Friday, October 31, 2014

Mentally ill man's home to be sold by state-appointed guardian

GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -  A mid-Michigan man is upset after his rights have been stripped to care for his mentally ill son and now the son's home is being sold by his state-appointed guardian.

Lendon Chambers says his wife, Emma, has a terminal illness and his adult son suffers from a mental illness. A Genesee County Probate Court says Chambers can not care for both of them so the court has named a guardian to deal with his son's needs.

Chambers says he is frustrated and worries about his son's assets.

The son's home is now up for sale and Chambers wonders where the money from the sale will be going.

The guardian says if an incapacitated person has assets, the money from that sale is first used to pay for funeral home expenses. The rest of the money is used for food, clothing and medical needs for the patient.

The guardian also says that every cent is monitored by the probate court. She also says that frustration felt by family members is not unusual.

She also says that family members can seek legal action in probate court if they have concerns about their loved one's care.

Full Article, Video & Source:
Mentally ill man's home to be sold by state-appointed guardian

Jones named in guardianship dispute

State superintendent’s candidate Jana Jones has been named in a civil case over the guardianship of her husband’s elderly parents.

In the civil complaint, one of Jana Jones’ brothers-in-law says the candidate and her husband received a loan from Ross V. Jones and Lorraina R. Jones and convinced the couple to write off the debt. Jana Jones says no debt is outstanding — and she provided a 2013 document, signed by her in-laws, in which they say they have willingly made many gifts of money to their children.

The guardianship case was initially filed on July 23, but the loan question surfaced in a document filed on Oct. 16. Jana Jones says the claim was filed in an attempt to gain “notoriety.” Attorneys for the family say the filing was politically motivated; Al Barrus, an attorney for Ross V. and Lorraina Jones, called the filing a “smear campaign.”

The case will be heard in a Cassia County magistrate court on Nov. 7 — three days after Jones, a Democrat, and Republican Sherri Ybarra vie for the open state superintendent’s post.

Until then, the civil case amounts to claims and counterclaims.

In the Oct. 16 document, Michael Von Jones of Twin Falls says his parents made a $150,000 loan to Jana Jones and her husband, Ross J. Jones.

Some years later, Jana and Ross J. Jones had the means to repay the loan, Michael Jones says in his filing. But instead, he said, they “unduly influenced and prevailed upon” Ross V. and Lorraina Jones to forgive the debt.

Jana Jones says her husband received the loan from his parents for his business, and his parents were granted a lien on Jana and Ross J. Jones’ home. The home deed was turned back over to Jana and Ross J. Jones in October 2010. Jana Jones says she was not involved in the loan — but said it was for far less than $150,000.

Al Barrus, an attorney for Ross V. and Lorraina Jones, says he learned of the Oct. 16 claim on Wednesday, and discussed it with his clients later that day. He has prepared an affidavit that says his clients are not owed any money.

“They were adamant that (Ross J. Jones) does not owe them any money whatsoever,” Barrus said Thursday.

The crux of the July 23 filing centers on custodianship.

Michael Jones says his parents need a guardian, and a conservator to oversee their material assets. A doctor has examined the parents and found them to be capable of living independently, said Jeffrey Rolig, Michael Jones’ attorney. Rolig wants to get a second opinion on their condition — a motion opposed not only by Ross V. and Lorraina Jones, and by Michael Jones’ siblings.

Full Article & Source:
Jones named in guardianship dispute

Recommended Website: GRADE - Guardianship Reform Advocates for the Elderly and Disabled

Reforming guardianship for the future of the disabled and elderly of Texas. Protecting the Constitutional, Civil and Human Rights of Texas's most vulnerable population. Advocating to ensure that our most vulnerable population are not forced into nursing homes or institutions without the opportunities to exercise all Less Restrictive Alternatives prior to the final and last resort to Guardianship.

In Texas, Guardianship violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Guardianship in Texas can or will remove all rights to life, liberty and property at the presiding judges orders. Ensuring that "incapacitation" is not used at the convenience of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services or any of Texas's certified guardians, attorney ad litems, court investigators, judiciaries, and state contract providers.

At present the general public is not aware of what is occurring in Guardianship Law today, guardianship is now a business, guardianship has lost it purpose. The disabled and elderly are becoming victims of a system that does not provided OVERSIGHT for the well being of the disabled and elderly. Family guardians are being stereotyped as perpetrators and the system of guardianship is now encouraging certified guardians are the only people who can protect the disabled and elderly from their own family members at the expense of the taxpayer.

