of national organizations dedicated to effective adult guardianship law and practice. First convened in 2002, the National Guardianship Network has played a leadership role in advancing guardianship standards, best practices, and education.

It awards seed monies (of as much as $20,000 per state unit) and technical assistance to states to create innovative, consensus-driven Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS). The vast majority of their money come from contributions from constituent organizations.

“By combining the efforts of all stakeholders into WINGS, states can better improve judicial processes, protect individual rights, address insufficient funding, ensure guardian accountability and fiduciary standards, and provide for less restrictive decision-making options.”

But who are these stakeholders and what is their stake in guardianship?

  • AARP (sells insurance to seniors)
  • American Bar Association (ABA) Commission On Law And Aging (lawyers)
  • ABA Section Of Real Property Trust And Estate Law (lawyers)
  • The Alzheimer’s Association (supports research on seniors)
  • The American College Of Trust And Estate Counsel (lawyers)
  • The Center For Guardianship Certification (certifies professional guardians)
  • The National Academy Of Elder Law Attorneys (lawyers)
  • The National Center For State Courts (lawyers and elected state judges)
  • The National College Of Probate Judges (lawyers and elected state judges)
  • The National Disability Rights Network ( the largest federally funded provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.)
  • National Guardianship Association (“certifies” professional guardians)

Each of these groups either sells to the elderly, as in the case of AARP, solicits for funds for their own presumably charitable purposes like the Alzheimer’s Association, or directly makes money from the probate guardianship process as is the case with every lawyer or judge participant.

One can easily see that the “consensus driven agenda” of WINGS groups is dominated by the very players who make vast sums of money from guardianship and who are the reason guardianship has turned into such a corrupt profit generating, wealth extraction machine, especially the judges.

Incredibly, there is intentionally almost no representation by advocates for victims of this evil wealth extraction process.

In the 15 years of its existence, in the face of thousands of obvious cases of guardianship abuse across the country, there has not been a case of a WINGS group producing any legislative changes of note, bringing about the prosecution of criminals in probate court, or even advocating for transparency in probate proceedings.

By marginalizing, excluding and silencing victims and their families from these proceedings, these groups signal that their voices are unimportant and insignificant. They promote the vicious narrative that families are always to blame for elder abuse. They ignore the most basic and obvious reality of guardianship and that is that ward and family are the most important stakeholders in the guardianship process and it’s relentless, corrupt, Gestapo like tactics of elder cleansing. This lack of mercy and compassion for the victims of this court based travesty can best be understood when viewed through the prism of the WINGS stakeholders, nearly all of whose incomes would be drastically reduced if true reform of the system ever took place and some of whom would be indicted if guardian accountability and fiduciary standards actually were enforced. And for all the talk of less restrictive options, not one of the WINGS states has produced legislation to replace onerous guardianships with less restrictive options like assisted decision making. One could even say that WINGS groups represent a trade Association or guild with its primary purpose to increase its profits.

It would be truly wonderful if groups like this actually took the position that abusive professional guardianship as it exists today throughout the country needs a drastic overhaul or even that it should be eliminated until a replacement is created. But that will not happen. Even though there are some ethical individuals involved in these groups, even though the need is obvious and pressing, the overwhelming dominance of these groups by the very court insiders who create the problem will inevitably neutralize any forces actually attempting create serious reform.

For now the only relief from this pernicious court based process can come from Federal law enforcement.