No one is really ready for their parents to experience physical and mental decline. On its own, this challenge is difficult enough. Unfortunately, the bad guys willing to take advantage of it have figured out how to manipulate a system designed to protect the disadvantaged.
Guardianship abuse is a national problem, and even the most diligent people will find themselves suddenly severed from their parents and grandparents, subject to a court system where procedures take precedence over common sense.Thanks to the “Free Britney” movement and Netflix the film I care, But for those affected by these injustices, the buzz of the media is far from enough. They need elected officials and the legal profession to take their claims seriously, rather than implicitly believing that judges and lawyers are always looking for the best interests of the ward.
Guardianship is designed to protect the elderly in the United States and ensure that those responsible take care of their personal and financial conditions. However, the system is often used to take advantage of those who cannot defend their own interests-when their family members realize the problem, it is often too late.
In some cases, predatory lawyers Development The legal system’s presumption of good faith over-billed unnecessary and sometimes fictitious services.
in Other situationsIndividuals are actually imprisoned by “guardians” who restrict their contact with friends and family, confine them to assisted living facilities, hardly consider the quality of care, and systematically deplete their assets to pay high expenses. Within a few weeks, the victim may become inhuman, with fewer rights than convicted felons.
Sadly, it is difficult to know the full scope of the problem because the system is simply not set up to maintain adequate review.But it is estimated 1.5 million people Under some form of guardianship, with total assets of approximately US$273 billion, there are many opportunities for malfeasance.
In February of this year, a Texas probate judge in Houston was Prosecute Property trafficking, extortion and abuse of 91-year-olds.Last year, a woman in Florida Escape Her guardian detained her in a nursing facility by using the phone, and Facebook Send out a distress signal. In 2019, a Tampa guardian was Arrested Stole more than one million dollars from one of his wards.Another example of guardianship abuse and medical kidnapping in Texas result In the tragic death of an elderly woman.
In jurisdictions with a history of lax regulation and allegations of public corruption, the temptation to abuse guardianship is irresistible to many bad actors. Under such circumstances, lawyers and judges have ample opportunities to engage in corrupt transactions at the expense of the interests of American seniors and their relatives.
Jefferson County, Alabama is one of them. There have been two particularly heartbreaking incidents of abuse of guardianship.
In 2019, Marianne Leonard, A 103-year-old retired teacher who died alone in hospice after being guarded by a Jefferson County probate judge, was frightened and separated from his family. She doesn’t even live in Jefferson County, but because she stopped at a hospital on the way home from a business trip, she was involved in the local court system. According to reports, the guardian and protector appointed by her court prohibited all visitors from seeing her, including her daughter, who was denied the opportunity to be with her before she died.
Then there is the case of Jefferson County resident and philanthropist Joann Bashinsky, who was allegedly forced to fight to protect her property in the last few days after two former employees and the probate court used Guardianship and supervision laws to control Basinski’s assets.Her family is still fighting her case in Alabama court Six months after she died.
The shortcomings of the system are most obvious when the rich are dragged into court and forced to refute their incompetent claims. It is easy to understand why judges, lawyers, professional guardians, and others are eager to acquire the wealth of the wealthy. But the same situation afflicts countless people with gentler methods-although there are fewer prizes, the team of potential victims is large, and their ability to defend this process is minimal.
Guardianship abuse might just be one of the biggest criminal enterprises threatening the elderly in America today, but we won’t know for certain until elected officials and the criminal justice community give this crisis the attention it desperately deserves.
Prosecutors need to take seriously allegations of abuse of guardianship, including those involving seemingly secretive judges, guardians, and networks of medical institutions, and work to identify those who are looting vulnerable individuals and their families. Legislators need to improve guardianship procedures to respond to confirmed abuses to ensure that those who lack the resources or expertise to fight back will not be treated unfairly again and again. This situation cannot be tolerated, and it needs to be recognized.
We must show the love, respect and dignity that our elders deserve in their most vulnerable years, and work to prevent predators from taking control of their lives. Let’s face it, losing parents is always difficult, but it is even harder to lose parents while they are still alive.
Kimberly Guilfoyle (Kimberly Guilfoyle) is a national political and media strategist who served as the national chairman of the Trump Victory Finance Committee and a senior adviser to President Donald J. Trump’s company. Before joining the Trump campaign in 2019, she was a TV host on the Fox News Channel.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author.