Our goal is to advocate to promote the Quality of Life for Texas's most vulnerable population, the disabled and elderly wards as well as for our own futures.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

How New York’s Elderly Lose Their Homes to Guardianship

A prominent New York attorney is caught in the middle of apparent abuses of the elderly and allegedly pilfers their estate during the guardianship process, according to relatives of victims who hope to bring exposure that will stop her actions.

Mary Giordano is a partner with the New York State law firm, Franchina and Giordano, and among her duties is that Giordano is routinely chosen by the Nassau County Superior Court system to be a guardian for elderly guardianship cases.

But two relatives involved in cases in which Giordano was a guardian say their relatives were forcibly removed from their homes, their assets plundered, and their family members had the life sucked out of them until they died depressed and isolated.

Diane Wilson found her mother Dorothy Wilson lying helpless on the floor of her home and unable to get up on December 8, 2008. Advised due to long standing family disputes to enter her mother into guardianship, Wilson said by March 2009, at the order of then Nassau Supreme Court Judge Joel Asarch (pictured above) Asarch appointed Giordano as the court appointed guardian, even though Diane had filed to be her mother's guardian.

As Wilson’s guardian, Giordano was given power over nearly every decision in Wilson’s life including how her money was spent, where she lived, and her medical care.

Giordano ordered a reverse mortgage be placed on Dorothy Wilson’s home which netted about $275,000 and along with Wlson’s pension of about $2,300 month, Judge Asarch claimed in court the money would last for five years.

But it only lasted two years, and Diane Wilson told RebelPundit that proper accounting of the expenses were never provided by Giordano.

Worse yet, in November 2010, Wilson was tricked and forced to move out of her home and into a nursing home.

“Dorothy Wilson is currently placed in the Bristal, an assisted living facility in Massapequa. She was taken there on November 3, 2010, on the pretense of having lunch, by her daughter, Candice Bruder,” Diane Wilson said in a complaint to the New York State Unified Court Grievance Committee. “After she was there, she was told she was moving in there and her clothes were brought later that same day. She is not allowed to leave the Bristal at all, including Thanksgiving. The family is only permitted to go there and visit.”

The elder Wilson, who was 87 at the beginning of the process, was miserable and felt like a prisoner her entire time at Bristal.

“On November 15 (2010), after placing three phone calls during a 3 ½ hour period, I was finally able to speak with my mother. During the entire phone call her “caseworker”, Tracy, sat next to her while my mother begged me to come and pick her up and take her home. She had no privacy. When I went to visit her in the evening, she cried the entire time, begging me to take her home, asking me over and over again why I never came, why no one visited her, why no one called,” Diane Wilson said the same complaint.

Wilson was force to stay in the facility for thirty days at a cost of $53,000, and Giordano never provided a line by line breakdown of why the costs were so high.

On August 22, 2011, on the direction of Giordano, Dorothy Wilson was again moved to Meadowbrook Care Nursing Home in Freeport, New York again against her will.

On September 2, 2011, Giordano again moved Wilson into another nursing home Maria Regina Nursing Home in Brentwood, NY. Giordano also attempted to sell Wilson’s house.

What followed was a series of furious court maneuvers until on October 18, 2011, Giordano resigned as guardian but still Judge Asarch kept Dorothy Wilson in the nursing home. She died there on October 23, 2011.

Throughout the process Dorothy Wilson sent a series of letters to the judge begging to be allowed to be cared for by her daughter.

“It’s very strange that my daughter Diane is not allowed to go into my house.” Dorothy Wilson said in a letter dated October 20, 2011. “She is the only one I trust.”

Dorothy Wilson also made a series of You Tube videos begging to be released.

To continue reading, click here.

Full Article & Source:
How New York’s Elderly Lose Their Homes to Guardianship

Sibling Rivalry in Probate Disputes

Siblings can become involved in probate litigation in many ways. A sibling may try to challenge a parent's will. One sibling may try to set aside a conveyance of real estate, or transfer other assets that a parent made to another sibling. Several cases concern whether a sibling who is an executor is fulfilling his or her duties to the other beneficiaries.

