Finally! News you can use for seniors!

From the Silver Standard’s Elder Abuse Reform Project

By Marcia Southwick

In most states, if you are deemed incapacitated by a court, it will hand your rights over to a professional or family guardian who then will make all decisions for you.  Given that state courts are backlogged, and judges are faced with stacks of papers, it’s no wonder that a tendency to treat every case with uniformity has developed.   Unfortunately, one size does not fit all, and many elders and persons with disabilities are not being treated as individuals with dignity but rather as second-class citizens without equal protection under the law—as a non-person.  The descriptions of how removal of rights has caused suffering are heartbreaking.

Now that someone (often a complete stranger) has been appointed Dictator over your life and assets, and now that this Dictator has almost no supervision and little accountability for how your assets are spent, how are you feeling about it?  Not too great.   How is the guardian feeling?  Power drunk.

Even though guardians can control every aspect of people’s lives, they aren’t monitored by outsiders.  They pay themselves out of your estate in addition to having the right to claim that anything they do is in your “best interest.”  If that means selling your house and throwing you into a lock-down unit, so be it. If your spouse of 50 years fights for your freedom, they will simply, on your behalf and “in your best interests”, get you a divorce from that pesky spouse.  If your family doesn’t like it and wages a court battle, the guardian can use YOUR money to hire a lawyer to battle back, quickly exhausting your estate. And, what are your families chances of winning if you are in one of the many jurisdictions where the judge, the guardian, who was very possibly appointed by the judge, and the guardian’s lawyer are old pals?

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