Saturday, July 6, 2013

Bryan Rosen: Conservatorships in Santa Barbara

We can’t even grow older anymore and live in dignity.  Too many older persons are put under conservatorship, and have their human rights stripped away.  Great concern is expressed for their welfare, particularly when they happen to have money.

I know a man named Jack (changed for privacy reasons).  Five years ago, he was put under conservatorship because he was a binge drinker.  A professional conservator was hired. It was conservatorship of the estate – in other words – the money that was established. No conservatorship of the person was created.   
He was given medications by his doctor, some for dementia, others to pacify him.  He refused to take them, which is his right.  (He has a history of being anti-drug, except for alcohol.)  Were his wishes honored?  No.  Since he wouldn’t take the drugs, they’ve been put in his food.  Some are antipsychotic medications like Saroquel….
~Bryan Rosen

2001 Then…2013 Now and a "System" still allowing people to work the scam called Guardianship!


Friday, July 5, 2013

Woman wins award against group home in conservatorship case

A woman who was placed in a conservatorship without her knowledge has won a $23,050 award from a Sumner County court against a group home that put her to work caring for other residents while she was paying an $850 a month fee.

In a four-page ruling Circuit Court Judge C.L. Rogers ruled that Ginger Franklin of Hendersonville, who was recovering from head injuries, was the victim of “egregious and intentional abuse” while she was confined at a Nashville facility run by Salim Homes.

In the ruling, Rogers concluded that Franklin suffered “mental anguish of grief and worry” when she was forced to provide care for other disabled adults and perform cleaning duties for the owners of the group home.

Franklin was placed in a conservatorship on Aug. 25, 2008, after she fell at her Nashville condominium and suffered a brain injury. She was placed in a conservatorship by Davidson Probate Judge David “Randy” Kennedy and then county Public Guardian Jeanan Stuart was named as her conservator.

Stuart, who has since been removed from the post, placed Franklin at Salim Homes at 509 Phipps Drive in Nashville after she was released from an Illinois rehabilitation facility. Franklin eventually was released from the conservatorship in December of 2010.

In the ruling issued earlier this week, Rogers concluded that Franklin and other disabled residents of Salim Homes “were used to clean business properties and provide care for disabled adults” and also to clean the personal residences of the group home’s owners.

“Plaintiff had no success in contacting her conservator,” Rogers wrote, adding that Franklin “had reasonable fear and worry she could be put out for not cooperating, saying ‘No’ or objecting, she would have no place to go.”

Rogers wrote that it was the duty of Salim Homes “to provide care for these disabled adults. It was not to work a mentally dysfunctional, disabled adult and use them as free labor.”

As the ruling noted, Franklin was being charged $850 a month while at the group home.

Full Article and Source:
Woman wins award against group home in conservatorship case

Kathleen Mae Littleton Sentenced For Financial Exploitation Of A Senior

A Salisbury woman will spend two months in jail after being convicted in Wicomico County Circuit Court on Tuesday of felony financial exploitation of an elderly woman under her care.

During the trial of 68-year-old Kathleen Mae Littleton, the state presented evidence that she had used her influence as a caretaker for the victim's daughter to influence the victim, who was 88 years of age at the time and unable to care for her daily needs, into appointing Littleton as her power of attorney and to name Littleton in the victim's will.

Court documents show that a variety of sitters who had worked for the victim made statements to Detective Jen Barnes of the Salisbury Police Department of threats made by Littleton to the victim that if the victim did not do as Littleton requested, Littleton would put the victim in a nursing home.

Witnesses told police that Littleton began firing sitters whom she believed were getting emotionally too close with the victim and once fired would not permit them to have any contact with the victim, not even by telephone. The victim's own daughter was not permitted to have unsupervised contact with the victim, court records showed. Witnesses also indicated that the victim was not permitted to make telephone calls without first getting approval from Littleton.  One sitter was fired, she told police, because she had taken the victim for medical care without first getting approval from Littleton.  Another sitter was fired for taking the victim to watch baseball games as an outing for the victim, according to court documents.

Full Article and Source:
Kathleen Mae Littleton Sentenced For Financial Exploitation Of A Senior

Beware the Financial Abuse of Psychologically Vulnerable Seniors

A new study advises clinical gerontologists to be aware that psychologically vulnerable seniors are at risk of financial exploitation.

