Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Guardianship and Probate Practices – Little Has Changed

The following article first appeared on December 2005

A Family Feud Sheds Light on Differences in Probate Practices From State to State
By RALPH BLUMENTHAL Published: December 28, 2005

HOUSTON, Dec. 20 - Lillian Glasser, by all accounts, never intended to spend her twilight years in Texas. Or her $25 million fortune.
A lifelong New Jerseyan, Mrs. Glasser owned a million-dollar home and a second house in Highland Park, N.J., with her husband Ben, a doctor who died in 2002.
But to the consternation of Mrs. Glasser and the New Jersey authorities, Texas now has a major grip on her life and her money - a consequence of a family feud and anomalies in probate practices from state to state.
After coming to Texas last February to visit her daughter, Mrs. Glasser, now 85 and afflicted with Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's, fell subject to the Bexar County Probate Court in San Antonio.
Placed under Texas guardianship after her daughter attested that her mother resided there, Mrs. Glasser is largely confined to a gated apartment complex in Alamo Heights, a small city surrounded by San Antonio, under 24-hour care and forbidden to return to New Jersey while a storm of litigation swirls around her.
Beyond the personal drama, the case highlights the checkerboard practices of local probate courts, which govern the transfer of property from people who die or are declared incompetent. The courts are not federally regulated, but in response to a growing number of interstate disputes, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws is drafting nationwide probate standards similar to those in the field of child custody.
The Glasser case, pitting her daughter and former guardian, Suzanne Matthews of Alamo Heights, against her son, Mark Glasser of Miami, has already consumed nearly $3 million of Mrs. Glasser's assets, accumulated over years of successful investing…..

In an independent evaluation in July, Dr. Katherine E. Goethe, a San Antonio psychologist, said, "Her situation in San Antonio I would describe as a form of psychological torture, frankly."

Abridged Article SOURCE

Little has changed with regards to guardianship and probate practices. People like Mrs Glasser and Clara Fernandez should have a secured, dignified life in their twilight years. NOT to be victimized by state laws. NOT to be "robbed" of their hard-earned assets by the people who are supposed to protect her. There should be uniformed laws in all states on these issues.

Posted by Andrew

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