The elderly widow wasn’t asking for much. Just a little protection so she could live out her life as she’d planned.
So that she could go out to lunch with friends or buy a new hat or new teeth.
Instead, Marie Long was protected right into the poorhouse. In just four years, the woman who came into Probate Court with $1.3 million in assets was left penniless, her life savings sucked up by the very people appointed to watch over her — all as the judge looked on.
Or away, more likely.
As a result of what happened to Marie Long, laws were changed and reforms were enacted in the hope of better protecting the most vulnerable among us.
All that is, except for Marie.
Now, at long last — and with no thanks to the courts —Marie Long, at 92, has a little of her own back.
Marie had no children to look after her in her old age. Her daughter died of cancer long ago at age 16. The following year, her 20-year-old son was killed in Vietnam. When her husband, Cliff, died in 2003, Marie was in good financial shape.
But a stroke in 2005 and a family dispute over where and how she would live landed Marie under the “protection” of Maricopa County’s Probate Court.
By 2009, her $1.3 million estate was gone, much of it sucked up by attorneys and fiduciaries under the not-so-watchful eye of then-Commissioner Lindsay Ellis.
Ellis ruled that those attorneys and fiduciaries were justified in helping themselves to more than $1 million of Marie’s money. She lambasted Marie’s lawyers — Kitchel, Pat Gitre and Marie’s nephew Dan Raynak, people who for years volunteered their services to help Marie as her accounts dwindled.
Ellis wrote that their “venomous” attacks challenging the six-figure bills forced the fiduciaries and lawyers on the other side to defend themselves.
With Marie’s money, naturally.
Full Article and Source:
Widow ‘protected’ into the poorhouse gets some of her money back (finally)
(NOTE: NASGA worked directly with CBS in 2010 on the report listed below.)
CBS Evening News- Guardianship Agency Costs Elderly Woman Dearly