Thursday, August 9, 2012


We at ProbateSharks continue to have concerns about OBRA Special Needs Pooled Trusts. OBRA Trusts were created to allow people who have special needs to qualify for Medicaid by depositing their money into these trusts. The intention of these trusts was to preserve estates of disabled people by allowing them to qualify for public aid nursing homes while preserving their estate for their special needs.

Unfortunately, these trusts are being abused by certain guardians in Cook County. Elderly disabled people with large estates are being targeted for guardianships through unscrupulous methods including: Illegal removal of Powers of Attorney, deceit of the elderly by owners of guardianship companies, and inaccurate medical reports being submitted into court records to make the elderly appear to be disabled with dementia. Once the rich elderly disabled person becomes a ward of the court, the unscrupulous guardians place the wards' estates into OBRA trusts, place the ward into for-profit Medicaid-funded nursing homes, and then deplete the estate through guardian fees, care management fees, and attorneys fees.

In other words, OBRA Trusts are being used by some to financially exploit the elderly disabled while profits are obtained for the guardians, attorneys, case managers, and for-profit nursing home owners. This is being done at the expense of the wards, and the taxpayers in the state of Illinois.

In June of this year, Governor Quinn signed Senate bill 2840, which became Public Act 97-0689.It is called the Save Medicaid Access and Resources Together (SMART) Act. Its impact is anything but friendly to Illinois seniors, especiallly those who are wards of the 18th floor of the Daley Center.

Unlike the January 1st rules changes, which were driven by federal laws, these new rules changes are almost entirely due to the well-known Illinois budget problems. The new law cuts $1.6 billion from the Medicaid budget, primarily by modifying eligibility requirements and benefits.

The biggest change made by SMART is the elimination of Pooled Payback trusts (also called OBRA d(4)(c) special needs trusts) in Medicaid planning for those over the age of 65, UNLESS THEY ARE WARDS OF THE STATE OR PUBLIC GUARDIAN!!!

Full Article and Source:


Anonymous said...

It looks like another way of fiduciaries protecting assets for their benefit, not their ward's.

Kyle said...

I remember back in the early 90's, everybody was pushing trusts, but I didn't trust them and it turns out I was right.

Sue said...

I guess this is good news bad news a new law signed by Governor Quinn. Trusts and special needs trusts were being used by wealthy people to 'hide' their assets for their heirs.

Well that sounds like a nice thing to do for 'their' heirs but this scheme isn't positive for me.

This hide and seek method has gone on far too long and personally I am offended and outraged.

Hiding assets to qualify for public assistance has impacted our State of Illinois and the Medicaid system to the point of disaster while the working people the taxpayers are taxed to death and we're still in the RED.

This new law is risky in that the scouts and headhunters (yes the protection industry is well oiled machine, probate club has people looking for potential future WARDS OF THE STATE) desperate for WARDS to fund the OBRA's.

Believe me they, the scouts on the lookout for potential WARDS are everywhere: hospitals, senior clubs, banks, free lunch seminars with financial planners, at the funeral parlor, everywhere while some are reading obituaries looking for vulnerable widows and widowers.

Guardianship churns people into products; it is big busness, it's about income, jobs and future income for all the individuals who profit when a person is declared a ward of the state that triggers an avalanche of billing with legs into others who bill fees for 'services'.

We are talking about serious money here with promise of the baby boomers at the courthouse door.

My advice is take action NOW, today immediately to protect yourself from becoming a WARD OF THE STATE of ILLINOIS or we'll be reading about you here at the NASGA victims page and blog.

Anonymous said...

Most definitely this law has created the potential for more people to be disuaded into believing they should fork over their POAs and switch to guardianships instead.

I hope the lawmakers realize what a potential now exists for more unjust guardianships.....

It is appalling that those who have abused the OBRA trusts to their profit are now the only ones able to continue to use this trust. Am I the only one seeing something really wrong with this picture?

Anonymous said...

So, this article says :

We not only feel that bill 2840 will negatively impact senior citizens who need it, we at ProbateSharks are appalled that those who unethically profit from OBRAs (guardians, attorneys, case managers, and owners of for-profit Medicaid nursing homes) will be allowed to continue their modus operandi for financially exploiting the elderly disabled wards of the 18th floor of the Daley Center in Cook County, Illinois.

