Friday, December 14, 2007

Are More Laws The Answer?

By Maria C. Gallo, Esquire

To some degree, I agree with the commentary that "more laws are not the answer." There are some remedies in place already but they are not being used nearly enough.

Some circuits have a staff accountant on board to audit/monitor the annual accountings.

Discrepancies or unexplainable charges should trigger a hearing in front of the judge.

The accountings should balance and the ending balance for one year should be the starting balance for the subsequent year. Discrepancies like that should also trigger court hearings and an inquiry of the guardian.

I oftentimes think that even the judges can not or do not read the accountings. Large purchases should be explained and/or justified with documents from an independent expert as to how or why this purchase benefits the ward.

Some judges are requiring bonds that historically had been waived. While it may create some hard feelings both among good guardians and reputable lawyers, bonds protect the ward from misuse, misappropriation and loss.

One law change that would be helpful. However, it is a change in the strict confidentiality of elder abuse/adult protective services and guardianship cases. Sometimes, family members who would help the ward and not take advantage of their loved one are denied even basic information that would allow them to intervene because they are not able to access information such as the status and sometimes even the location of their loved one.

1 comment:

Andrea, Boca Raton, Fl. said...

Thanks for your insight on this very serious matter. I and my family fear we may be dealing with a guardian that is not handling the financial affairs of my father with my fathers best interest in mind, and I will be checking this blog often as this is all new to us. Elder abuse is a horrible thing and I hope something is done about it soon! I will keep E.A. posted about my father and his guardian as soon as we figure out what his guardian is actually doing with dads income.
Thank you! Andrea, Boca Raton, Fl.