Even the federal government has acknowledged the sickening reality: legal guardians of seniors, including those appointed by the state, are often financially abusive to their wards.
It's hardly surprising when the system is set up to be financially motivating and puts the control of the senior in the hands of anyone willing to take the job -- including a professional who might not even know the senior in question.
In many cases, someone will pass a background check and meet the surface requirements to become a court-appointed legal guardian for someone else -- but there's tremendously little oversight after they start. That leads to the financial and physical abuse of their wards.
Some of the examples included in a recently released study were outrageous:
- A woman from Virginia used her aunt's bank account like her personal piggy bank, spending hundreds on personal items and thousands on her friends.
- A professional guardian located in Texas was appointed the guardian over at least 50 people, some living hundreds of miles away from her home. She withheld money from their personal funds, failed to provide them with the basic necessities of clothing and shoes and couldn't be relied on to pay for their care in a timely manner.
- One guardian used the personal funds of a male nursing home resident to pay for false nails, hair salon services and women's clothing.
- Another guardian bought a fancy truck out of the money belonging to a nursing home resident with no driver's license.
It's also frighteningly easy for people to take control of a senior in a vulnerable moment. For example, an adult child can make a move to get guardianship while the senior is temporarily incapacitated due to health issues. Unable to fight back or attend the hearing, the judge may grant the guardianship believing that the situation is long-term and the child is acting in his or her parent's best interests -- while what they really want is financial control of the parent's assets.
If you believe that your parent's legal guardian is abusive or neglectful, or simply trying to grab all the money he or she can out of your parent's estate while your parent is still alive, talk to an attorney today. For information about how our firm may be able to help you, please visit our page.