Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Pitfalls of Guardianship

A Guardian: a defender, protector, or keeper.

synonym:  protector, defender, preserver, custodian, warden, guard, keeper,
conservator, curator, caretaker, steward, trustee
Rana Goodman,
Political Editor
I have long been an advocate for seniors and avidly read documents sent to me by others with similar goals. An associate, Steve Miller, who is well known in our city, has been publishing some alarming stories on-line regarding the pitfalls of guardianship.

I subscribed to Steve’s on-line newsletter, and over the last few months have sent him numerous emails and questions about this issue - all of which he responded to quickly.

As I am gearing up for the 2015 legislative session, I wanted to let our readers know what I have found. The Vegas Voice wants to know if YOU are as alarmed as I am.

Let me present the case of one man that was a resident of my own Sun City community - Guadalupe Olvera. Mr. Olvera’s wife passed away in 2009 and at that time he was 90 years of age and fully in control of his faculties.

His home was very large and fully paid for, his bank account flush, but with his dear wife gone, what was missing was family. So rather than rattle around in a large empty house, his only child, Becky, decided to move him to California to live with her.

Becky and Lupe
When Becky arrived in Henderson and went to see her grief stricken father, he was not home, which caused her to call the Guardianship Commissioner’s office for assistance because her mother had been “guardian of person” only due to her father’s physical disabilities. Commissioner Norheim’s office gave her the unlisted home number of Jared Shafer, the guardian into whose hands her father’s affairs had been placed, to “help” her find her father. There was however a “large fly in the ointment” You would think that would be no problem if his adult daughter was voluntarily taking him with her, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, now that Jared Shafer had hold of this, you would be wrong. Releasing Mr. Olvera into the hands of his daughter and relinquishing guardianship would also mean the loss of potential substantial billings, as the end of the tail has proven.

However, Shafer knew the law in our state was on his side, since according to the Nevada Revised Statute 159.059, a relative living outside of the state does not qualify for guardianship. Jared Shafer is a professional guardian. (Google him - I dare you).

Mr. Olvera and his daughter were adamant that they wanted to be together and he had every right to live wherever he wished. Becky then took her father to her California residence.

Jared Shafer filed a bench warrant for contempt of court against Becky, telling everyone it was for “kidnapping”. To make a long story short, Mr. Olvera was forced into a conservatorship in CA as terms for Jared Shafer to terminate the NV guardianship. Becky managed to also have the CA conservatorship also terminated.

However, it took four long years, in which time, according to Becky, her father’s trust account and CA bank account were raided for a total of over $420,000, mostly in legal fees going to Shafer’s attorneys.

She has now filed suit against Shafer to recover what she can for the estate. Additionally, Becky and four other families, who have been victimized by this guardian “scam” will accompany me to testify for revising the law to allow non-Nevada residents family members to qualify as guardians.

The Vegas Voice:  The Pitfalls of Guardianship


Thelma said...

I wish them a BIG WIN!

Anonymous said...

Joining in to wish you a BIG WIN, too! No family should have to put up with this criminal activity.

The attorney that I fired who was still co-guardian took me to court costing my brother's estate (along with the judge) well over 11,000 in taking me off guardianship, no doubt at the urging of the insurance company who wanted to settle an over 40 year case of brain injury!

How corrupt is that and I have to contact her before I can contact my brother?

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of Jewish Family Service of Tidewater and Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia, where victims languish in poorly run guardianship programs that dump them in hellholes like the five now-closed facilities with 379 people run by the notorious Scott Schuett.

Even when responsible, capable relatives step forward, or a victim is declared to have capacity in FIVE doctors' reports, victims cannot escape these mismanaged public guardianship programs, for months on end and, in one case, for TWO FULL YEARS.

It's like the Hotel California -- you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.

Meanwhile, attorneys for these guardianship programs and their hand-picked guardian ad litem "for" the incapacitated person dip, double dip, and triple dip into the victims' meager funds, paying themselves thousands upon thousands of unearned dollars BEFORE attending to such trivial matters as a decent place to live, necessary medical care, or the most basic dental care.

Our wackadoodle public officials like to claim these are "private" cases over which they have no control, apparently because they mistakenly think this spurious claim will somehow help the Commonwealth of Virginia avoid liability.

Well, let's think about that one for a minute. Many of these victims are dumped into these public guardianship programs, and the cases are funded, by Adult Protective Services or the local Community Services Boards or Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, all PUBLIC agencies. Moreover, even when it's the HOSPITALS that are doing the patient-dumping, there is still PUBLIC liability.

Why? Well, exactly who is holding these victims in ill-conceived, poorly executed, often illegally initiated guardianships?

The COURTS, of course, which are obviously, to anyone with an ounce of sense, a PUBLIC agency.

So when your hand-picked guardian ad litem deliberately blocks access to the courts, willfully tries to cheat these victims out of an attorney, blatantly misrepresents and even falsifies the FACTS, and in general behaves like a cartoon Mafioso, ladies and gentlemen, THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA WILL BE LIABLE.

Why don't you take a breather from trampling on the rights of the disabled and elderly, look up 42 U.S.C. section 1983, and carefully consider the likely outcome of your obstruction of justice?

Finny said...

Jared Shafer and his buddies need to be held accountable and it will be a happy day when they are.

Anonymous said...

Very well written. Thank you for shining a bright light into the darkness.

BAEA said...

I am so glad the spotlight is shining brightly on Jared Shafer. It seems that he has caused outrageous agony for many a family with loved ones under guardianship. If you read "rip-off report" you will find over 80 accusations of theft and abuse by this person. He has been in business for many decades. Imagine the destruction one person can cause by taking over the rights, lives, and assets of thousands of vulnerable elders who lose their ability to fight back. In one case alone, Shafer is recently being sued for $420,000 of "lost" funds. This crook must be held accountable. There is NO excuse for this abuse sanctioned by the court. Monitoring must take place by an entity OUTSIDE the court system. Otherwise, theft and abuse will continue to be business as usual. Elders deserve better.

Sylvia said...

Excellent article by Rana Goodman. Very much looking forward to future articles exposing the pattern to the light of day, point by point, detail by detail will educate society while showing the pattern of operation around our nation.

Thank you.