Researchers at Wayne State University, in collaboration with Illinois Institute of Technology, discovered financial exploitation of the elderly is on the rise.

This exploitation, which includes telemarketing scams, fake home repairs, fake check scams, identity theft and more, costs approximately $3 billion each year.

Experts say the research is unique with the listing of factors that predict exposure to financial fraud or victimization. The study is also the first to review financial exploitation with a psychological-vulnerability perspective.

“This study illustrates how we can enhance our understanding of this major issue by performing a clinical analysis instead of one that stops at epidemiological or broad population-based reviews,” said Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D., lead author of the paper. “Those in the clinical study showed characteristics of extreme depression symptoms and perceived low social-status fulfillment, thus showing they were more vulnerable to the experience of theft of scams. “

The study included 4,440 participants.

Researchers discovered that among the 4,440 participants, those who were the most psychologically vulnerable – with the highest levels of depression and lowest levels of social-needs fulfillment — experienced higher levels of fraud compared to those who were not vulnerable psychologically.

“One of the most significant findings of our study was with the most psychologically vulnerable population,” said Lichtenberg. “The combination of high depression and low social-status fulfillment was associated with a 226 percent increase in fraud prevalence in this population.

Full Article and Source:
Beware the Financial Abuse of Psychologically Vulnerable Seniors

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thoughts and Wishes for Mary Sykes

This is RM1461, day one thousand, four hundred and sixty one (four years) of trying to rescue Mary G. Sykes from the broken guardianship system she finds herself locked in.

I had the good fortune to see Mary a week ago.  You Neighbors, Friends and Family of Mary Sykes will be very pleased to know that she was very talkative, happy for the attention, constantly asked if Gloria was there to take her home, if she had a home (the Guardian sold it in April) very, very appreciative and a little surprised to know that people are still trying to get her released from the financial exploitation, control and isolation she is in.

For those of you not familiar with the basics of this case, it's simple:  four years ago the future guardian  realized correctly that due to her own inappropriate actions,  she was going to lose either 50% of her anticipated inheritance or 100% of it.  The expediency was to avoid both by guardianizing her mother.  It only took from June 30 to Dec 10.

So please, make a wish for rescue and justice or just raise a glass.  That is what Mary might suggest herself if she was ever given permission to call or receive calls.  It's been so long, Christmas Eve Dinner, 2009 ( and then only through the good graces of a Court Order)  since I and my mom were allowed to see Mary that I can't remember if Mary preferred red or white.

I have to say how much I admire this 94 year old Lady and how well she has held out against the odds she  faces. The same goes for those who have worked tirelessly and to keep the faith to help Mary.  You know who you are.

May everyone pray, wish for and support the day that Mary will soon be able to hold her daughter Gloria in her arms again.

I ask everyone give hope to each other on this 4th of July Independence Day, and hope Mary, unlike the last four years, will have her Independence of choice to be with her daughter Gloria and the rest of her loving family and friends and enjoy all the other blessings that are inherent in what Independence Day is meant to celebrate. 

Very sincerely,

Scott Evans

See Also:
Mary Sykes, Illinois Victim

Fighting Financial Abuse

The frustrations of financial abuse for the elderly received help from the Governor today.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed Senate Bill 102 to amend a section in the Hawaii Revised Statutes relating to the reporting of elderly financial abuse. The most significant change is for financial institutions to report possible abuse to state human services as well as county police. The original statute required reports only to human services. Immediately after receiving a report, police must begin a criminal investigation.

"It's gonna fill a gap that's really needed," Honolulu Police Department Lieutenant John McCarthy said. "We're seeing an explosion in elder financial fraud cases. It's really sad because these people lose real dollars. There's no one to replace it. There's nowhere to replace it. We have to get out to these complaints immediately to try and track the money and save or recover what's there."


After a case gets reported to the county police department, they then contact the prosecutor's office to work on the report and take it to trial. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott Spallina explained that these fraud incidents are not only originating in Hawai`i.

"Unfortunately we're seeing it everywhere," Spallina said. "It's not just a local crime. We have criminals coming from the mainland praying on our local victims here - our local kupuna - and taking the money out of state. It'd be one thing if they committed crimes here and the money stayed here but no, they're taking it out of state - not only to the mainland but also Nigeria - other countries where the law is not as strict as they are here."

