Saturday, February 9, 2008

From TV to Prison

The American Outdoorsman TV Show had brought on a new Co-Host, award winning dog trainer and outdoor enthusiast, Kathy Simane.

It was reported that Kathy brought with her a passion for the great outdoors as well as training and competing in dog show events, such as in agility, obedience and hunt tests. Kathy earned a multitude of awards and recognition with her 6-year old black lab, Ashton, including winning first place at the Labrador Nationals at Purina Farms in October, 2003, and earning Ashtons Hunting Retriever title in 2004.
Source: Complete Video Productions Celebrates its 15th Anniversary of Producing the National Hunting & Fishing TV Show, The American Outdoorsman

On March 3, 2001, Helen Fabis, 87, was taken by ambulance to the Critical Care Unit of Memorial Community Hospital, Edgerton, profoundly confused, malnourished and in critical condition, and suffering form the effects of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. On March 8, 2001, Kathleen Simane, Aunt Helen's grandniece, was appointed her Temporary Guardian. In less than 54 days of Simane's tenure, Simane spent all of Aunt Helen's life savings (bank accounts, SS checks, proceeds from sale of stocks, cash), in excess of $75,000.

Source: NASGA - Wisconsin Victim

Helen Fabis, died in April 2001. Helen's great-niece Kathleen Simane was temporary guardian while Helen was sick and was personal representative of the estate after Helen's death. Simane was charged in Rock County Court with taking more than $72,000 from Helen's bank accounts before Helen died. Simane also is accused of using a fake insurance letter to convince Jean Glowacki, who was Helen's sister and Simane's grandmother, to sign over a $3,356 life insurance check.
Source: Woman charged with stealing from ill aunt's bank accounts

Kathleen Simane, a court-appointed guardian, used her position to steal more than $75,000 from her dying great-aunt, Helen Fabis of Edgerton. Simane, of St. Paul, Minn., who spent money on a car and breast augmentation, was caught and sentenced to two years in prison, extended supervision and $78,289 in restitution to the Fabis estate.
Source: Elder abuse: A silent shame

See also:
Woman Guilty Of Taking $75K From Elderly Aunt

Woman Sentenced For Gutting Elderly Aunt's Estate

Minnesota Woman Sentenced for Theft


Attorney General Lautenschlager announces Minnesota woman convicted in elder financial abuse case

Case Details: Rock County Case Number 2005CF000301

Case Summary: State of Wisconsin vs. Kathleen A Simane

Charge History: State of Wisconsin vs. Kathleen A Simane

Friday, February 8, 2008

Know Films on Conservatorship

Elder Abuse - Easy Money Preview

Elder Abuse-Easy Money Preview II

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Guardianship Motto



Take the Estate!

Sent from a NASGA member

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Guarding the Guardians

Guarding the Guardians: Promising Practices for Court Monitoring
Research Report
Naomi Karp, J.D., AARP Public Policy Institute
Erica F. Wood, American Bar Association
December 2007

Court-appointed guardians step into the shoes of at-risk adults with cognitive impairments, making judgments about medical care, property, living arrangements, lifestyle and potentially all personal and financial decisions. Court monitoring of these guardians is essential to ensure the welfare of incapacitated individuals, detect abuses and sanction guardians who demonstrate malfeasance.
Despite a dramatic strengthening of statutory standards in recent years, judicial monitoring practices vary substantially by jurisdiction. This AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) Research Report by Naomi Karp (PPI) and Erica Wood (American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging) describes methods for helping courts protect some of our society's most vulnerable people. Through site visits to exemplary courts, the authors have identified promising approaches that can be replicated by courts around the country.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Guardianship Reform

Some information on guardianship reform from Mass Lawyers Weekly:

A recent series in The Boston Globe revealed numerous problems with guardianship cases in Massachusetts. Many of the examples were rather chilling indicators that the very system that is supposed to help the elderly can often hinder them in cruel ways. Lawyers know that this is an area ripe for reform, although it would be counterproductive to scapegoat any one interested party.

