When we help a family establish a guardianship or conservatorship, we always counsel the appointed guardian or conservator to pay close attention to his or her fiduciary duties. Likewise, we always counsel families to appoint somebody in whom they have complete confidence to serve as a guardian or conservator. The reason for this, of course, is that guardians and conservators have quite a bit of authority over wards and protected persons, and every precaution should be taken to ensure that the ward or protected person is fully and adequately protected.
Although it does not happen often, there are instances where guardians and conservators abuse their position of authority. Most commonly this happens when a conservator uses the protected person’s assets as his or her own. Despite stringent laws protecting against this type of abuse, it is not unheard of for conservators to commingle their funds with the protected person’s funds, or worse yet, spend the protected person’s money to further their own interests.
Guardians and conservators who abuse their position of responsibility can face severe consequences. For even minor infractions, they can be removed from their position and required to reimburse the individual or the estate. For more serious issues, criminal penalties may even be a possibility. If you have a loved one who is under the care of a guardian or conservator, and you think that guardian or conservator may be abusing his or her position of responsibility, we can help.
In addition to the Elder Law attorneys at JacksonWhite, JacksonWhite also has a Criminal Law practice with which we consult about whether criminal charges might be worth pursuing in cases of fraud and abuse. Whether or not you decide to go to the state with criminal allegations, however, our guardianship attorneys can provide you with guidance as to how to protect your loved one’s best interests. To schedule a consultation, please do not hesitate to contact JacksonWhite, by calling (480) 818-6912.