From Candice Schwager comes a proposal for a Class Action against the court system to prevent the abuses that we frequently see in guardianships across the nation.
This lawsuit will force the court system 1) to acknowledge the ADA and that it applies to guardianship proceedings; 2) to force evaluations of 7 basic areas of decision making in adults and to state specifically which areas are retained by the prospective ward and which are not; and 3) (most important) to appoint a trained, pro bono, attorney in each case for the benefit of the proposed ward to ensure that the ward is always represented in a proceeding.
the current situation is best exemplified by this article, which exposes only one of many scams in the nursing home arena:
Of course, my only questions are, given the greed, the propensity for fudging with bank account and other assets which often disappear, valuables from the home disappear, seniors are forced into nursing homes against their will, their homes and cars are sold against their will, how will this stop all of that? And can the courts just recreate the “secret list” of attorneys the judge appoints for them and then business is traded with the attorneys on these secret lists? When case managers and companies are appointed, it often leads to forced drugging, degradation of the health of the senior because they are often given chemical restraints, harsh drugs they do not need but are expensive rather than checking Vit. D3 levels and vitamin C, B vitamins, etc.–all of which can and will make the senior competent again and fully functional. (See recent study out of LA
I applaud the fact the courts need to declare that guardianship Respondents are fully covered by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and their family members There was no reason for Judge Aicha MacCarthy to exclude Gloria’s service dog via court order and then run after Gloria in the hall and threaten to jail her when the dog barked. All that was covered under the ADA.
I do think its a great idea that wards should always get an attorney. And I think it’s a good idea that the attorney is from a volunteer panel to avoid a conflict of interest. I’m not so sure that most wards would do just fine with a system like they have in Europe where a volunteer or reasonably priced trained adult assists the senior with paying bills each week, hiring an assistant or companion that is low cost or free to ensure that the senior/disabled is taking meds, the home is clean, they see the doctor or the doctor comes there, would be a much better solution than forcing seniors into nursing homes against their will and drugging them.
Oversight is an obvious necessity and where estates are large, allegations of theft, missing funds and other issues should be reviewed with either the FBI or states attorneys on the spot and in an office near the court room so these situations can be promptly remedied.
I also like the “7 factors” analysis of decision making areas, but I fear it will turn into the sweeping generalizations the courts now make where a senior is guardianized with “slight memory loss” and all powers are taken away on the spot. Perhaps that could prevent the courts from the rubber stamp of totally incapacitated which happens in most cases where the incapacity is relatively slight (Sykes, Payton, etc.)
All I really know is the system is seriously broken and it needs to be fixed. The attorneys and greed need to be removed from it. I favor “assistants” to pay bills and help the seniors with their life choices rather than the current system that results in the “target, guardianize, medicate, drain the estate, eliminate and cremate” motto which is going on right here right now that is a clear violation of every disabled’s and senior’s human and civil rights. Anytime a senior is forced into assisted living or a nursing home and chemically restrained, a home forcibly sold is a clear string of felonies, as far as I am concerned and the FBI should be taking swift action against all the miscreants involved–including and especially all attorneys and judges involved that allowed this to happen.
Seniors have the right to choose if and when they go to a nursing home. Their “assistants”, if and when needed should not be attorneys at $250 per hour, and case (mis) managers getting kickbacks from nursing homes at $2,000 to $5,000 per month. That felony and “seniors for cash” has to end.
Seniors should be involved in their guardianships, making their own lists of assets, handling their own accounts and decisions for as long as possible and only low cost or free assistants should be used. Seniors should be involved in the process as long and possible, and never gas lighted by the court or attorneys which only makes the situation worse.
This is not hard, but something has to happen to solve these critical and common violations of human and civil rights and stop the string of felonies from happening in the first place.