Increasingly in the United States, elderly people are being abused by those who are entrusted to protect them. The abuse is not always physical, but includes financial abuse, neglect, and theft. A new proposal in Ohio seeks to help mitigate the problem of court-appointed guardians who abuse their wards.
Recent media reports have revealed that Ohio has a large problem with some court-appointed guardians who abuse their wards. The guardians are people whom the court has approved and appointed as guardians over elderly people and others who cannot handle their own affairs.
A recent article in The Columbus Dispatch, titled “Bill would spell out wards’ legal rights in guardianship system,” reports that lawmakers have proposed a bill that would give wards a bill of rights so they are better armed against abusive guardians.
This is not just a problem in Ohio. It happens all over the country. One of the reasons it happens is because the court appointed guardians often have no prior relationship with their wards. That is a problem you can normally prevent from happening to you.
If you have a proper estate plan drawn up, then you will create powers of attorney and appoint someone you trust to make financial and health care decisions when you are unable. You might also create a trust, so a trustee oversees your finances. Again, the benefit of doing this is nominating people you know and trust. With a proper estate plan, there is often no need for a court to even consider appointing a guardian for you.
Guardianship abuse needs to be stopped. The best way to stop it is to prevent the possibility of a guardianship in the first place.
Please contact our office today at 239-225-7911 to schedule an appointment with Barbara M. Pizzolato if you are interested in protecting your legacy and need to create or update your estate plan. You may also wish to attend one of our free seminars.
Reference: The Columbus Dispatch (October 5, 2014) “Bill would spell out wards’ legal rights in guardianship system“