We found a Youtube video regarding guardian abuse, and it brought up yet another reason to plan ahead. Click here for the video. I . Guardian abuse is when a person is declared incompetent and their assets plundered by unscrupulous attorneys, a self-dealing guardian, and a complicit probate court system. The video features a retired couple, he a former sheriff and she a former dentist. When she started developing the early stages of Alzheimers, he took her out of town to visit relatives when they had a car accident. Suddenly, they found themselves both declared incompetent by another state’s court system. Even when eventually returned to their own state, medical diagnoses fell on a court’s deaf ears while court-appointed legal guardians sold off all of their assets to pay for legal fees, guardian expenses, and the expensive but unnecessary medical expenses related to their confinement.
The problem is more prevalent than people would imagine, but protection of your life savings becomes more concrete with a revocable living trust. While a revocable living trust is known for keeping assets out of probate when someone passes on, it is also designed to avoid “living probate.” The terms of the trust determine when someone is incompetent, so even if an unknown physician is conspiring with a child or other potential beneficiary, the trustees they have named are in charge of the trust assets and not a court. In addition, well-drafted trusts will allow physicians to declare them competent again and place them back in charge of their assets without the possibility to be declared incompetent for several months so changes can be made.
What seems most disturbing in the particular case of the couple in the video is that he served as sheriff, sworn to uphold the law. So whether he decided to leave his assets out of a trust or simply didn’t know any better, he was betrayed by the same laws he upheld in his career. They lost everything by not taking steps to secure their assets ahead of time, and I’m sure they never thought it could happen to them.
For a more in-depth discussion of this subject, download a previous podcast by going to the bottom right portion of the main page of www.livingtrustlawfirm.com, scrolling to the podcast titled “Living Probate”, and clicking on it.