Probate & Family Court judges frequently are faced with difficult decisions in cases in which an elderly or incapacitated person may be at risk because of mental or physical incapacities. If that person has no family member or friend who can assist, there is the painful question as to who will stand up for the individual. As such, decisions on elder guardianships are not made lightly by judges. However, judges are not authorized by statute, or otherwise, to appoint counsel in guardianship cases, except in rare instances. And budget restrictions limit a judge's ability to appoint guardians ad litem in all cases. Instead, GALs are appointed only in cases in which problems are identified. Further, only limited funding is available for individuals who are willing to serve in the role of a guardian.

Judges share the common goal that better due process protections need to be built into Massachusetts guardianships, and, in fact, efforts are under way to reform the way guardianships are handled here. One major reform would be the revision of the medical certificate that must accompany a guardianship petition. The new certificate would require details of the elder's actual functionality. The revised medical document places the possibility of a limited guardianship at the forefront of any analysis of whether an individual who is alleged to be incapacitated is in need of guardianship.

Efforts are also under way by the court to provide greater instruction to guardians about their role and responsibilities. Written guidelines would be provided, and an educational video is being considered as well. The court has further been a staunch supporter of Article V of the Massachusetts Probate Code, which provides for significant reform in the guardianship area. While the Uniform Probate Code is being considered by the Legislature, the court is revising its petition for guardianship to require more information about the relationship of the petitioner to the ward, where the ward resided before the petition was filed, and the address where the elder is to reside if the guardianship is granted.

Guardianship reform is long overdue. If anything, lawyers and judges have attempted to deal with the shortcomings of the existing statutory scheme with as many creative solutions as they have been able to devise. Lawyers routinely assist the court by taking on the role of guardian or guardian ad litem for little or no fee. Judges are typically thoughtful and diligent in dealing with guardianship issues. But, undoubtedly, there are changes that should be made to improve the rights of potential wards and to streamline review of the actions of guardians. Only then will the process be fair to all.

Source: Mass Lawyers Weekly: Guardianship reform is overdue

Gov. Deval L. Patrick’s top adviser on elder affairs has thrown the administration’s support behind a far-reaching revamp of the system by which guardians are appointed in Probate & Family Court. Elder Affairs Secretary Michael Festa pushed for the overhaul, telling the Judiciary Committee that a pair of bills includes the necessary checks and balances for guardianship appointments that currently are not in place, such as permission for judges to appoint legal counsel for the person at the center of the case.

Probate & Family Court Chief Judge Paula M. Carey said that guardianship reform is “long overdue.” She asked lawmakers, if they pass legislation to give the court six month’s lead-time for the training of lawyers, staff and judges. Several attorneys have raised budget concerns, arguing that the legal counsel provision is potentially an “unfunded mandate.” Some who testified before the Judiciary Committee said they support guardianship reforms but oppose other aspects of the bill, including provisions dealing with a uniform probate code, estate administration and surviving-spouse’s shares.

In the guardianship section, referred to as Article V in the Senate version, the bills remove the standard for “mental illness, “ create a new standard for “incapacitated person, “ require the court to make detailed findings of incapacity before appointing a guardian and then ensure the guardian is qualified. Guardians would also have to submit detailed annual reports on the person’s mental, social and physical conditions.

Source: Mass Lawyers Weekly: Push on for reform of guardianship

Information on guardianships: Massachusetts Senior Citizens

Monday, February 4, 2008

Bad News for Britney

The latest guardianship news is about Britney Spears. It is reported that Britney has been placed in a California conservatorship where her finances are now being controled by her father and an attorney.

A court creates a conservatorship when it concludes a person no longer can care for him/herself or his/her personal and financial affairs.

More information on Britney's case:

Spears' parents go to court for conservatorship hearing

Spears' dad has temporary control

Psych ward extending Spears' stay 2 weeks

Spears' father retained as conservator

Britney Spears objects to father’s conservatorship

The war over Britney’s conservatorship begins today!