Caroline* called us after her mother’s care was taken over by a court-appointed guardian. The guardian does not know the family and has never visited the woman – yet she can liquidate the woman’s assets, enter into contracts on her behalf, determine where she will live, and make life and death decisions about her health care.
Last week, the guardian decided to put Caroline’s mother in hospice over Caroline’s objections, even though she is not terminally ill. Caroline is terrified that the guardian will soon authorize the withdrawal of her mother’s food and water.
We are working with a local Life Legal attorney to try to have the guardian removed or at least replaced and to have the woman placed back in the nursing home where she had been receiving good care.
Life Legal has seen a marked increase in cases involving professional guardians over the past few years. In some cases, family members – and even the wards themselves – do not know that guardianship proceedings have been initiated until the guardian has been appointed. A guardianship petition can be filed by an unscrupulous attorney seeking to have elderly people – especially those with no close family ties – declared incompetent in order to manage their assets. We have handled numerous cases where a professional guardian was appointed because of a single unsubstantiated complaint against a family member. In one case, a hospital was able to have a guardian appointed after the sister of a disabled woman disagreed with the hospital’s management of her sister’s care.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a professional guardian, please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.