Many conflicts begin when a parent treats children unequally in a will or trust. A testator certainly can do what he or she wants with his or her property. The profligate son or nasty daughter may very well not deserve an equal share. Or it may seem unfair if the CEO son receives as much as his schoolteacher brother. But it is very difficult for a child of any age to accept unfair treatment. Wealth or professional status often does little to mitigate the myriad motions someone feels when a parent treats a brother or a sister more favorably. These emotions can fuel litigation. While all litigation should be based on good faith legal claims supported by facts, very often these emotions – right or wrong – prolong and complicate the litigation.

Parents, when devising estate plans, should consider sibling dynamics, and should consider both the emotional and financial consequences of treating children differently. There are good arguments for treating each child equally. There are also good arguments for recognizing each child's economic circumstances. Well-drafted estate plans can greatly reduce the types of legal claims a disgruntled child can make.

But sometimes the caretaker child is not quite a saint. This child may feel entitled and try to exert undue influence upon the parent to convey assets or change estate plans for the child's benefit. The courts are filled with cases where a child misuses a power of attorney or otherwise takes advantage of a vulnerable parent. These cases are challenging because the caretaker child may be part martyr and part scoundrel. The distant sibling may have a hard time contradicting the closer sibling's testimony about what the parent said or did. The closer sibling may rationalize, exaggerate or outright lie.

Full Article and Source:
Sibling Rivalry in Probate Disputes

See Also:
NASGA:  An Open Door

Planning with POLST

POLST, or Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, is an approach to end-of-life care that encourages discussions between patients and their health care providers. The goal of POLST is to enable patients to choose the treatment they want or do not want, and to ensure that those preferences are honored.

With POLST, patients discuss with their doctors their diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment alternatives, including the benefits and burdens of life-sustaining treatment, as well as the patients’ values, beliefs, and goals for care. Based on these conversations, patients (or their health care agents) and their health care providers complete a POLST form, which documents the patient’s wishes with respect to end-of-life care. The POLST form is signed by the patient’s health care provider and becomes a part of the patient’s medical record. The form serves as the patient’s standing medical orders for that patient’s particular treatment preferences in the event of a medical emergency.

On a POLST form, the patient selects (1) whether or not they wish to be given CPR; (2) what degree of medical intervention they want in an acute situation: “comfort measures only,” “limited additional interventions,” or “full treatment;” and (3) the extent to which they want artificial nutrition to be administered, if at all. The POLST form is a single page, brightly colored, and designed to be immediately recognizable and used by doctors and first responders alike.

The POLST form is signed by the patient’s doctor (or, in some states, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant) and is a medical order. A copy is kept in the patient’s medical record, so it can be easily accessed in an emergency. Some states allow the forms to be logged into an electronic registry.

The POLST Paradigm, the national organization behind POLST, advises that POLST forms are not for everyone. They are recommended for “seriously ill or frail patients for whom their physicians would not be surprised if they died in the next year.”

Full Article and Source:
Planning with POLST

New Massachusetts Guardianship Law

On January 1, 2015, the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJ) takes effect in Massachusetts. The law supplements existing guardianship laws in the state to provide a mechanism for resolving multi-state jurisdictional disputes. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed the legislation which makes Massachusetts the thirty-ninth state to adopt the UAGPPJ. A similar bill was presented previously to the legislature in Rhode Island and is expected to be re-introduced this year.

Full Article & Source:
New Massachusetts Guardianship Law

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Probate judge troubles continue

A former Probate Court worker will move forward with the lawsuit against Rockdale County Probate Court Judge Charles K. Mays, Sr. for almost $20,000 of unpaid backpay after no response was received from Mays or the county by the Friday deadline, according to her attorney. A related lawsuit and a separate lawsuit involved Mays will also move forward in Magistrate Court in November.

Freya Pearson, through her attorney Michael Waldrop, had threatened to sue Mays if the $20,000 in wages and expenses was not paid by Friday, 4 p.m. Waldrop said no response had been received by the deadline and that they would be filing the lawsuit on Monday, Oct. 27.

Mays family advisor Pastor Charmaine Moss nee Hutcheson told The News last Sunday, Oct. 19, that DJ Asante was working on a statement from the Mays family.

On Monday while leaving his office, Mays declined to comment but did say regarding Pearson, "None of the allegations she's making are true." Mays said a statement would be sent from his attorney DJ Asante by Tuesday. However no statement received by press time Friday. Asante is not a member of the Georgia Bar nor the South Carolina Bar, according to the online member directory.

