As usual, some days you wander in to probate court and everything is copacetic and other days, it’s the time for fire breathing dragons.
So, I have a guardian and her plans changed and she had to move back to Wisconsin, then her brother steps in, and there are problems, but with the probate court, you never know when it’s a day to do a Japanese lettuce inspection. For those of you that do not understand this procedure, you can Google it. Apparently it is explained in the movie “Days of Thunder” where Tom Cruse my favorite scientologist has a buddy with a race track that explains it. Forgot that.
So, without going into too many Gorey (as in Edward Gorey) details, I will leave you with this. The Japanese lettuce inspection of the Plenary Guardian-sister ended when I pointed out the house is only worth about $200,000 at most, it’s not insurable and has major repairs, so drop that price about 20% because title can only be cleared with an “exception” for insurance related issues, the take off another $20,000 expenses related to closings (Realtor fees, city and state transfer taxes, property tax credit, title, etc.) Now, the wards have racked up about $130,000 in nursing home bills, so what is the OPG and other feeding frenzy attys left with? Nada. Might even be a Deed in Lieu or a short sale (horrors!)
No money for attorneys.
Which leads me to think. What do you do about money hungry probate attys that frequently engage in the “Japanese lettuce inspection” until you tell them there’s no money for them, go away.
Racking up liens against the house is a good one. Perhaps there are outstanding loans to relatives that can be filed as a lien against the estate. Perhaps mom and dad need to keep track of money they have borrowed from others but did not pay back and keep those promises to pay in a safe place.
A good strategy to keep away the probate sharks is always the vehicle of a trust. Now, I’m not saying trusts are perfect because a greedy relative or probate shark can get in there, plead with the court the “trust must be broken” to support the ward, when in reality the probate attys want to get paid, but it does add another legal layer of protection on the assets of seniors or the disabled. More motions, more filings.
Let’s face it, if you’re a senior with a paid up house and a bank account, you’re a sitting duck for probate attys. Out in the middle of the pond, by yourself. Little red laser dot on your pretty little head.
My fave threat today? You better put them in a good nursing home quick and sell the house because if you wait too long there won’t be much money and then the OPG will have to put them in a crappy one. Do these people EVER listen to themselves? Okay, I forgot, I actually have another quote, “you know some people remain in the community far too long when they really belong in a nursing home (ie, institution).” From the OPG. Are ya seeing red yet? Absolutely no remorse. No understanding that the nephew and niece love aunt and uncle and want desperately to keep them out of a nursing home and keep them in their own home. Once you get in a nursing home, you never get out. You never see the light of day. They keep you in a chair or bed with alarm systems because walking around is “too dangerous.” I further got warned if grandpa gets out and freezes to death that is criminal negligence. I replied it happens all the time at nursing homes, you rarely hear about it with a personal home.
These are the people I deal with. Regarding the probate court family victims, the women cry and the men are angry.
And you can speak with John Wyman about not even having much at all but being a sitting duck for a GAL or OPG or probate attorney’s fees.
Don’t stand on the street or by the side of the curb, because if these sharks get ahold of your estate, they have doctors ready to say you’re incompetent, attorney who are on a list that might or might not protect you when you say at the top of your lungs “I DON’T WANT A GUARDIAN, I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU AND GET YOUR EVIL A** OUT OF MY HOUSE!”
A recent quote from Mrs. X whom the GAL/OPG have filed a petition for a temp guardianship today.
The court got an atty from the hallway. I hope he helps her. She reads the newspaper daily, knows what is going on, does not want to speak to attys and does not trust them. Wonder why.
I’ll let ya all knows what happens next.
Just another day in hell on earth, the 18th floor of the Daley center. Probate central.
And I don’t want to leave you with the impression that all probate cases are nasty, greedy and evil. The vast majority have good caring family members that do a good job, the family does not fight, involvement of attys is minimal…but then there are the 10% touched by the devil himself.
Case over, lettuce fine, move along.