We at ProbateSharks are also concerned because those with Powers of Attorneys (POA) in place may now be encouraged to go through guardianship proceedings so they may qualify for an OBRA trust. This unnecessary switch from a POA will result in the total elimination of all rights of the disabled once the guardianship is established, and will serve to further drum up business for the unethical bottom-feeding attorneys, judges, guardians, care managers, and nursing home owners who make a profit through expensive guardianships which deplete entire estates of the elderly disabled wards.

This is unbelievable....the question is, who lobbied for this? The answer may just point to the heart of the corruption in Cook County....

Anonymous said...

I've noticed law firms advertising guardianship services with no mention about POWER OF ATTORNEY services.

Any wonder why? No profit in POA'S. Our attorney told us lawyers love guardianships it's very profitable. Nothing wrong with people earning a living but and this is a big but good intentioned people will get sucked into the guardianship system thinking they have no choice believing it's the only way to take care of a parent or parents.

Good intentioned people retain a lawyer, they file petition for guardianship then the court will appoint someone else, could be a lawyer, a professional guardian or guardian service or a 'front' family member and the petitioner is stunned - what the _____ happened?

Once a guardianship case is established the chance of getting it revoked, reversed, changes is slim to zero. The only way to close a guardianship case is when the ward dies and then think about this some guardianship and conservatorship cases are still open years later! What's up with that? Hmmmmm fiduciaries using and abusing the court system why? To enrich themselves with billing? Hiding wrongdoing? Or worse.

People who have not experienced this personally might think those of us who are commenting here are cynical, untrusting and yes we are because we were blindsided and we have a reason why we want to spare you the pain that changes your life.

We are reading with eyes wide open because we know how this really works and are hoping those who haven't been affected pay close attention to what is waiting for them and their loved ones.

Anonymous said...

I've personally reviewed MANY court records and court watched for MAY cases, including cases of the Cook County Public Guardian.

The judges on the 18th floor of the Daley Center in Chicago hand out OBRAs to the guardians like they are candy. No questions are asked regarding how it will impact the ward as they will need to be immediately moved into a public aid nursing home, which will be MUCH less desirable, WITHOUT outings into the community, etc.

All done so "certain" nursing home owners and their fellow crooks can profit.

It is sickening. How did this law get passed to give license to the crooks to continue to exploit the disabled and the taxpayers??

Anonymous said...










Anonymous said...

So, who owns these nursing homes that receive the newly-obra-cized wards?

Who are the players on these cases? The same ones who describe family members as "a Freddy Krueger type" or "a slovenly one?"

The judges who allow these unscrupulous guardians and attorneys to exploit the disabled as they approve their requests (no questions asked) for OBRAs and moves to public aid facilities are as guilty as the ones who directly pocket the profits they obtain once the ward is Obracized.

What was the State of IL thinking? What was the Governor thinking? Who brought this law forward, and why. What is the connection of the Public Guardian, who OBRA-cizes 65% of their wards?

So many unanswered questions.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, NASGA and Probate Sharks for bringing to light this new law, IL Senate Bill 2840, which was signed by Governor Quinn.

Talk about well-oiled machines to exploit the elderly and disabled in Cook County IL.

And so, the Medicaid Fraud and Abuse continues.....

jerri said...

i agree with good news bad news here the power of attorny issue needs to be pushed even though that is risky if the agent has a criminal mind but guardianship well we know how that works when the person is stripped of all right and all they own in one minute found guilty of being incapacitated incompetent or physically disabled geee that could be 1/4 of the population i heard more than half of us are overweight and with that comes diabetes and physical limitations and in illinois permanent or temporary physcial disabilities is all it takes to be guardianized and try to get out of it when you are on the mend and mended it won't happen once they gotcha they ain't letting go until your dead and cremated yes cremated and many times the family isn't notified you're dead what a system and there will be 71 million boomers do the math folks boomers look in the mirror see the $ sign on your forehead?

StandUp said...

Good information from Probate Sharks! Thank you for posting, NASGA.

B Inberg said...

Very intersing compilation of comments and arguments pro and con it's always good when there is an opportunity to voice your opinion to be heard.

