Guardianships are critically important to protecting some of the most vulnerable people in our lives. When they function well, they are effective ways of ensuring our loved ones have their needs taken care of. When they go wrong, however, they can result in significant harm to the people they are supposed to care for. But what kinds of problems might arise during a guardianship that might require legal intervention?
- Guardianship is contested
- One of the most common issues that can arise is when a guardianship is contested. This can either happen because of the ward, the person the guardianship is for, trying to argue they don’t need a guardianship to help handle their affairs. It can also happen if another relative either disputes the need for a guardianship, or argues that the guardian is not fit to handle their position.
- Guardian fails to report to court
- As part of a guardianship, a guardian is expected to make regular reports back to the court that granted it, along with fulfilling other legal obligations. Sometimes, though, a guardian will fail to file their reports in a timely manner, resulting in potential issues. A guardian who fails to report to the court may be seen as negligent, and their fitness to be a guardian may be placed into question.
- Ward loses contact with loved ones
- Another potential problem that can arise is if a ward loses contact with their loved ones during the guardianship. In the best case scenario, this could be the natural result of whatever issues led to the guardianship being sought in the first place. In the worst case scenario, this loss of contact could be a deliberate effort by the guardian to isolate the ward in order to facilitate or conceal misconduct. In either case, it is likely that a loss of contact may result in potential problems for the guardian and the ward alike.
- Guardian steals from their ward
- Guardians are given wide authority over their ward’s personal matters, including their legal, medical, and financial affairs. Of particular importance is the risk that a dishonest guardian will use their control over a ward’s finances to enrich themselves. If this happens, it could require legal action to stop the guardian’s embezzlement and recover any money or property that was stolen by the guardian.
- Guardian abuses or neglects their ward
- In some cases, the harm a guardian does to their ward is much more direct. They may neglect their ward, failing to ensure they receive appropriate care or failing to handle important matters on behalf of their ward. Other times, a guardian may engage in direct physical or emotional abuse. Either way, when it is found a guardian has been abusing or neglecting their ward, it may become necessary to seek a legal remedy as soon as possible.
The guardianship law attorneys at David J. Lorber & Associates, PLLC will work with you to determine whether a guardianship might be necessary for your loved one, and help you to get a guardianship that will suit your needs. For comprehensive guardianship and elder law services in New York, call David J. Lorber & Associates, PLLC at (631) 750-0900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Setauket office.