When retired librarian Jeanne Hamer needed help, the Denver probate court appointed a guardian who sold many of her belongings to himself and billed her hundreds of times for walking with her and reading poetry to her. And, as a protected person, she nearly starved to death.
A 50-year-old Denver man with early dementia and the AIDS virus engaged in unprotected sex while under a guardian's supervision. And after that, the Denver probate court heard nothing about him from his guardian for five years.
William Gostele and a female friend racked up $83,517 in expenses on behalf of his brother before the Denver probate court asked why a single, elderly man was paying for frequent plane flights and spending up to $1,300 a month for groceries.
Four years after a state audit found some Colorado guardians reported nothing about people they were appointed to protect, and that its courts inadequately reviewed reports that were filed, The Denver Post has learned that the state still cannot say how many of its most vulnerable residents are being protected in accordance with the law.
A review of Denver probate court records found that some clearly are not.
Despite a state law requiring each guardian of a ward's health and each conservator of a protected person's finances to file detailed yearly reports, many guardians reported nothing for five years.
• Expense reports showing a guardian kept ignoring a court order were not questioned for four years.
• The roster of wards currently protected by the courts includes people who have been dead for years.
• The state court system cannot tell how many guardians are informing judges about the people they're protecting because reporting methods vary from court to court.
• The probate system lacks standards and training for family members appointed to protect people no longer capable of making important decisions for themselves.
Full Article and Source:
Probate Court Rife With Lapses in Training, Oversight
Note: Cases 1-3 supplement this investigation and are posted below