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NC and SC Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Exposing Guardianship Abuse

What would you do if a stranger showed up at your home out of nowhere, and told you they were your new legal guardian? They have the power to control your finances, make healthcare decisions for you, decide where you live, and can even prevent you from seeing your family if they don’t think it is a good idea for you to be around them. It sounds impossible, but a recent article in The New Yorker details how this nightmare scenario is actually playing out.

The article focuses on the plight of a particular couple in Nevada, Rudy and Rennie North, but it is something that could happen virtually anywhere thanks to the relative lack of oversight in the guardianship system.

Like many seniors, Rudy and Rennie had health issues, but they continued to live at home. They got along just fine with help from family and professionals that assisted with healthcare and household tasks. Then one day, April Parks showed up at their door. She had obtained legal guardianship over the couple, and was taking their care into her own hands. Within the hour, Rudy and Rennie had been forced to hurriedly packed a few items and move into a nursing home facility across the state, away from family.

When someone is placed under guardianship, it is because a court has determined he or she can no longer care for themselves. In Rudy and Rennie’s case, Parks had gotten a couple doctors to sign off on her claim that the couple would be better off under her care.

It is possible to contest a guardianship appointment in court, but the way Parks and the judge talked at the hearing made Rudy think he actually might be better off with someone caring for him and Rennie after all.

Soon, Rudy and Rennie’s health was declining. They also grew emotionally distraught as it became clear that Parks had sold off all of their belongings in order to fund the couple’s new, hellish lifestyle. Each time they or a family member complained to Parks, they received a bill.  

Parks was finally removed from the case after Rudy and Rennie’s daughter brought their plight to the attention of the media. When the media showed up at a hearing over Rudy and Rennie’s financial situation, the judge was much less willing to go along with Parks’ suggestions. The couple now live with their daughter because the cost of their healthcare and Parks’ guardianship fees cleaned them out.

Our firm regularly works with clients to ensure that they or their loved ones are properly taken care of if they are no longer able to take care of themselves. Having a guardianship plan in place that can be activated should the need arise is the best protection against having what happened to Rudy and Rennie happen to you or someone you love.

 


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Monk Law Firm, PLLC assists clients throughout Charlotte, Rock Hill, Fort Mill and the surrounding areas.



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| Phone: 803-594-4453
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| Phone: 704-369-9977

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