Since then, attempts to reach Mays for comment were not returned by press time.

Two other lawsuits involving Mays - one by contractor Rodney Scott who thought he was buying a condominium from Mays and invested $10,500 in renovating the unit, and one from the Mays Family Trust against Pearson for $5,600 unpaid rent - will also move forward in Magistrate Court Nov. 5.

Magistrate Court Judge Phinia Aten filed to recuse herself and Magistrate Judges Garland Moore and Cindy Stacey from both cases. The replacement judge will be selected by the District 4 Representative of the Council of Magistrate Court Judges Executive Committee, Beryl Anderson.

Freya Pearson
Pearson, a family friend, moved around the end of February from California with her 13-year-old daughter and 5-year-old granddaughter to live with the Mays' family in their rented McCalla Street home in order to work on setting up a Veterans or Mental Health accountability court.

Since Mays is not an active attorney nor a member of the Georgia Bar, any accountability court handling felony matters would need to be handled with the Superior Court, according to the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts. Probate Courts typically handle matters such as birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, gun licenses, adoptions, wills.

According to documents obtained by an Open Records Request, the court applied to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council in March 2014 for about $360,000 to set up a Veterans and Mental Health Court targeting offenders with misdemeanors without substance abuse problems or who were "actively or acutely psychotic" with charges based on their illness. That application was turned down.

A letter sent June 2014 from Superior Court Judge David Irwin to the Rockdale County Finance Department stated, regarding the authority to operate accountability courts, "I have had conversations with Judge Charles Mays informing him that he does not have such authority and I would not assist him or his office in seeking funds for such an endeavor."

An invoice submitted by Pearson calculated she had worked 616 regular hours and 239 overtime hours, and included a trip to the North Carolina Veterans Court in June that was paid out of pocket for a total of $24,125. She was paid $4,420 through temp agency payments and one payment from the county.

The Probate Court had applied for a grant in 2013 from the Hospital Authority of Rockdale County for helping indigent residents pay for the fees to gain legal decision making powers for incapacitated adults, but that application was turned down.

No other grants were reportedly gained by the Probate Court, according to a county spokesperson.

Full Article & Source:
Probate judge troubles continue

Accountability court effort led to legal woes for Probate Court judge

CONYERS — An application for arrest warrants against a Rockdale County judge is directly linked to the judge’s effort to establish an accountability court — something he is not legally qualified to do.

The warrant application, filed in Superior Court on Monday by Freya Pearson, alleges that Probate Court Judge Charles K. Mays Sr. knew that he could not legally operate an accountability court but continued to employ her as a consultant on the project anyway. Pearson is alleging two counts of theft of services against Mays for failure to pay her nearly $20,000 in back wages.

Pearson, represented by Conyers attorney Michael Waldrop, also alleges that Mays committed two counts of theft by deception by using state and county money in pursuit of establishing an accountability court, again while knowing he could not legally run the court.

Mays did not respond to a Citizen request for comment about his efforts to establish an accountability court or about his eligibility to operate such a court.

Rockdale County’s Probate Court submitted an application for an accountability court grant to the state Criminal Justice Coordinating Council on March 25. The grant proposal requested nearly $360,000, which would have required a 10 percent local match. The grant request was ultimately denied.

According to the proposal, the funds would have been used to fund a full-time program coordinator position at $82,400; a part-time program assistant at $23,514 and a part-time community outreach employee at $22,131, in addition to supplies, furniture, travel, conferences, and contract services for surveillance and mental health services.

Pearson alleges that about two months after the grant application was filed — between May and June — Mays took her and another woman, who was not a Probate Court employee, to California “for the purported purpose of obtaining information for a mental health court and/or a veterans court …” Pearson claims that Mays used about $8,000 in funds from the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to fund the trip.

Pearson further alleges that she also traveled to North Carolina at Mays’ direction to observe a mental health court in action.

Pearson claims in the warrant application that Mays was advised by Chief Superior Court Judge David Irwin on two separate occasions — both before and after the five-day California trip — that Mays was “legally prohibited from operating either of those courts.”

A letter from Irwin to Rockdale County Finance Director Roselyn Miller, dated June 6, supports that allegation. In the letter, Irwin outlined the jurisdiction of the Probate Court in Rockdale County and stated, “In larger counties (population), probate judges have the authority to hold jury trials in certain cases. Rockdale County is not one of those counties.”

Full Article & Source: