Comprehensive Estate Planning And Probate Advocacy

What can the court do to address guardianship abuse?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2023 | Guardianships & Conservatorships

Guardianship is a legal setup where a person entrusts authority to another, helping them make sound personal decisions while incapacitated. Ideally, a guardian is responsible for ensuring their ward receives proper care, meeting all their needs and managing their assets appropriately.

Unfortunately, some guardians use their authority for personal gain, committing fraud, exploitation, embezzlement and other crimes victimizing their wards. Sometimes, these incapacitated individuals also suffer through mistreatment and neglect. Ideally, these incidents can reach the authorities promptly so the court can address them adequately by implementing the following measures:

  • Place restrictions on the ward’s accounts to prevent the guardian from causing further damage.
  • Initiate further investigation based on the received guardianship abuse complaints.
  • Assess the ward’s situation and restore rights, such as visitation with other family members or friends.
  • Issue court orders making the guardian cover losses on the ward’s assets and property.
  • Adjust the guardianship arrangement, appointing another person as a co-guardian or replacing the guardian with someone more fit for the role.
  • End the guardianship altogether and seek less restrictive legal options that can provide the same benefits for the ward.

Reports of these incidents often require authorities to conduct investigations before determining any violations. Still, the risks could be high for vulnerable and defenseless wards. By implementing these actions, they could quickly respond and provide victims protection as needed.

Confronting guardianship abuse begins with filing a complaint

Based on the circumstances, many forms of guardianship abuse can pass as federal or state crimes. If you suspect someone is a ward suffering from mistreatment or neglect, it is best to contact the authorities immediately. Doing so might not prompt an arrest, but it could help initiate an investigation and reveal any incidents of abuse. Filing a complaint could be the crucial first step to removing a ward from a dangerous situation.