Archive for the ‘Hearing’ Category

Public Hearing: Proposed Rate Change Plan for Santa Clara County Professional Fiduciaries

November 8, 2012

Elderly adults, the disabled and their advocates packed a San Jose auditorium Wednesday, expressing outrage over excessive fees charged by court-appointed estate managers who are now under fire as a state lawmaker and Santa Clara County’s top judge promised action.

One woman described losing everything to trustees, whose fees landed the onetime philanthropist on food stamps. Another lamented a $182,000 bill for nine months’ work billed to her ex-husband’s estate.

“I’m a senior and I’ve lost everything,” Annette Aiassa told Judge Brian Walsh and state Assemblyman Jim Beall, D-San Jose. “So I’m wondering, can you do anything for me?”

Their pleas for help came in the first public hearing over proposed reforms since this newspaper’s investigation “Loss of Trust” exposed how permissive Santa Clara County’s court has been over the years as some private conservators hand six-figure bills to incapacitated adults under the court’s watch.

Less than a month after the newspaper’s story, the court convened a panel that has proposed new rules to curb fees that, in some cases, are double what neighboring counties allow.

Local judges vote Nov. 15 before sending the new rules to state officials.

If approved, as of Jan. 1, conservators here would be expected to charge hourly rates between $115 and $165 — half what many now charge. Routine tasks such as opening mail and grocery shopping could not be billed at rates higher than $55 an hour.

Realtor Richard Calhoun said the proposed changes sound good but do not go far enough. “Cutting the hourly rate is fine,” Calhoun said, “but they could double the work that they do.”

Walsh told the crowd that the court is committed to change, noting that Santa Clara County is likely to pass the strictest set of guidelines on conservator fees in the state. But he described the difficulty crafting rules that are not “too strict,” thereby driving away “caring and capable people.”

Full Article and Source:
Rate Change Plan Seeks to Rein in Expensive Estate Manager Fees

See Also:
Special Report: Loss of Trust

TN: Conservatorship Reform Hearing Slated Today!

September 20, 2012

Prompted by recent action in the General Assembly, the Tennessee Bar Association is set to begin a statewide series of hearings on possible reforms to the two-decades-old law governing conservatorships.

Association President Jacqueline Dixon said the goal is to get a wide variety of opinions from the public.

“And not just lawyers. We hope to get some good evidence,” she said.

Among the items most likely to be addressed are measures to ensure that those placed in a conservatorship retain as many of their rights as possible.

In a conservatorship, a person’s right to control everything from his or her health care to finances is turned over to a court-appointed person.

The initial hearings are set for Thursday in Nashville, with other sessions set for Memphis, Chattanooga and a fourth site yet to be determined in the eastern part of the state.

The bar association’s efforts were prompted by state Rep. Gary Odom, who proposed a series of reforms after hearing of the case of Jewell Tinnon, the Nashville woman who lost her house, car and personal possessions during a conservatorship that was later dissolved. Tinnon filed suit against the agency that oversaw her conservatorship, but the suit was dropped after a dispute between Tinnon and her attorneys, including Rachel Odom, the legislator’s spouse.

Probate Judge David “Randy” Kennedy, whose court handles conservatorship cases in Davidson County, said in an email that he was “delighted” the bar association was holding the hearings.

“Because statutory law cannot remain static and must evolve to meet the needs of a changing society I anticipate that the task force will make specific recommendations to the legislature on matters that will aid the courts in enhancing the services that we are obligated to provide to all of our elderly and disabled citizens,” Kennedy wrote.

Earlier this year Kennedy announced he had instituted new procedures in his court requiring conservators to file notice in the event a person’s condition improved and a conservator was no longer required.

Full Article and Source:
Conservatorship Reform Hearing Slated