By: Rana Goodman
There is a knock on your door and the care giver who has stopped by to check on your wife of 50 years motions you to sit, he will answer the door for you. Two people enter, a woman and a man. They approach you and the woman says,
“Mr. xxxxx I am an officer of the court, you and your wife need to come with me”
You ask, “why, what have I done, go with you where?”
She responds “you have three choices, I can have you arrested, you can come with us to Lake View, or you can be taken to a mental facility”
For the first three days after this couple were picked up their daughter had frantically been trying to locate them, eventually a notice was taped on their front door stating that they had been moved to Lake View Assisted Living.
Once arriving there, she finds out that a guardian has been assigned by the family court, without a hearing that included her parents, The documents showed two alarming false statements; that the only child, this daughter never sees the parents and is an addict, and that the husband has dementia and profound memory loss and cannot continue to care for his wife.
I must tell you that in my interview with this couple I found the husband, who has been the primary care-giver for his wife for the last 19 years of their 50 years of marriage, to be the most articulate, soft spoken person I have met in a very long time. His only concern was her happiness and well being knowing that she is now in the latter stages of leukemia and is wheelchair bound. This he said was the reason he didn't make a scene and fight back the night they were literally kidnapped from their home.
I'm sure you are asking how this could happen, this is how this particular case began;
His pain management doctor had, two weeks before this happened, paid a home visit to see the couple’s art collection, a set of Renoir sketches. Just after that the doctor chose to write a letter to the public guardian’s office stating that: (a) her client has dementia and misses appointments, won't take his medicine and constantly forgets things. She fears he may harm himself or his wife who is very ill. (b) It would be harmful for him to go to a court hearing because he wouldn't understand what was happening anyway.
When asked why he didn't fight back, he looked at his wife and said “if it was better for her I had to go with it, but I can tell you, I knew that night what the Jews must have felt like in WWII”
It is the saddest and most frightening thing I have seen in my life.
I am looking at the order of guardianship from the Clark County Family Court at this moment, and it very clearly states "It is further ordered, adjudged and decreed that any power of attorney executed by the ward shall be revoked.
It is further ordered adjudged and decreed that (name retracted) the general guardian of the person and estate of (name retracted) is authorized to obtain confidential financial information of the ward. Including but not limited to: statements, canceled checks, withdrawal authorizations from financial institutions such as brokerage or mutual fund firms, social security administration, pension benefits whether such accounts reflect the name of the ward individually, or with one other person or a trust, and safe deposit boxes for the purpose of inventory and/or closure."
This document goes on for many more pages, but clearly shows that wills and trusts are no protection if a senior is caught up in the guardianship game. I sorry to say many of our readers' attorneys are telling them that they have nothing to worry about if they have a power of attorney, a will or a trust. As you can see, that just is not true!!!