Archive for August, 2008

>Dangerous Guardianship Petition

August 31, 2008

>

I believe that the Massachusetts Guardianship Petition sets a dangerous precedent. You know how lawyers love to twist words and redefine their meanings when they write laws for themselves. The problems are their redefinitions:
Incompetent = any one disabled or having an illness; Mentally ill = anything they can pay a shrink to list as a diagnosis – usually some version of institution-intolerant behavior, such as normal anger, smiling, crying, or other emotional display. For that offense, they are drugged and miserable, isolated, and die.

Here’s the other major problem: WE ARE DESPERATE TO KEEP OUR AUTONOMY as human beings. As far as the judiciary is concerned, the devil we know is better than the devil we don’t know! We know family members, and even better, our chosen friends – or at least they know us. Even if they spend too much of an elderly person’s money, if that person is happy, so what? If my mother’s money had run out, I would have sold my house to take care of her, not expecting any reward in return. I never had that chance.

However, if that petition goes through everywhere, people could not beat a greedy lawyer as court-appointed guardian, but would be reluctant to file many court documents proving that they were honest and carrying out the Ward’s best interest.

Many do not need a shrink. You may chose a doctor very carefully and he/she would have answered to you, not to the court. The doctor may use holistic remedies, where possible. You will be hard pressed to dins that kind of doctor here, especially one that is acceptable to the court! No toxic synthetic drugs, no nursing home, no shrinks – just happiness and peace, visits from animal friends, doing what they like, having visitors they love, and delicious home-cooked meals. The guardian’s doctors may prohibit you from knowing the records, the toxic drugs they use may kill the Ward – they are the puppet of the guardian/executor team – they have their orders!

Strangers don’t care, but they are paid plenty. The MA petition is a preparation for guardianship – first requiring that you fill out the assets – yours and the wards. That money is now the goal of the guardian/executor! Unnecessary expense and legal hassle is an impediment to most people who would otherwise be glad to protect you in the lifestyle to which you are accustomed.

If the lawyers or the court never intervened at all, you could settle a problem as a family at little cost. We should instead, be making laws to strengthen autonomy of the person to make their own decisions – and enforce that! You can always have an over-sight by asking a periodic visit of some official.

CAVEAT: Do not allow the lawyers or the courts, to make laws that force a family member or friend to jump through legal hoops in court – friends who were kind enough to allow themselves to be named as potential guardian because they know and care about you, will be discouraged, if they are forced into a red tape quagmire. Making life difficult and expensive for friends and family is a goal of the judiciary, who can see profits and favors with court-appointed stranger (public) guardians. There are very few activists in the world. Most people do not want to be bothered if laws are written to make the task of caring for a friend/family member too difficult.

KISS – ‘Keep it Simple Stupid’- and families can usually work it out for themselves. Make it real hard, and we will be left with miserable, incarcerated, lonely, poor, then dead, wards – our former loved ones or even ourselves.

Written by a NASGA member

Dangerous Guardianship Petition

August 31, 2008
I believe that the Massachusetts Guardianship Petition sets a dangerous precedent. You know how lawyers love to twist words and redefine their meanings when they write laws for themselves. The problems are their redefinitions:
Incompetent = any one disabled or having an illness; Mentally ill = anything they can pay a shrink to list as a diagnosis – usually some version of institution-intolerant behavior, such as normal anger, smiling, crying, or other emotional display. For that offense, they are drugged and miserable, isolated, and die.

Here’s the other major problem: WE ARE DESPERATE TO KEEP OUR AUTONOMY as human beings. As far as the judiciary is concerned, the devil we know is better than the devil we don’t know! We know family members, and even better, our chosen friends – or at least they know us. Even if they spend too much of an elderly person’s money, if that person is happy, so what? If my mother’s money had run out, I would have sold my house to take care of her, not expecting any reward in return. I never had that chance.

However, if that petition goes through everywhere, people could not beat a greedy lawyer as court-appointed guardian, but would be reluctant to file many court documents proving that they were honest and carrying out the Ward’s best interest.

Many do not need a shrink. You may chose a doctor very carefully and he/she would have answered to you, not to the court. The doctor may use holistic remedies, where possible. You will be hard pressed to dins that kind of doctor here, especially one that is acceptable to the court! No toxic synthetic drugs, no nursing home, no shrinks – just happiness and peace, visits from animal friends, doing what they like, having visitors they love, and delicious home-cooked meals. The guardian’s doctors may prohibit you from knowing the records, the toxic drugs they use may kill the Ward – they are the puppet of the guardian/executor team – they have their orders!

Strangers don’t care, but they are paid plenty. The MA petition is a preparation for guardianship – first requiring that you fill out the assets – yours and the wards. That money is now the goal of the guardian/executor! Unnecessary expense and legal hassle is an impediment to most people who would otherwise be glad to protect you in the lifestyle to which you are accustomed.

If the lawyers or the court never intervened at all, you could settle a problem as a family at little cost. We should instead, be making laws to strengthen autonomy of the person to make their own decisions – and enforce that! You can always have an over-sight by asking a periodic visit of some official.

CAVEAT: Do not allow the lawyers or the courts, to make laws that force a family member or friend to jump through legal hoops in court – friends who were kind enough to allow themselves to be named as potential guardian because they know and care about you, will be discouraged, if they are forced into a red tape quagmire. Making life difficult and expensive for friends and family is a goal of the judiciary, who can see profits and favors with court-appointed stranger (public) guardians. There are very few activists in the world. Most people do not want to be bothered if laws are written to make the task of caring for a friend/family member too difficult.

KISS – ‘Keep it Simple Stupid’- and families can usually work it out for themselves. Make it real hard, and we will be left with miserable, incarcerated, lonely, poor, then dead, wards – our former loved ones or even ourselves.

Written by a NASGA member

>Controversial Deathbed Will

August 30, 2008

>

The Texas Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in the long-running battle for ownership of an aging Swiss Avenue mansion, once the crumbling centerpiece of former model Mary Ellen Bendtsen.

4949 Swiss Ave. remains the focal point of ongoing legal battles – including state felony charges of attempted theft against three men.

Mrs. Bendtsen’s daughter and her attorneys said they hope the Supreme Court’s refusal will be the impetus for closure in a sweeping saga that began long before Mrs. Bendtsen signed a controversial deathbed will.

The court’s refusal effectively upholds previous court decisions that declared Mrs. Bendtsen’s daughter the rightful heir and rejected a bid to block the home’s sale. A Dallas probate court previously rejected a will that left Mrs. Bendtsen’s stake in the house to Deep Ellum antique dealers Mark McCay and Justin Burgess, whom she befriended late in life.

Frances Ann Giron, Mrs. Bendtsen’s daughter, called the legal drama that has ensued since her mother’s 2005 death “unmitigated hell.”

“I haven’t had an opportunity to grieve my mother in three years.”

Full Article and Source:
Texas Supreme Court won’t hear appeal in case of Swiss Avenue mansion

See Also:
Mary Ellen’s Will – The Battle For 4949 Swiss by Lee Hancock

Controversial Deathbed Will

August 30, 2008
The Texas Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in the long-running battle for ownership of an aging Swiss Avenue mansion, once the crumbling centerpiece of former model Mary Ellen Bendtsen.

4949 Swiss Ave. remains the focal point of ongoing legal battles – including state felony charges of attempted theft against three men.

Mrs. Bendtsen’s daughter and her attorneys said they hope the Supreme Court’s refusal will be the impetus for closure in a sweeping saga that began long before Mrs. Bendtsen signed a controversial deathbed will.

The court’s refusal effectively upholds previous court decisions that declared Mrs. Bendtsen’s daughter the rightful heir and rejected a bid to block the home’s sale. A Dallas probate court previously rejected a will that left Mrs. Bendtsen’s stake in the house to Deep Ellum antique dealers Mark McCay and Justin Burgess, whom she befriended late in life.

Frances Ann Giron, Mrs. Bendtsen’s daughter, called the legal drama that has ensued since her mother’s 2005 death “unmitigated hell.”

“I haven’t had an opportunity to grieve my mother in three years.”

Full Article and Source:
Texas Supreme Court won’t hear appeal in case of Swiss Avenue mansion

See Also:
Mary Ellen’s Will – The Battle For 4949 Swiss by Lee Hancock

>Probate Judge Cannot Hear Case

August 28, 2008

>

Questions concerning money that the Jasper County public administrator spent out of the estate of Emma France can’t be decided by Probate Judge David Mouton because he already has issued a ruling that reversed orders making France a ward of the county.

France and her attorney, R. Lynn Myers, appeared in probate court to argue that Rita Hunter, the public administrator, had no right to spend any money from France’s estate because actions that made her a county ward were unlawful.

In a brief hearing, Mouton noted that he had set aside orders making France a ward of Hunter’s office because, among other issues, France’s daughter or other relatives were not named in the court petition or notified before the hearing in May 2007.

Since Mouton ruled in France’s favor setting aside the guardianship, there is no longer an estate on which he can hear arguments.

Mouton said,“Letters (of guardianship) should not have been issued, based on facts that were not provided at the prior hearing.”

Mouton had dismissed the action, observing that the court can appoint a guardian only “in accordance with the procedures set forth in the statutes, and if there has not been compliance with the statutes, the entire proceeding is void.”

Full Article and Source:
Money questions remain for former county ward

See also:

Class Action Filed

Former Ward Files Suit

Undrafted Medical Certificate

France is Released

Probate Judge Cannot Hear Case

August 28, 2008
Questions concerning money that the Jasper County public administrator spent out of the estate of Emma France can’t be decided by Probate Judge David Mouton because he already has issued a ruling that reversed orders making France a ward of the county.

France and her attorney, R. Lynn Myers, appeared in probate court to argue that Rita Hunter, the public administrator, had no right to spend any money from France’s estate because actions that made her a county ward were unlawful.

In a brief hearing, Mouton noted that he had set aside orders making France a ward of Hunter’s office because, among other issues, France’s daughter or other relatives were not named in the court petition or notified before the hearing in May 2007.

Since Mouton ruled in France’s favor setting aside the guardianship, there is no longer an estate on which he can hear arguments.

Mouton said,“Letters (of guardianship) should not have been issued, based on facts that were not provided at the prior hearing.”

Mouton had dismissed the action, observing that the court can appoint a guardian only “in accordance with the procedures set forth in the statutes, and if there has not been compliance with the statutes, the entire proceeding is void.”

Full Article and Source:
Money questions remain for former county ward

See also:

Class Action Filed

Former Ward Files Suit

Undrafted Medical Certificate

France is Released

>Court Oversight of Guardians

August 26, 2008

>

The Time Is Now: Guardians Should Be Licensed and Regulated Under the Executive Branch, Not the Courts
by Margaret K. Dore

With increasing numbers of Americans living longer, many are finding themselves under guardianship. The guardian appointed may be a family member or friend, or a “professional” guardian or guardianship company.

In many cases, the guardian is honest and hardworking for his ward. In other cases, the guardian abuses or exploits the ward.

“The premise of this article is that this well-meaning effort to increase guardianship accountability is misplaced. Although courts have traditionally been responsible for guardianship oversight, they are ill-suited for this function. Guardians should be licensed and regulated under the executive branch, not supervised by the courts.”

The Courts Respond:
The issue of guardianship abuse has also caught the attention of the courts. The Washington State Supreme Court now oversees the “Certified Professional Guardian Program.” Under this program, there are two entities that directly supervise professional guardians: the Certified Professional Guardian Board, which reports to the Supreme Court, and the superior court in each county.

The Board’s Role:
The Certified Professional Guardian Board “adopts and implements regulations governing certification, minimum standards of practice, training, and discipline of professional guardians.” The Board does not, however, interfere with the traditional role of the superior court. The superior court continues to be the “main venue” for making a complaint against a guardian.

A Contrast to Other Activities:
The “job” of a guardian is to manage the affairs of an incapacitated person. Other entities with similar jobs are not “supervised” by courts. An example would be a nursing home. Nursing homes manage the affairs of persons not able to care for themselves. Nursing homes are regulated by the Department of Social and Health Services.12 The Department of Social and Health Services is under the executive branch.

Problems with Court Supervision:
Little or no relevant training. A major problem with court supervision of guardians is that the typical judge or commissioner has little relevant training.

How Licensing and Regulation Might Work:
In other states, there are emerging programs in which oversight is provided via the executive branch. For example, California recently enacted SB 1550, which establishes the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau within the Department of Consumer Affairs

Conclusion:
Without effective oversight, abuse of wards by their guardians will only continue. It is time to consider a different paradigm. Guardians should be licensed and regulated under the executive branch, not the courts. Other methods of third-party oversight should be investigated and explored.

Full Article and Source:
The Time Is Now: Guardians Should Be Licensed and Regulated Under the Executive Branch, Not the Courts

Margaret Dore, J.D., M.B.A., is a fourth generation attorney and Seattle native. She has been licensed to practice since 1986. She was one of nine nominees for the 2005 Butch Blum/Law & Politics Award of Excellence. Ms. Dore’s successful cases include In re Guardianship of Stamm, 121 Wn. App. 830, 91P.3d 126 (2004), which limits the admissibility of guardian ad litem testimony. She also prevailed in the nationally recognized case, Lawrence v. Lawrence, 105 Wn. App. 683, 20 P.3d 972 (2001). For commentary on Lawrence, see Wendy N. Davis, Family Values in Flux, ABA Journal, Vol. 87, p. 26, October 2001. Law Offices of Margaret K. Dore

NASGA Poll:

Court Oversight of Guardians

August 26, 2008
The Time Is Now: Guardians Should Be Licensed and Regulated Under the Executive Branch, Not the Courts
by Margaret K. Dore

With increasing numbers of Americans living longer, many are finding themselves under guardianship. The guardian appointed may be a family member or friend, or a “professional” guardian or guardianship company.

In many cases, the guardian is honest and hardworking for his ward. In other cases, the guardian abuses or exploits the ward.

“The premise of this article is that this well-meaning effort to increase guardianship accountability is misplaced. Although courts have traditionally been responsible for guardianship oversight, they are ill-suited for this function. Guardians should be licensed and regulated under the executive branch, not supervised by the courts.”

The Courts Respond:
The issue of guardianship abuse has also caught the attention of the courts. The Washington State Supreme Court now oversees the “Certified Professional Guardian Program.” Under this program, there are two entities that directly supervise professional guardians: the Certified Professional Guardian Board, which reports to the Supreme Court, and the superior court in each county.

The Board’s Role:
The Certified Professional Guardian Board “adopts and implements regulations governing certification, minimum standards of practice, training, and discipline of professional guardians.” The Board does not, however, interfere with the traditional role of the superior court. The superior court continues to be the “main venue” for making a complaint against a guardian.

A Contrast to Other Activities:
The “job” of a guardian is to manage the affairs of an incapacitated person. Other entities with similar jobs are not “supervised” by courts. An example would be a nursing home. Nursing homes manage the affairs of persons not able to care for themselves. Nursing homes are regulated by the Department of Social and Health Services.12 The Department of Social and Health Services is under the executive branch.

Problems with Court Supervision:
Little or no relevant training. A major problem with court supervision of guardians is that the typical judge or commissioner has little relevant training.

How Licensing and Regulation Might Work:
In other states, there are emerging programs in which oversight is provided via the executive branch. For example, California recently enacted SB 1550, which establishes the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau within the Department of Consumer Affairs

Conclusion:
Without effective oversight, abuse of wards by their guardians will only continue. It is time to consider a different paradigm. Guardians should be licensed and regulated under the executive branch, not the courts. Other methods of third-party oversight should be investigated and explored.

Full Article and Source:
The Time Is Now: Guardians Should Be Licensed and Regulated Under the Executive Branch, Not the Courts

Margaret Dore, J.D., M.B.A., is a fourth generation attorney and Seattle native. She has been licensed to practice since 1986. She was one of nine nominees for the 2005 Butch Blum/Law & Politics Award of Excellence. Ms. Dore’s successful cases include In re Guardianship of Stamm, 121 Wn. App. 830, 91P.3d 126 (2004), which limits the admissibility of guardian ad litem testimony. She also prevailed in the nationally recognized case, Lawrence v. Lawrence, 105 Wn. App. 683, 20 P.3d 972 (2001). For commentary on Lawrence, see Wendy N. Davis, Family Values in Flux, ABA Journal, Vol. 87, p. 26, October 2001. Law Offices of Margaret K. Dore

NASGA Poll:

Court Oversight of Guardians

August 26, 2008
The Time Is Now: Guardians Should Be Licensed and Regulated Under the Executive Branch, Not the Courts
by Margaret K. Dore

With increasing numbers of Americans living longer, many are finding themselves under guardianship. The guardian appointed may be a family member or friend, or a “professional” guardian or guardianship company.

In many cases, the guardian is honest and hardworking for his ward. In other cases, the guardian abuses or exploits the ward.

“The premise of this article is that this well-meaning effort to increase guardianship accountability is misplaced. Although courts have traditionally been responsible for guardianship oversight, they are ill-suited for this function. Guardians should be licensed and regulated under the executive branch, not supervised by the courts.”

The Courts Respond:
The issue of guardianship abuse has also caught the attention of the courts. The Washington State Supreme Court now oversees the “Certified Professional Guardian Program.” Under this program, there are two entities that directly supervise professional guardians: the Certified Professional Guardian Board, which reports to the Supreme Court, and the superior court in each county.

The Board’s Role:
The Certified Professional Guardian Board “adopts and implements regulations governing certification, minimum standards of practice, training, and discipline of professional guardians.” The Board does not, however, interfere with the traditional role of the superior court. The superior court continues to be the “main venue” for making a complaint against a guardian.

A Contrast to Other Activities:
The “job” of a guardian is to manage the affairs of an incapacitated person. Other entities with similar jobs are not “supervised” by courts. An example would be a nursing home. Nursing homes manage the affairs of persons not able to care for themselves. Nursing homes are regulated by the Department of Social and Health Services.12 The Department of Social and Health Services is under the executive branch.

Problems with Court Supervision:
Little or no relevant training. A major problem with court supervision of guardians is that the typical judge or commissioner has little relevant training.

How Licensing and Regulation Might Work:
In other states, there are emerging programs in which oversight is provided via the executive branch. For example, California recently enacted SB 1550, which establishes the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau within the Department of Consumer Affairs

Conclusion:
Without effective oversight, abuse of wards by their guardians will only continue. It is time to consider a different paradigm. Guardians should be licensed and regulated under the executive branch, not the courts. Other methods of third-party oversight should be investigated and explored.

Full Article and Source:
The Time Is Now: Guardians Should Be Licensed and Regulated Under the Executive Branch, Not the Courts

Margaret Dore, J.D., M.B.A., is a fourth generation attorney and Seattle native. She has been licensed to practice since 1986. She was one of nine nominees for the 2005 Butch Blum/Law & Politics Award of Excellence. Ms. Dore’s successful cases include In re Guardianship of Stamm, 121 Wn. App. 830, 91P.3d 126 (2004), which limits the admissibility of guardian ad litem testimony. She also prevailed in the nationally recognized case, Lawrence v. Lawrence, 105 Wn. App. 683, 20 P.3d 972 (2001). For commentary on Lawrence, see Wendy N. Davis, Family Values in Flux, ABA Journal, Vol. 87, p. 26, October 2001. Law Offices of Margaret K. Dore

NASGA Poll:

Elder Abuse by Guardians

August 22, 2008
Esta Varon was placed in a mental institution and injected with drugs because her court appointed guardian, Sam Rausman, was going on vacation. She says she has been forced into an abusive situation and is now in a facility against her will by the court’s appointment of a guardian who is spending all her money. Maydelle Trambarulo was separated from her family in NJ and taken to Connecticut and put into a nursing facility for three years. Her conservator was Mark Dellavalle, a total stranger.
http://www.youtube.com/v/HzMQHYuzNX4&hl=en&fs=1

What makes this story so unbelievable is that it is all perfectly legal. Sanctioned by the courts and approved by judges. Nassau Supreme Court appointed Sam Rausman guardian of Esta Varon. She claims that he locked her out of her apartment, cancelled her credit cards and put her in a nursing home against her will. He is also trying to sell her car and her condo. Esta says Rausman’s control over her money has widdled her life savings from $235,000 down to a little over $43,000. Esta is not the only one who considers herself a victim of Sam Rausman.
http://www.youtube.com/v/OgsexjPyxxI&hl=en&fs=1

See also:
Fox 5 Investigates: Guardian Abuse

Fox 5 Investigates: Guardian Abuse, Part 2