Saturday, March 29, 2008

Florida's Probate Mill

In 1995, the St. Petersburg Times won a Pulitzer Prize for an editorial investigation called Final Indignities. This powerful four-part series exposed flaws in Florida’s probate system and detailed ways in which estates are mishandled by lawyers and executors.

In 2008, there does not seem to be much, if any improvement in the probate system throughout the United States.

Final Indignities by Jeffrey Good, staff writer:

1. Broken Promises
Floridians should be able to face death trusting the legal system to carry out their last wishes. But we found that, too often, the trust is broken.

2. Broken Trusts
You've heard the sales pitch: Living trusts are the best way to escape the "horrors of probate." Simply sign a trust and, after you die, every dime of your estate will automatically pass to chosen friends, family and charities. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Too bad it's a lie.

3. Forgotten Victims
After seeing lawyers plunder their inheritances, victims of estate rip-offs suffer again when the legal system leaves them empty-handed.

4. The Road to Reform
An 86-year-old man left a gift for his family, only to have it stolen. A crowd of senior citizens sought guidance on living trusts, only to be hoodwinked. The heirs of looted estates heard promises of repayment, only to be forgotten.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Husband Held Captive

My husband Gary E. Harvey, age 55, suffered a tragic accident leaving him severely brain injured. As his wife and sole advocate, I’m fighting to ensure he gets the best possible care and quality of life. We have been abused and taken advantage of by Chemung County, CCNF, APS, DSS, Attorneys, and Supreme Court.

I pray that Gary has a full recovery. A man who served his country should not be treated this way! No matter what, I want him home where he’ll be loved, safe, and properly cared for.

The County is divorcing me from my husband and holding him prisoner.

All they care about is money. I only count when it comes to keeping health insurance on Gary and paying the bills; an obligation - not a WIFE. We are not rich and don’t want to see our home and all we worked our entire lives for, taken by the county.

While in Chemung County Nursing Facility-CCNF, Gary lost weight, teeth, and suffered black eyes. He laid in bile & feces, had defective feeding tubes left unattended, and received less than adequate oral care. All this with no justifiable reason as to how or why it happened. His tongue is like coarse sandpaper; his bottom lip is half gone due to their lack of compassion and aggressive behavior. During the time I was assisting with his care, he did not have any of these issues. The facility fails to mail or notify me of incident reports regarding accidents where he has received cuts, bruises, etc.

Adult Protective Service-APS restricts visitation to family (only) ... which means no friends; so he has only me. I feel harassed by staff when they prevent me from taking him out of his room for a change of scenery. I have also been instructed not to kiss or hug my husband. The list is endless. We lost all spousal rights; and my husband is being treated beneath the dignity of an animal rather than a human being.

My husband is a very strong man, a fighter who would not want me to give up on his recovery; nor have I. He has beaten many obstacles and tragedies in his life and I will never stop fighting to help him beat this one. I feel the more stimulation he has, the better his outcome will be. I am all he has and will do anything for him. I do not treat him as if something is wrong which adds to his confusion. Gary needs love - not mystery and abuse.

Source: NASGA

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Judicial Immunity

The case of Daniel Gross that was filed to hold the judge, the conservator, the court appointed attorney, the ombudsman, and the state responsible for their actions, was turned down in federal court even though Gross was held a prisoner, locked up, denied all rights, isolated, and drugged against his will.

See: From Hospital, to Locked Ward, to Civil Action

The case was turned down on "Judicial Immunity."

A previous judge who freed Daniel Gross on a writ of habeas corpus and terminating the conservatorship had stated: "A terrible miscarriage of justice has happened here."

See: NASGA - Great Escapes

Welcome to Connecticut --- Where any probate judge and court can apparently get away with taking your loved one against their will and doing whatever they want to them.

Guardianship and Conservatorship is an organized crime that is apparently protected all the way to the federal bench.

Wake up, you could be the next victim!!!

See also:

Monday, March 24, 2008

Unwanted Guardianship

Norman Baker is an American hero who has been detained against his will for more than three years.

His "crime": owning too much property. 

His sentence: a court-appointed guardianship on the brink of costing him everything he spent his life building.

His rights in this case: virtually none, significantly less in many ways than an actual law-breaking criminal. 

His future if this continues: long-term de facto imprisonment, followed by abject poverty, if he has anything left at all. 

Facts as reported:

He has been stripped of his right to vote and access to his own assets, which appear to have been well in excess of $1 million as little as three years ago.

Until he was placed in a nursing home against his will by the court-appointed attorney he is trying to reject, Norman Baker owned and managed two dozen rental properties, many of which he designed and built himself. He also owned a 33-acre farm, with four horses, an array of tractors and other heavy farm implements, a carefully preserved century-old barn, a restored farmhouse from which he drew steady rental income, and a 3,000-square-foot brick home, which he also designed and built.

Norman Baker also had some $250,000 in cash and liquid investments above and beyond his real estate holdings. He rented his properties and lived a quiet, private life.

Today, without writing a check or using a credit card or making a single bad investment, Norman Baker has less than $20,000 in cash.

Baker's court-appointed guardian was recently more than six months late in providing the court with a report on the status of Norman’s assets.

Robert Baker (brother) also charges that the attorney appointed by the court to be his brother's guardian sold his own personal antique tractor---inherited from his father---from his brother Norman's farm, and has never accounted for the proceeds.

Norman Baker's farm has also been stripped of many of its accouterments without a full accounting.

Norman Baker has continuously requested that he have input in to the property management of his estate. But he has been ignored.

At one point in his involuntary guardianship, a medical examiner hired at Norman's expense found him competent and recommended that he no longer need a guardian. But the attorney running Baker's guardianship refused to surrender control of Norman’s assets.

A Harvard-trained medical examiner has repeatedly tested Baker, who just turned 80. This doctor, whose most recent examination has been videotaped, has consistently found Baker competent to manage his own affairs and to hire his own professional help.

More than a year ago, a physician for the nursing home where Norman has been confined recommended that he be given an immediate discharge to the community. Baker walks three miles a day inside the home, and does his own laundry. He is dependent on no medications.

Judge Williams has repeatedly refused to vacate the guardianship.

Full Article and Source: How an unwanted guardianship cost a firefighter his freedom and his fortune

See also: Interview with Norman