February 1 is Conservatorship and Guardianship Abuse Awareness Day, a day to raise awareness about the potential abuses of power that can occur within the guardianship system.
Often times, the abuse of an elderly individual begins with an agent or attorney-in-fact under a power of attorney, this leads to a Conservatorship and Guardianship proceeding to assist in protecting the elderly individual. What happens, however, if you suspect the Conservator and Guardian is abusing his or her power over the elderly individual? When the court appoints a Conservator, it requires the Conservator to file an inventory and annual accountings.
The court has oversight into the actions of the Conservator. For the Guardian, the court requires the Guardian to file an annual report regarding the health status of the incapacitated individual (physical, mental, and social status). These are the safeguards in place to protect the incapacitated individual from abuses of power. It may be difficult to determine abuse of power if you must wait a year for a court required filing. Are there other steps you may take to ensure the Conservator and Guardian act in a fiduciary capacity according to your state’s laws?
The National Center on Law & Elder Rights has resources for Conservatorship and Guardianship Abuse Awareness Day:
- NCLER: Legal Basic: Overview of Guardianship and Alternatives to Guardianship (Recording, Chapter Summary, PowerPoint)
- NCLER: When the Guardian is an Abuser (Webcast, Issue Brief and Checklist)
- NCLER: Elder Justice Toolkit
- NCLER: Using Decision Supports to Avoid Guardianship (Recording, Chapter Summary, PowerPoint)
- NCLER: Using Alternatives to Guardianship to Defend Against or Terminate Guardianship (Recording, Chapter Summary, PowerPoint)
- NCLER: Guardianship Termination and Restoration of Rights (Recording, Chapter Summary, PowerPoint)
- National Center on Elder Abuse: Guardianship: Remedy vs. Enabler of Elder Abuse
- National Center on Elder Abuse: Ten Ways to Reduce Guardianship Abuse
If you believe your loved one is the victim of Conservatorship and/or Guardianship abuse, please contact the Elder Law team at McCandlish Lillard via telephone at (703) 273-2288 or send us an email inquiry from www.mccandlaw.com. Learn more at our firm's Wills, Trusts & Estates Resources page, Elder Law page, or Trust, Estate & Fiduciary Litigation page.