Berge & Berge, LLP Blog

Monday, August 7, 2017

Don't Mess with Mama

Q: How can I prevent my parent from elder abuse and fraud?

She gave you life, taught you right from wrong, and stood by you each step of the way, keeping you safe from harm. Of course, we are talking about your mama.

But will you be ready to protect her (or dear old dad) when the time comes?

Guardianships for seniors, also referred to as conservatorships, can help us protect our loved ones when they are no longer able to make safe and sound decisions or they become vulnerable to fraud or undue external influences. Guardianships are often sought to help protect the assets, legacy, and quality of care of elders whose brain function is failing.

A conservatorship recently enabled one concerned son in San Jose to save his 83-year-old mother who suffers with dementia from a 53-year old man accused of "trying to marry her to get her money". As her guardian, the son successfully stepped in and had the one-day marriage annulled. The court found in favor of the conservator for numerous reasons, not the least of which was that mother’s “pursuer” represented himself in the action—and reportedly did a poor job.

With our parents and other loved ones living longer lives, and the increase in dementia and Alzheimer's disease in the aging population, guardianships offer valuable elder abuse protection for vulnerable seniors. Of course, in certain cases proposed guardians may have ulterior motives.

There are two different kinds of guardianships. “Guardianship of the person” tasks the appointed guardian with authority over non-financial matters that impact the elder’s well-being and medical care. “Guardianship of the estate or property” tasks the appointed guardian with authority over the elder’s assets and important financial decisions that impact the protected person. Because guardianships transfer such power over the important aspects of the protected person’s life into the hands of another, they are understandably not simply granted without showing true necessity.

The Law Offices of Berge & Berge is experienced in all aspects of estate planning and elder law, including elder abuse and guardianships for seniors. Call us today at 408-389-6980 to schedule a consultation. From our offices in San Jose, California, we have proudly served the South Bay area for over 23 years.


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