Full Article and Source:
Fighting Financial Abuse

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Kids Go to Court for Their Dad

Imagine waking to an unfamiliar hospital-looking room. You recognize no one; you can't remember how you got there. Everyone you ask lies. No matter how logically you ask, they will not tell you why you've been imprisoned; but from the looks on their faces, you begin to fear you will never get out. You will die here.

This is not a Kafkaesque torture scene. It is happening here in America, to my 87-year old father. He, and five and a half million other Americans, has Alzheimer's.

Growing up in Rockford, in the '50s and early '60s, my Dad, Rod MacDonald, was well known in his trademark red beret as TV personality "Roddy Mac." The popular kid's show was just a side-line for Dad, as he also wrote, produced, and sold television and radio ads at WREX Channel 13; he was also an actor, a musician, a WW2 veteran, and typical Dad who did lots of chauffeuring and dispensing petty cash. He worked a lot, as all Dads did then, and he and our mother Virginia MacDonald were for decades, until Ginny's death of cancer in 1987, a driving force behind the inception and success of the Rockford theatre scene.

After Ginny died, Dad remarried and seemed happy. He and his wife continued to act, and travel occasionally to New York and Chicago to visit theatre friends and see shows. But his memory problems began to become apparent; he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

For a few years the disease did not seem to make that much of an impact on his daily life, although he did quit driving and later, going to the gym. Then a year ago, my sister began getting paid to stay with him during the day, while Dad's wife worked. Sarah and Dad did crosswords, drank coffee, sang songs, and took naps.

Then I heard Dad's wife was talking about putting him in a nursing home. My sister and I both offered to take dad home with us and care for him, but were told that wasn't feasible.

Within weeks, Dad was on the waiting list of the Illinois Veteran's Home in La Salle, Illinois, about two hours from Rockford. Sarah initiated a tour of the facility, which was not the awful B movie nightmare they'd imagined; the staff seemed caring and the facility modern and adequate. We were told Dad would adjust. We were told there were no restrictions on visiting: we would be able to take Dad out for a walk, a sandwich on a park bench, even on vacation if his doctor agreed.

But he was adamant he didn't want to go, he wanted to be with his family.

They all said leaving him there was awful. "It was the hardest thing I ever did," said his wife. "Don't leave me here, please," Dad cried.

Scott was shaken to the core by this scene. He thought back to helping to care for dad's own parents, in Madison in the 1970s. And Ginny, during her eight-year battle with cancer. Scott decided to step up.

My brother offered to quit his job and take Dad. We phoned and emailed with detailed plans for Dad's care. This is when I first heard that Dad had signed a POA -- or, Power of Attorney, giving the power of healthcare decisions to his wife.

What sounds like a perfectly reasonable idea has turned our dad into a virtual prisoner, a man with an ankle bracelet, a "resident," who is not allowed to talk to his own kids; a disenfranchised, income-producing ex-person, a man with no room of his own, who wonders what has become of his family; whose identity is gradually wiped away along with his civil rights.

In theory, a POA entrusts someone with one's healthcare decisions if you become incapacitated. In theory, your POA has your best interests at heart, and is bound to act in your behalf. But in our reality, we have found out that a POA can be a concrete wall,isolating patients from all contact with friends and family.

Full Article and Source:
Kids Go to Court for Their Dad

See Also:
Georgette Braun: Alzheimer’s tears at family of admired local actor

Commission on Judicial Performance weighing whether to discipline Contra Costa judge

SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Commission on Judicial Performance is deliberating whether to discipline Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Bruce Mills for allegedly abusing his power in the handling of his minor son's tobacco-possession case.
Mills, 55, is not facing removal from the bench but rather a public admonishment that would be his second such disciplinary action since he was appointed a judge in 1995.

The commission instituted formal proceedings against Mills in January over an off-the-record, in-chambers discussion about his son's case that he had with a pro tem commissioner at the Walnut Creek courthouse in October 2011.

Such communications in uncontested, juvenile matters are not illegal for the average person, but a commission examiner argued Wednesday that Mills "took advantage of his position as a judge" and created an appearance of accepting preferential treatment when he accepted an invitation to discuss his son's case without having gone through formal channels.

"We believe that a public admonishment would address the misconduct by Judge Mills in this matter," commission examiner Gary Schons, told a panel consisting of judges, attorneys and members of the public.

Full Article and Source:
Commission on Judicial Performance weighing whether to discipline Contra Costa judge

Banks Seen as Aid in Fraud Against Older Consumers

The pitch arrived, as so many do, with a friendly cold call.

