Serious problems with the public guardianship system in the United States can lead to elder abuse, according to an in-depth a...Read more
Guardianship System Needs Fixing, Report Concludes
- August 28th, 2014
The Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing on the nation's guardianship system Thursday, July 22, 2004, at which the Government Accountability Office (GAO) unveiled a report highly critical of the guardianship system and ElderLawAnswers member Robert Aldridge testified.
The consensus at the hearing mirrored the conclusion of the GAO report: both state governments and federal officials need to improve the current guardianship process, which has allowed some vulnerable seniors to become victims of abuse and neglect.
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy PLC
Attorney Samantha Simmons Fredieu is an associate at Hale Ball. Ms. Fredieu graduated magna cum laude from Vermont Law School where she was the symposium editor on the Vermont Law Review, a production editor on the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, and a member of the Moot Court Advisory Board. She has clerked for...
Ron M. Landsman, P.A.
Ron M. Landsman has been practicing elder law since 1983, before it was known as elder law, originally with Landsman and Laster, Washington, D.C., then Landsman, Eakes and Laster, also in Arlington, VA, and since 1990 in his own practice in Montgomery County, Maryland. He has been among the most active members of the...
Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC
Judith Mtinick is well known for acting as a guardian, conservator, trustee or agent on behalf of clients or by court appointment. This experience gives her a wide perspective and extensive practical knowledge that she uses when advising clients in drafting their planning documents. Her experience, as a court appointed...
Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), chairman of the Aging Committee, requested the year-long GAO investigation of the guardianship process in February 2003 after hearing witnesses testify about cases across the nation in which appointed guardians mistreated elders. The resulting report, "Guardianships: Collaboration Needed to Protect Incapacitated Elderly People," concludes that the current guardianship system is fragmented, inconsistent and lacks even the basic information required for effective oversight.
The GAO investigators found that state courts vary widely in how their guardianship systems operate and what they require of guardians; states are generally reluctant to recognize guardianships originating in other states; there is little collaboration regarding guardianships between state courts and federal agencies; and most courts surveyed do not track the number of active guardianships or the number of elderly under guardianship, or maintain a database on abuse.
At the committee's hearing following the report's release, Barbara Bovbjerg, the GAO's Director of Education, Workforce and Income Security, said GAO investigators found courts in Florida, New Hampshire, Florida and California that are running "exemplary programsâ€ that could serve as models for others.
Also testifying at the hearing was ElderLawAnswers member Robert L. Aldridgefrom Boise, Idaho, who focused on innovative approaches the state of Idaho is taking to enhance the effectiveness of guardianship monitoring and accountability.
To visit the Senate Committee on Aging's Web site, go to: http://aging.senate.gov/
Last Modified: 08/28/2014