National Association to STOP Guardian Abuse
For immediate release
May 4, 2009
For more information contact:
NASGA Media Liaison
May is Older Americans Month
In this month dedicated to older Americans, NASGA focuses attention on an ironic form of abuse perpetrated on our elderly and vulnerable citizens by uncaring or corrupt judges:
A frequent complaint from our members regarding judicially-directed guardianships / conservatorships is that Durable Powers of Attorneys and other advance directives are frequently ignored: the issue is not raised by court or counsel; and no evidentiary hearings are held regarding execution and validity. Note: A properly executed Durable Power of Attorney would obviate the need for "protective" proceedings, or be sufficient grounds for dismissal of any such proceedings previously initiated.
Consequently, persons who have taken every legal step possible to protect themselves in their old age, do not have peace of mind and assurance that their wishes will be followed and that they won’t fall under the control of complete strangers appointed by the court instead; strangers who are given control over every aspect of their lives and property, with very little or no monitoring/oversight.
NASGA recommends videotaping of the signing and execution of a Durable Power of Attorney, Last Will and Testament, Trust documents and other advance directives, to prove validity of the document if challenged. Discussion should also be had with the drafting attorney to assure that should a guardianship issue arise in future, that he/she will testify in court as to the execution and validity of the document(s).