Bruno Koch, 83, told the telemarketer on the line that, yes, of course he would like to update his health insurance card. Then Mr. Koch, of Newport News, Va., slipped up: he divulged his bank account information.
What happened next is all too familiar. Money was withdrawn from Mr. Koch’s account for something that he now says he never authorized. The new health insurance card never arrived.
What is less familiar — and what federal authorities say occurs with alarming frequency — is that a reputable bank played a crucial role in parting Mr. Koch from his money. The bank was the 140-year-old Zions Bank of Salt Lake City. Despite spotting suspicious activity, Zions served as a gateway between dubious Internet merchants and their marks — and made money for itself in the process, according to newly unsealed court documents reviewed by The New York Times.
The Times reviewed hundreds of filings in connection with civil lawsuits brought by federal authorities and a consumer law firm against Zions and another regional bank that has drawn even more scrutiny, First Bank of Delaware. Last November, First Delaware reached a $15 million settlement with the Justice Department after the bank was accused of allowing merchants to illegally debit accounts more than two million times and siphon more than $100 million.
The documents, as well as interviews with state and federal officials, paint a troubling picture. They outline how banks profit handsomely by collecting fees while ignoring warnings of potential fraud and, in some instances, enabling dubious merchants to prey on consumers.
Anyone, young or old, can be targeted by unscrupulous marketers. But for several reasons — financial worries, age, loneliness — older people are particularly vulnerable to what is known as mass market fraud, deceptive pitches that arrive by telephone, mail and the Internet.
The problems at Zions and First Delaware, where the banks became financial conduits and quiet enablers for questionable businesses, extend well beyond those two institutions, federal authorities say. Indeed, banks across the country, from some of the largest to smaller regional players, help facilitate billions of dollars of fraud each year, according to interviews with consumer lawyers and state and federal prosecutors.

Full Article and Source:
Banks Seen as Aid in Fraud Against Older Consumers

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Trial for ex-guardian Schend delayed for fourth time

APPLETON — The case against a former guardian who police say bilked hundreds of thousands of dollars from the disabled and elderly is now two years old — and in limbo.

Jeffrey M. Schend, 46, was scheduled to stand trial in August in Outagamie County court on 27 charges, including 15 felony theft counts. On Friday, Judge Gregory Gill took the trial off the calendar as attorneys continue to work through records of Schend’s financial dealings.

It was the fourth time Schend’s trial was postponed.

The defense is waiting to obtain Schend’s personal spreadsheets and compare them to the findings of a forensic accountant. Both sides said it’ll be a daunting task.

“You’re talking about thousands of transactions,” District Attorney Carrie Schneider said.
Ironically, Schend demanded a speedy trial in the earliest stages of the case.

His trial was first scheduled for September 2011, but a judge granted prosecutors a postponement to allow for accounting work. Trial dates were then scheduled in January, March and August of last year, but were delayed. The case also was set back when Schend changed attorneys.

His current attorney, Theresa Schmieder, said Friday that setting a new trial date is difficult because she doesn’t have all the evidence she needs to prepare. “From that point, I could be ready in 90 to 120 days,” she said.

Gill said he will hold a conference with attorneys in August to discuss the case.

Authorities say Schend took nearly $500,000 from his clients.

Guardians are appointed by courts to oversee assets when it is determined that individuals are unable to manage their finances. The investigation of Schend began after Outagamie County officials received complaints in late 2010 that bills weren’t being paid.

An accountant used banking records to piece together all of the money that came in and left Schend’s accounts through 2010.

Schend’s former business, JMS Guardianship Services, could have collected $51,000 in fees from his clients in 2010. His personal spending alone reached nearly $165,000 that year, records show. In addition to personal expenses in 2010, the accountant determined that Schend spent $84,000 on business-related expenses, or more than $33,000 in excess of his total possible business income.

Full Article and Source:
Trial for ex-guardian Schend delayed for fourth time

See Also:
More on Jeffrey Schend

Jeffrey Schend Revoked From Guardianship Practice

Civil and criminal penalties sought against Beaumont attorney

Beaumont attorney Alto Watson III is facing both criminal charges for burglary and possible disbarment for stealing from his former firm and client.

As previously reported, the Commission for Lawyer Discipline, an arm of the State Bar of Texas,
Alto Watson III
filed a disciplinary petition against Watson on May 31 in Jefferson County District Court.

