The Need for Improved Adult Guardianship Data

Two factors weigh heavily on the future of the ability of state courts to properly respond to the problems associated with the guardianship process . . . first, the aging of America . . . second, the current lack of basic reliable court data . . .

The US Senate’s Special Committee on Aging recently noted that the current guardianship system is not fulfilling its promise, and called for the development of new models of guardianship for the elderly.

“The starting point of any major reform is an accurate picture of the reality the policy intends to reform; in this case, that means at a minimum that states are able to count the number of incoming and outgoing adult guardianships in their courts. Unfortunately, the current caseload data on these cases is woefully deficient.”

In this issue of Caseload Highlights, The National Center for State Courts reviews the current state of guardianship data and describes some new approaches to more effective case management based on improved data.

Examining the Work of the State Courts – Caseload Highlights – The Need for Improved Adult Guardianship Data – Volume 15, Number 2 November 2008

11 Responses to “The Need for Improved Adult Guardianship Data”

  1. Betty Says:

    There is indeed a need to keep track and to know just how bad the abuse is, but rather than wait on that, steps could be taken now to start reform.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    The need is far larger than mere data gathering.

    Guardianship is being used and abused to obtain unjust enrichment by unethical professionals.

    one must question when a judge knowingly allows the law to be violated – why would a judge do that?

  3. tvfields Says:

    This need for improved data is related to several other problems. One of these problems is the unwillingness of our judicial system to make use of today’s computer and internet technology to provide interested parties the right and inexpensive means that they need to attach transcripts of sworn testimony (and other documentary evidence) to court records. Another of these problems is the unwillingness of our legal system to investigate and prosecute criminal complaints, often dismissing them as simply civil matters. I encountered both of these problems (and others) in my pursuit of justice after my father was taken advantage of just hours before he died of cancer, just hours after the hospital where he spent the last ten days of his life started him on a morphine drip under a Do Not Resuscitate order. For additional information of this kind, please e-mail me at tvfields@oh.rr.com

  4. marcia Says:

    Yes, keeping track is step #1, without federal guardianship laws replacing all existing state guardianship laws, nothing will be fixed and it will be business as usual with no oversight. We must have uniformity in probate in all 50 states a.s.a.p.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Uniformity? That’s a joke! We have the Uniform Law Commissioners – what do they The states are free to do as they please.

    UNTIL they hear from the People – LOUD AND STRONG!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Exactly, Marcia.

    Uniformity is essential!

  7. sue Says:

    The lack of uniformity in the laws and procedures governing guardians and wards in every county in all 50 states go hand in hand with the shock and horror of a guardianship situation is a “key” element in the guardinaship racket’s power and control with approval of the courts surprise attack on the unsuspecting victim and his/her family.

    The only wording missing is: “til death do us part”; the guardian controls the ward and the ward’s assets til the wards’ death (and beyond).

    I firmly believe all of this is intentional and by design.

    Why?

    QUESTION: Who is responsible for the FINAL “language” of every single law that is passed in all 50 states?

    ANSWER: L A W Y E R S!

    BINGO! Income for lawyers (and their pals) for life.

    Most laws are intentionally written with specific language that opens the door to confusion, litigation and invites interpretation of the laws with loopholes as large as sink holes = guaranteed mega income for the ABA et al.

    The American people and anyone who arrives here as a visitor from abroad are at risk; they are potential victims of the guardianship racket when they are declared incompetent and/or physically disabled.

    In ILLINOIS, an adult who is a spend thrift or one who is physically disabled is a candidate, has the qualifications/conditions to become….A WARD of the state.

  8. tvfields Says:

    Sue, are you familiar with what Yale law professor Fred Rodell wrote in 1939 “The legal trade, in short, is nothing but a high-class racket. It is a racket far more lucrative and more powerful and hence more dangerous than any of those minor and much-publicized rackets … Furthermore, the lawyers – or at least 99 44/100 percent of them – are not even aware that they are indulging in a racket, and would be shocked at the very mention of the idea.” (ref. page 10 of the 1980 paperback edition of Woe Unto You Lawyers). Does this help explain why there is practically no leadership from within the legal trade to curtail this racket?

  9. Anonymous Says:

    ………..”Unfortunately, the current caseload data on these cases is woefully deficient.”

    I have a solution:

    Immediate Federal intervention and action:

    1) Surprise co-ordinated visits to courthouses to begin compiling needed data nationwide consisting of all guardianship case files going back in time a minimum of 10 years: closed and open.

    2) Remove case files by truck loads for audit and review

    3) Recruit an army of prosecutors for the Attorney General’s Office

    I say this is the only way for the federal legislators to see the schemes and the fraud.

  10. tvfields Says:

    Dear Anonymous,

    Have you've personally contacted federal legislators? If you have, then haven't you already done what you can to show them the schemes and frauds? If you haven't, why not?

    I have contacted federal legislators, and I've proposed they introduce legislation to amend the Older Americans Act along the specific lines described below.

    (Unfortunately, this blog does not support the proposal’s formatting. If you believe the formatting would help you understand or share with others this proposal, please write me to request I send you this proposal as originally formatted as an e-mail attachment.)

    Meanwhile, could the Americans with Disabilities Act be similarly amended? I hope you will look into that and let us know.

    Proposed Amendment of the Older Americans Act
    US CODE > TITLE 42 > CHAPTER 35 > SUBCHAPTER XI > Part A > subpart iii > § 3058i
    § 3058i. Prevention of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation
    In order to bolster the provisions regarding the investigation, reporting and prosecution of complaints of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation, subsection (c) of § 3058i needs to be expanded as follows

    (c) Approach

    (1) In developing and enhancing programs under subsection (a) of
    this section, the State agency shall use a comprehensive approach, in
    consultation with area agencies on aging and others, including the public,
    to identify and assist older individuals who are subject to abuse, neglect,
    and exploitation, including older individuals who live in State licensed
    facilities, unlicensed facilities, or domestic or community-based settings.

    (2) In order to carry out the intent of this Act, and especially
    paragraphs (3), (4), (6) and (8) under subsection (b) of this section,
    the State and Area agencies will respond as follows to all complaints
    of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, unless specifically directed
    to the contrary in writing by the affected elder under conditions which
    do not raise suspicions of mental deficiency, fraud, coersion, undue
    influence or other similar interference:
    (A) ensure that every complaint alleging elder abuse, neglect, or
    exploitation is investigated, reported and adjudicated without prejudice,
    regardless of such considerations as who makes the complaint, how the
    complaint is made, the nature of the complaint, who is most affected
    by the alleged act, the death of the affected elder before or during
    the investigation, …
    (B) ensure that every complaint concerning the investigation,
    reporting or adjudication of a complaint alleging abuse, neglect, and
    exploitation is similarly investigated, reported and adjudicated
    without prejudice …
    (C) publish all complaints in an appropriate online reporting system
    that the public can access at no cost using the most common web browsers;
    (D) publish and link in this same reporting system all records
    pertaining to each complaint;
    (E) publish and link in this same reporting system the street and
    internet addresses which each complainant or interested party designates
    for this purpose;
    (F) encourage all complainants and interested parties to submit in
    writing their proposals for amending this section of the Act;
    (G) publish and link in this same reporting system all proposals which
    complainants or interested parties submit for amending this section of the
    Act;
    (H) publish in the same manner and place as each proposal all comments
    pertaining to the proposal;

    (3) Many citizens depend upon advanced declarations like Wills, Living
    Wills and Trusts to express their wishes and safeguard those wishes against
    negligence, mistake, fraud, coersion, undue influence and other similar interference.
    (A) Citizens must have the means to protect these declarations against
    interference as they become less able to resist fraud, coersion, undue influence,
    and other methods practiced by opportunists.
    (B) Laws like Ohio Revised Code §2107.081 – §2107.085 provide citizens some
    means of protecting their declarations against interference.
    (C) When citizens perceive that their declarations are not adequately protected
    by laws like Ohio Revised Code §2107.081 – §2107.085, they need to be able to
    specify in their declarations additional protections and count on the courts to honor
    these protections.
    (D) In order to responsibly protect the wishes of elders, the agencies
    must address such concerns.
    (E) In order to address such concerns, the agencies must work with the
    concerned parties, the legislature and the courts.
    (F) Concerns of this kind must be investigated, reported and adjudicated as
    complaints. What will be investigated, reported and adjudicated in these cases is
    the sufficiency of the law rather than an alleged act of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

  11. sue Says:

    No, I was not aware of these findings or writings by Yale law professor Fred Rodell.

    And, Yes, thank you, tvfields, this information certainly helps to confirm my beliefs why it’s so hard to break down the thick brick wall of protection from those within the “loop”.

    Also, 70 years ago, when in 1939Yale law professor Fred Rodell:

    “The legal trade, in short, is nothing but a high-class racket. … Furthermore, the lawyers – or at least 99 44/100 percent of them – are not even aware that they are indulging in a racket, and would be shocked at the very mention of the idea.”

    If the professor is still amongst the living, would he, himself, really believe what he wrote in 1939?

    70 years later, we know better, don’t we?

    In the year 2008, I believe professsor Rodell would seriously reconsider his position finding it absolutely impossible to believe “at least 99 44/100 percent of them (lawyers) – are not even aware that they are indulging in a racket”.

    He would write: 99.9999% of the lawyers would know but not acknowledge that they are not only indulging in a racket, they found a way via the legislators to intentionally CREATE RACKETS.

    The mega profits from the guardianship racket is very serious money, in the trillions and growing every day.

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