Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Warning: Guardianship Can Take A Toll On Advisor’s Psyche

There are favors a financial advisor can safely do for a client or a client’s family without a second thought.

Becoming a guardian is not one of them.

“Becoming a guardian is not a role to be accepted without a considerable amount of thought no matter how well you know the person or his or her family,” said Sally Hurme, author of several books on guardianship for AARP and the American Bar Association.

The danger is not being threatened with fines or jail for alleged or real misdeeds. Chances of that happening are slim because court oversight of guardians tend to be frail and the individual being protected is usually too weak of body and mind to complain to the authorities.

Instead, the hazard for a financial advisor taking on the responsibilities of guardianship is being swept up in a whirlwind of uncertainties, unfamiliar duties and family feuds.

Even something as seemingly simple as getting the bank records of the senior under a court-approved guardianship arrangement may not be simple.

With a court order, getting the records may take two minutes at one bank and two days at another, said Hurme, a lawyer who once served as the public member of the CFP Board’s Discipline and Ethics Commission.

Her advice: go to a branch manager. Don’t ask a teller.

She cautioned that if the senior is running out of money, a court can reduce the fee a guardian gets.

One often aggravating and time-consuming duty the courts often don’t compensate a guardian for: hours on the phone and in meetings with family members at each other’s throats.

The starting point for becoming a financial guardian (called guardian of the estate or a conservator) or having full responsibilities for an incapacitated individual (guardian of the person) is the courts.

And that is where the problems often begin.

“One of the problems is the duties of a guardian and oversight can vary widely even locally. Even in a single county one judge may not check a guardian’s annual reports, another judge might require a lot of documentation of a guardian’s activities and have an auditor,” said Brenda Uekert, director of the Center for Elders and the Courts of the National Center for State Courts.  (Click to Continue)

Full Article & Source:
Warning: Guardianship Can Take A Toll On Advisor’s Psyche


Betty said...

Financial advisors are supposed to make money, not take it.

Terry said...

I am surprised unscrupulous financial advisors don't want their piece of the pie. I also wonder if any financial advisors are guardians.