According to the Beaumont Enterprise, on May 22 Watson was arrested for burglary of a habitation and family violence. He has since been indicted.

The commission’s petition says that from September 1998 through July 8, 2012, the Law Firm of

Gilbert T. Adams employed Watson. During his employment, the suit alleges Watson wrongfully billed clients separately for his services and personally accepted client funds meant for the firm, depositing the money in his personal accounts for his own use and benefit.

For example, the suit claims that on March 2, 2011, Mohd Ali hired the firm for representation in a suit styled Major League Grill Franchise vs. Azam Beaumont Enterprises. Ali agreed to pay the firm $10,000 — $5,000 of which Watson asked the client to pay directly to him. He deposited the funds into his personal account and failed to inform the firm, according to the lawsuit.

Full Article and Source:
Civil and criminal penalties sought against Beaumont attorney

Appellate justice is disciplined

For the first time in its 35-year history, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct has publicly disciplined an Appellate Division justice.

Nancy E. Smith, a justice of the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, in Rochester reportedly used her position to try to get an early release of a man in prison for vehicular manslaughter.

Smith was admonished for sending an unsolicited letter of support on behalf of an inmate she had never met who was applying for parole, said Commission Administrator Robert H. Tembeckjian.

Admonishment is the mildest form of judicial discipline.

Smith has 30 days to accept or appeal the decision.

In its ruling released Friday, the commission said Smith's actions were "inconsistent with well-established ethical standards prohibiting a judge from lending the prestige of judicial office to advance private interests," Tembeckjian said. "This marks the first time the Commission has publicly disciplined an Appellate Division Justice, whose high rank should have made her especially sensitive to setting an example and obeying the ethics rules."

The matter involved the case of Craig Cordes who was sentenced in May 2008 to up to 10 years in state prison after he was convicted of first-degree vehicular manslaughter. Cordes, who had just completed his second year in law school, was intoxicated when he smashed his boat into another on July 8, 2007, on Skaneateles Lake, killing two people.

Full Article and Source:
Appellate justice is disciplined

Monday, July 1, 2013

Supreme Court disbars Terri Ann Hauge

The Supreme Court disbarred attorney Terri Ann Hauge today.

Hauge’s law license was suspended in 1995 after clients complained to the attorney discipline board that she mishandled their cases and lied about it.

She could have reapplied for her license, but never did. Instead she went in to business overseeing the finances of vulnerable adults. In fact at 200 clients her firm had the fourth largest portfolio as guardians and conservators in the state.

You can probably guess what happened next. In 2010, she was charged with theft by swindle and ignoring the needs of the people she was supposed to be taking care of.  She stole $53,000 from an Edina man who died in 2003 and there were several other charges of theft and perjury.

Full Article and Source:
Supreme Court disbars Terri Ann Hauge

In Minnesota, death not a barrier to elder scam suits

Mary Crispin and Diane Restrepo
It was an old-fashioned swindle of a vulnerable adult with a new twist: Although the victim, who suffered from dementia, died 17 months ago, a new law will enable his family to seek restitution.

Unlike the other estimated 30,000 exploitation cases reported each year in Minnesota involving vulnerable seniors, this is expected to be the first to test a groundbreaking state law sponsored by a legislator who is now the prosecutor in this case. Under the law, adopted last month, Donald Crispin’s family can legally ask for restitution for the financial hardship their father suffered when, authorities say, “professional scammers” persuaded him to withdraw $65,000 from his bank account and then took off with money, jewelry and a car they talked him into buying.

“The case doesn’t end with the death of the victim,” said Iris Freeman, associate director for the Center of Elder Justice and Policy at William Mitchell College of Law.

Crispin’s saga serves not only as a warning to felon Steven Miller and his alleged accomplice, Marina Lahara, who authorities say moved often and used many aliases to avoid police for nearly four years before her arrest this month. It offers a painful reminder to families of how vulnerable seniors can be.

Miller and Lahara didn’t hack into Crispin’s personal life through computers. They allegedly stole mail. They also met victims face to face, convinced them that the two knew them and then allegedly stole thousands of dollars from seniors in Hennepin and Anoka counties, authorities say.

Donald Crispin didn’t seem vulnerable. He was 82, an ex-Marine who kept in good shape and had worked well into his 70s. He lived alone in Fridley, handling his own finances while talking to his four daughters daily. Nobody suspected he had dementia.

“My dad passed his pilot’s license test in his 70s,” said one of his daughters, Diane Restrepo, of Chanhassen. “After he retired as a carpenter, he ran a liquor store in northeast Minneapolis for 10 years. He paid his own bills, and on time. He was driving.

“This dementia happened suddenly.”

In 2009, Crispin met Miller and Lahara, who claimed they were brother and sister, according to court records. Within weeks, the records say, Crispin proposed to Lahara, who was 35 but told Crispin she was 62 and that her name was Mary Miller. Between Oct. 7 and Nov. 30, a total of $65,807.88 was withdrawn from Crispin’s bank account — allegedly at the request of Miller and Lahara — for two engagement rings, a 2008 Hummer and property that Crispin was told he would partly own, but never saw, authorities say.

Days later, Miller and Lahara vanished.

Full Article and Source:
In Minnesota, death not a barrier to elder scam suits

Austin Pastor Charged with Financial Exploitation

AUSTIN, Minn. (AP) — An Austin pastor is charged with bilking more than $40,000 from an elderly woman with dementia.

Authorities say the Rev. David DeFor was the woman’s power of attorney. A criminal complaint, in part, says DeFor used a $5,000 check from the woman to replace his furnace and claimed a $3,000 bank transfer to his account for a bowling trip was a reward for his care.

Full Article and Source:
Austin Pastor Charged with Financial Exploitation

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tonight on T.S. Radio: Elder Abuse and Exploitation and Murder

Rosanne Miller: I am dealing with the cover up of the death of my Mother. The court system left my Dad with Dementia and mentally impaired, incompetent and in abuse: literally living like a pig for 6 yrs while I tried to get guardianship which the court refused me.

Now the corporate agents have stolen $250,000 from their estate. My Dad is now in a nursing home trying to kill himself so the agents loaded him up on drugs to subdue him which is abuse by chemical restraint. The agents have gutted their home throwing away any final evidence to link the suspect of Mom's death while it is still an "ongoing" investigation. The Corporate Agents have done everything they can to support the suspect and abuser cause they knew that is where they would make their money. The suspect walks free to this day.

This is nothing short of conspiracy and racketeering.

Great country we live in.

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm EST … 8:00 pm EST

LISTEN LIVE or listen to the archive later

Ex-Sidley lawyer accused of stealing almost $120,000 from firm

A former Sidley Austin LLP partner and global coordinator of its real estate practice was accused of stealing nearly $120,000 from the Chicago-based law firm by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

The complaint against Lee Smolen, 53, who left Sidley last fall and joined DLA Piper US LLP's Chicago office in February, requests that the matter be assigned to a panel for further investigation and possible discipline, according to Am Law Daily.

Sidley and a lawyer for Mr. Smolen declined to comment, the report said. Mr. Smolen was accused of submitting for reimbursement more than 800 false receipts totaling $69,000 for taxi rides he had not taken, plus thousands more in entertainment expenses "that had not been incurred for legitimate firm purposes.”

Full Article and Source:
Ex-Sidley lawyer accused of stealing almost $120,000 from firm

Recommended Website: Victims of Guardians


Many lawyers write articles suggesting advance directives, including a Durable Power of Attorney ("durable," meaning it remains in effect after a person becomes incompetent). 

Question: But what if you wind up in front of a corrupt judge who ignores the grantor's wishes?
Answer: He can override any legal document executed by the AIP ("alleged incompetent person.") (Note: The person is only "alleged" to be incompetent until they are legally adjudged to be incapacitated; then they are described as the "ward." They are actually wards of the State.)

Question: Aren't there any safeguards against that?
Answer: That's up to your state legislators and prosecutors. An honest judge will hold a full evidentiary hearing to determine the validity of the prior Durable Power of Attorney - the issue being whether the AIP was incompetent at the time of execution. A corrupt judge will not hold any hearing; he/she will just ignore the Power, and sometimes invalidate (with a stroke of the pen) even a Last Will and Testament, putting all sorts of liberties in the hands of the fiduciaries.

Question: Why would a judge do that?
Answer: By unlawfully overriding the powers granted, he can then put his academic or political buddies into the guardianship, to make-work and feast on fees.

Question: What is the quid pro quo; i.e., what's in it for him/her?
Answer: That we will not know until the prosecutors start prosecuting judicial corruption in a meaningful way.