Court-Appointed Fiduciaries Wield Great Power
What Can Go Wrong And Potential For Abuse Of Power
Court-appointed conservators and other fiduciaries (such as guardians or trustees) wield enormous power over the dependent individuals and properties they are appointed to manage and protect. Court appointments supersede earlier Powers of Attorney, trustee nominations and the like and the appointed fiduciary is in complete control. Unfortunately, the system has real faults: reported abuse of power, conflicts of interest, lack of court supervision, cronyism, mismanagement, dereliction of duty, inappropriate delegation of duty and failure to accommodate a conservatee’s changing needs may fail the best interests of the dependent senior. If an acting conservator needs to be removed or replaced, the Los Angeles and Orange County financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. can help. We represent seniors and other dependent adults needing a change in a conservatorship in order to better manage a conservatee’s personal or financial affairs. If a conservatorship is in place, our lawyers know how to monitor the situation to ensure it works in the dependent adult’s best interests. If you or a loved one need that kind of legal assistance, call us today at (415)441-8669.
Conservator Abuse Is A Reality
Netflix’s latest thriller movie, I Care a Lot starring Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage, follows two unscrupulous business partners who become court-appointed guardians (conservators in Californi) for elderly people in order to steal their money. Sadly, conservator abuse is not just a fiction of the movies; it’s a very real danger for older persons. One study conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that people in trusted roles such as conservators stole millions every from the very persons they are appointed (and paid) to protect. Often, the conservators are able to get away with their theft as a result of little supervision by the courts; some courts have thousands of conservatorships within their counties and cannot possibly polive them all adequately. If you suspect a conservator is abusing or taking money from your older loved one, call us. Our attorneys know the legal and professional standards to which conservators and other court-appointed fiduciaries are held. We can identify cases when those standards are not being met and suggest an appropriate legal response. The Orange County/Los Angeles litigators at Evans Law Firm, Inc. will pursue all remedies available to the aggrieved elder including removal of the fiduciary, damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs for victims of any financial elder abuse.
Warning Signs of Conservator Abuse
Here are several warning signals families of older persons in conservatorships should keep in mind as they monitor their older loved one’s well-being:
- The guardian and/or conservator treats you as an outsider instead of a relative, friend, or loved one.
- Your loved one doesn’t get his/her mail.
- The guardian/conservator sees to it that your loved one doesn’t have a phone.
- When you visit, the guardian “hovers” or even employs someone to hover so you’re not alone with your loved one.
- If your loved one is in a nursing home, you’re only allowed to visit in the dining room or recreation room.
- Your loved one appears to be more sluggish, perhaps even dazed.
- You start seeing questionable documents and realize financial accounts are closed or changed and the statements have been diverted to the guardian/conservator.
- You discover the taxes haven’t been paid — or even filed.
- The nursing facility tells you when you visit, you “upset” your family member or upset the staff.
- You are denied input about your loved one’s care – the doctor won’t talk to you – you are shut out.
- Items are missing items from your loved one’s home.
- The guardian/conservator refuses to take your call or answer your questions.
If you or a loved one has a problem with a California conservatorship or has been a victim of a breach of fiduciary duty by a trustee or other fiduciary in Los Angeles, Orange County or elsewhere in California or, contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other Evans Law Firm, Inc. probate, trusts and financial elder abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. Our attorneys handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, other types of qui tam and whistleblower cases, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.