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How do courts respond to incidents of guardianship abuse?

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2024 | Guardianships, Guardianships

Incapacitated individuals may need help making decisions regarding their personal health and welfare. Fortunately, legal setups, such as guardianships, can help them receive the care and support they need to maintain dignified lifestyles, allowing them to access their basic and medical needs. Unfortunately, these arrangements can also make wards vulnerable to neglect and abuse.

In these scenarios, the court and relevant authorities can work together, intervening to protect wards from harm and endangerment. There are many ways to address guardianship abuse, depending on how it happened. These methods can include the following measures:

  • Enforce orders to protect the ward’s assets and other financial resources, such as freezing accounts under the guardian’s control.
  • Order the guardian to repay any losses caused by their decisions and actions.
  • Restore the ward’s rights to connect with family and friends if the guardian isolated them.
  • Initiate investigations to learn more about the ward’s situation and verify reports.
  • Adjust the terms of the guardianship, either involving a co-guardian, removing the guardian or terminating the setup altogether, replacing it with a less restrictive option.

Other legal remedies can also be applicable based on the details of the situation. If the incident requires urgent response, authorities can interfere to prioritize the ward’s safety.

Preventative measures against guardianship abuse

There might be no guaranteed way to stop guardianship abuse from happening. But there can be inclusions in the legal arrangement to prevent these incidents. When establishing guardianship, it can be wise to seek legal guidance to determine the most appropriate preventative measures considering the ward’s unique circumstances. Additionally, experienced legal counsel can help pinpoint issues that may cause problems over time and prepare for them early on.