The light side needs to hear about the dark side.

We the people, we the taxpayers, we who pay their salaries must have a voice that speaks for us.

Who will do that in Springfield? Please step up we need you.

BEWARE: There is a very dark secretive side to guardianships and it must STOP, now.

Holly said...

My physically healthy, 76 yr. old mother was domiciled and resided in Pennsylvania with Advance Directives in place when she took a trip to Florida. It has been 5 yrs now and she has never returned. WHY??? Because she fell prey to Officer's of the Volusia County Florida Court including Professional Guardian, Jetta L. Getty owner of Young at Heart Elderly Services in Port Orange FL.

Mother's approx. $470,000.00 estate was converted into legal fees, guardian fees, rent and drug charges among other plunder in less than 5 years. Based on documents Getty filed in Volusia County Court, it appears our mother is now supported by the the Florida tax payers regardless of the documented FACTS that mother was a PA domicile, she had a beautiful home to live in PA and she wanted to return home.

Florida tax payers should be outraged demanding accountability!

About a year ago Getty petitioned for and received a Court Order to put mother's guaranteed for life $3,500.00 per month into an OBRA Pooled Trust to qualify her for medicaid allowing the guaradian fees and attorney fees to continue! Makes me sick that there is no accountability... the FACTS are in the court record but wait... They ALL get paid from her estate so why would they let her go home to her PA domicile and family?

Not one of the Officers of that FL Court involved in this case and being paid from mother's estate, EVER told the Court that mother was just visiting! Couldn't make that kind of money telling the whole truth could they??

Currently Jetta Getty has our mother in an undisclosed location refusing to tell us where she is.

Any questions, contact me at:

Anonymous said...

Hiding the wards is a tactic used in order to keep evidence of the treatment off the radar.

Case after case yet no one will take any action why?

Campaign contributions? Lobbyists? Special interest groups?

B Inberg is right we the taxpayers pay for this yet we have no voice in the matter and think about this there are more of us in numbers than there are those who profit from us and our loved ones who have enough cash and income to self-pay for our care without the government dictating.

Anonymous said...

Your story is so sad. Have you tried to report for Medicare or Medicaid fraud? That may be easier to bust and result in disclosure of your mom's location.

Who owns the nursing home where she was originally placed? That may help you identify a pipeline to other nursing homes where she may be.

You may also want to call every nursing home in the area and ask for your mom by name... Don't ask if she lives there, just say "I'd like to talk to..."

If she's not there, they may say we have no one here by that she is there, they may say something like she is not taking calls----but it might confirm her location.

Anonymous said...

A side effect of the new "SMART" law. My father was in the process of having an attorney setup an OBRA trust and medicaid application, as he had advanced Alzheimers and was running out of money due to long-term care expenses. Once the law passed, the attorney could not proceed with the application and then put it on hold until he had completely spent down his remaining cash. My father since passed away. The attorney, of course, kept all the fees as the contract allowed, even though no application or trust was ever completed. Yes, though apparently no fault of the attorney, assuming they did not know the changes were coming, this law legally robbed my father and his estate of nearly $10,000. As far as I'm concerned, it is another case of lawyers helping other lawyers take money from those who cannot afford to lose it. On one positive note, at least the attorney did not pressure us to setup a guardianship, though it was presented as an option at one point.

Anonymous said...

One can only ask why the Cook County Public Guardian went to Springfield to vigorously lobby for their continued use of OBRAs for their wards...

Anonymous said...

I hope that appropriate agencies look into this issue... My loved one is a ward of the Cook County Probate Court; she had VA and Social Security benefits that would have covered 2/3 of the cost of a beautiful assisted living facility; her home equity would have paid the remainder.. She had a 10 year plan in place, but it was thwarted by a court-appointed guardian. The guardian place her entire estate into an OBRA account, which mandated an immediate move into a public aid facility. Her VA benefits were handled inappropriately by this facility (Asbury Court in DesPLaines). The entire estate went to the guardian; my loved one is in a public aid facility, with not so much as one outing in the 7 years she has been a ward of the court. Such an exploitation of Medicaid and VA benefits, with a devastating outcome for the ward....