Edward Abbott Ravenscroft said his faith helped him in the fight of his life. It was a fight against a guardian who was appointed by the court to protect him.
"It took me a lot of money, effort, 11 different court hearings to get rid of these people, " Ravenscroft said. "Bottom line is, it's all about the money."
The ABC15 Investigators found excessive fees are just one part of a major review into how Maricopa County probate court works.
The State Supreme Court ordered Judge Ann Timmer to head up that investigation.
"Are the fees excessive? Who's looking at that? What guidelines are there out there for judges to be able to be awarding or approving fees?"
These are just a few of the questions Judge Timmer wants covered in the task force reviewing probate court.
In Ravencroft's case, Sun Valley Group of Tempe was appointed conservator.
His attorney, Peter Williams, called the fees "excessively high" and "abnormal" at almost $12,000 a month going to Sun Valley Group and its attorneys to administer Ravencroft's finances.
"That doesn't include any care, any food, any shelter, any clothing, anything along those lines. That's simply the legal process of making sure there's a fiduciary in place. I've never seen a case like this," Williams said.
In another Sun Valley Group case we examined, all of Marie Long's $1.4 million estate was spent on her care. In one court hearing alone, we counted 12 attorneys representing various parties.
The ABC15 Investigators found other areas of potential conflicts of interest after speaking in-depth with many of the families involved. These issues are not part of the investigation into probate court.
For instance, probate attorneys are allowed to fill in as judges including attorneys who work for guardians. They could be making decisions on guardian issues like approving fees.
Another potential conflict of interest involves court investigators who help decide whether guardians are necessary.
The ABC15 Investigators uncovered that a contracted court investigator, Heather Frenette, is also part owner of Sun Valley Group.
Patti Gomes told us that Frenette investigated her mother's case. Then Frenette's company, Sun Valley Group became guardian.
"Everybody just hires an attorney, and they just start billing the estate! And nobody stops it," Patti said. "I mean its bizarreness going on. I had no input at all."
Attorneys claimed Patti's mother had a million dollar estate. Ravenscroft is an heir to Abbott laboratories. He's worth millions.
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Families Torn Apart, Financial Ruin and Extreme Toll, All Taking Place in a Maricopa Court