The Ruling That Could Change Everything for Disabled People With Million-Dollar Trusts

When  Judge Kristen Booth Glen walked into her Manhattan Surrogate’s courtroom one day in 2007, she had no idea she was about to challenge the nation’s top banks on behalf of tens of thousands of disabled people.

Before her stood lawyer Harvey J. Platt,  who was petitioning to become the legal guardian of  Mark Christopher Holman,  a severely autistic teen who lived in an institution upstate.

Holman had been left an orphan nearly three years earlier after the eccentric millionaire who adopted him passed away. According to doctors, he had the communication skills of a toddler, unable to bathe, dress, or eat by himself.

But before Judge Glen would grant this seemingly perfunctory petition, she had a few questions for Platt.

“How often have you visited Mark Holman?” she asked the lawyer.

“Since his mother died, I have not visited him,” said Platt.

“And when you say you haven’t visited him since then, how often had you visited him prior to that?”

“I haven’t seen him since he was eight or nine,” responded the lawyer. “His mother used to bring him to our office with his brother, just to show him my face and so forth and so on, so I haven’t seen him probably since 1995 or 1996.”

It was around that time that Platt helped Mark’s mother, Marie Holman, draft her will and create trusts for him and his older brother. A decade later, when she was dying, Platt promised Marie he’d apply to become Mark’s guardian.

“And have you visited the institution which he currently resides in?” Glen asked.

“No, I intend to, but I have not as yet,” Platt said, sounding weary. “I don’t think even a visit has much significance anyway. He’s totally nonverbal—he’s never spoken a word. He’s potentially aggressive.”

This didn’t sit well with Judge Glen. When it came to signing away the rights of disabled people to guardians, she was perhaps the most cautious judge in New York. But what came next would floor her.

Platt informed her that Mark’s trust had reached nearly $3 million. But while his trustees—Platt and JP Morgan Chase—had collected thousands of dollars in commissions, they hadn’t spent a penny on Mark. Medicaid covered his basic care at the institution upstate, but neither the lawyer nor the bank had considered how his mammoth trust might further aid his quality of life.

“Whether there is a cure for his autism or not, the question is: Are there things that could make his life more pleasurable or fulfilling?” Glen asked. “If somebody took him out to the movies once a week, or somebody took him out to lunch, or what he really likes to do is watch football—I don’t know. There’s always something that could make people happier, and I don’t think you could know that without really visiting him and knowing what’s going on.”

As she spoke, Glen could not have predicted that the case would become a five-year obsession for her. Or that she was about to disrupt a lucrative trade in which some trustees sponge commissions off wealthy disabled people—while doing little to enhance their care.

“They’re lazy pieces of shit,” says Glen. “It’s a business. They collect their commissions, and they think their only responsibility is to invest the money and keep the money safe with no regard for the beneficiary.”

Full Article and Source:
The Ruling That Could Change Everything for Disabled People With Million-Dollar Trusts

See Also:
The Fleecing of Medicaid and the American Taxpayer

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11 Responses to “The Ruling That Could Change Everything for Disabled People With Million-Dollar Trusts”

  1. Barbara Says:

    Fantastic!

  2. StandUp Says:

    Oh I love it on those rare occasions when judges speak their minds. Judge Kristen Booth Glen, I respect you!

  3. StandUp Says:

    I would just disagree with one thing Judge Glen said. Maybe not quite disagree but rather add that these types are "protecting" the assets for themselves so they can submit their bills. It's always all about them.

  4. Dennis Douglas Says:

    IT IS Actually Very Useful FOR ME.I LIKE YOUR Put up Because IT IS Quite Useful FOR ME AS Nicely. HOPING THE Identical Greatest Work IN THE UP COMING Days ALSO. THANK YOU!

  5. Mike Says:

    Just think … this happened in 2007 and it's just getting publicity today. Sometimes when we feel the lowest, we must remember that there are judges like Judge Kristin Booth Glen out there doing their best. Thank you Judge Glen. Thank you NASGA!

  6. Janie Says:

    I hope it does change everything but at this point, I'll even settle and be happy with changing something. For far too long, fiduciaries (mostly lawyers, but guardians as well) have run amok with no accountability and a smile on their faces because they know they can get away with it.I am very happy to see this article. Thanks, NASGA.

  7. Sue Says:

    Judge Kristen Booth Glen is my kind of judge, wonderful person wearing robes applause and standing ovation. I would love to have breakfast with a woman who is a role model. Thank you so very much.

  8. Nancy Says:

    It warms my soul reading this story!

  9. George Says:

    Impressive, Judge Glen. You're setting a fine example!

  10. Betty Says:

    I hope the bad judges see the positive energy created by Judge Kristen Booth Glen and that gives them pause. It's good to know there are real warriors out there. I am sure there are people who have been before her who are not happy, but I do think she is trying. And she's outspoken —it's all good!

  11. tvfields Says:

    Lawyer Harvey J. Platt didn't do much for his ward. Judge Kristen Booth Glen cares, but can she prevent others from using her as an excuse to bill more hours? …

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