Expert: ND Prospective Wards Should Have Lawyer to Protect Rights

Having a court-appointed guardian take charge of a person’s life means fewer legal protections and potentially graver consequences than being sent to prison, said a medical school professor who is studying North Dakota’s guardianship system.

The consultant, Winsor Schmidt, told the North Dakota Legislature’s Human Services Committee on Tuesday that North Dakotans in guardianship proceedings should have the right to a lawyer and a jury trial on whether the guardianship is necessary. State law now gives them neither.

In a guardianship case, a judge decides whether the person is capable of making decisions about his or her life. If they are not, a judge appoints someone to make those decisions for them.

“You lose all of your rights. You become a non-citizen,” Schmidt said in an interview.

The committee hired Schmidt, a professor at the University of Louisville’s medical school, to study North Dakota’s guardianship system, and he presented his preliminary report on Tuesday.

His recommendations included providing an attorney at public expense if someone can’t afford to hire a lawyer for guardianship proceedings.

“With the criminal justice system, if you’re found guilty, at least you know there’s a term, and you get out of jail,” he said. “With guardianship, it’s indeterminate. Once you’re (judged to be) legally incompetent, you’re incompetent from then on.”

Full Article and Source:
Expert: Person Having a Guardian Appointed by ND Court Should Have Laywer to Protect Rights

4 Responses to “Expert: ND Prospective Wards Should Have Lawyer to Protect Rights”

  1. Barbara Says:

    The GaL's are part of the problem for sure.

  2. Norma Says:

    I like this consultant! Watch out GALs, it appears you're being outed!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Oh the dirty secrets that are coming out from an expert now someone just might listen to him. 99% of the time the GAL is in bed with the guardianship team in it for profit, establish a case the billing frenzy begins, where there is profit there are opportunities for schemes and deception epidemic proportions in probate protection process.

  4. Christine Says:

    Well said, sir. My hat is off to you.

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