This is America? Government-appointed guardians can sell assets of elderly without their consent

Did you know that there are government-appointed “court guardians” who can deem senior Americans “incompetent,” and on that basis, are authorized to manage their assets — including selling their homes and valuables — and to choose where they live, whom they associate with, and what medical treatment they receive?

As recounted by Rachel Aviv for The New Yorker, that’s what happened to Rudy and Rennie North on September 1, 2013. Rudy, 68, a retired broadcasting consultant, lived with his 66-year-old wife Rennie in Sun City Aliante — an “active adult” community in Las Vegas, NV.

Rennie, recovering from lymphoma and suffering from a severe case of neuropathy, had a nurse visit five times a week to help her bathe and dress. Neither Rennie nor Rudy was diagnosed with senile dementia or had undergone any cognitive assessments.

On the morning of September 1, 2013, a stocky woman with shiny black hair knocked on the door of the Norths’ home, introduced herself as April Parks, the owner of the company A Private Professional Guardian. She was accompanied by three colleagues, who didn’t give their names. Parks told the Norths that she had an order from the Clark County Family Court to “remove” them from their home and take them to Lakeview Terrace, an assisted-living facility in Boulder City, nine miles from the Arizona border.  If the Norths didn’t comply, the police would be called and the Norths would be taken by ambulance to the facility.

Alleging that the Norths posed a “substantial risk for mismanagement of medications, financial loss and physical harm,” Parks had filed an emergency ex-parte petition that provides an exception to the rule that both parties must be notified of any argument before a judge. To make her case for the Norths becoming wards of the court, Parks submitted:

  • A brief letter from a physician’s assistant, whom Rennie North had seen only once, stating that “the patient’s husband can no longer effectively take care of the patient at home as his dementia is progressing.”
  • A letter from one of Rudy’s doctors, who described him as “confused and agitated.”

Recall that neither Rudy nor Rennie North had been diagnosed with senile dementia. Although Rudy’s medical records showed that he occasionally had “staring spells,” all his medical-progress notes from 2013 described him as alert and oriented. He did most of the couple’s cooking and shopping, because Rennie, though lucid, was in so much pain that she rarely left the house. The Norths’ 53-year-old daughter Julie Belshe described her parents’ house as “They always kept their house really nice and clean, like a museum.”

Parks ordered the Norths to “Go and gather your things.” The Norths, confused and in tears, complied.

After the Norths were taken from their home, Parks walked through the house with Cindy Breck, the owner of Caring Transitions, a company that relocates seniors and sells their belongings at estate sales. Parks described their routine at a deposition: “We open drawers. We look in closets. We pull out boxes, anything that would store—that would keep paperwork, would keep valuables.” The following month, Even Tide Life Transitions, a company that Parks often hired, sold most of the Norths’ belongings.

The Norths also had roughly $50,000 in savings at the Bank of America, which Parks transferred to an account in her name.

Professional Guardians

In 2013, April Parks had been a “guardian” for 12 years, in charge of some 400 wards of the court who, due to age or disability, had been deemed incompetent, a legal term that describes those who are unable to make reasoned choices about their lives or their property. As their guardian, Parks has the authority to manage their assets, choose where they live, whom they associate with, and what medical treatment they receive. These wards of the court lost nearly all their civil rights.

In the United States, 1½ million adults are under the care of guardians, either family members or professionals, who control some $273 billion in assets, according to an auditor for the guardianship fraud program in Palm Beach County. Little is known about the outcome of these arrangements, because states do not keep complete figures on guardianship cases—statutes vary widely—and, in most jurisdictions, the court records are sealed. A 2010 Government Accountability report said, “We could not locate a single Web site, federal agency, state or local entity, or any other organization that compiles comprehensive information on this issue.” A study published this year by the American Bar Association found that “an unknown number of adults languish under guardianship” when they no longer need it, or never did, and that “guardianship is generally “permanent, leaving no way out—‘until death do us part.’ ”

In the Las Vegas Valley, the Norths were among 9,000 adult wards. Las Vegas has promoted itself as a retirement paradise. Attracted by the state’s low taxes and a dry, sunny climate, elderly people leave their families behind to resettle in newly constructed senior communities. As many as 30% of the people who move to Las Vegas are senior citizens. In just the past decade, the number of Nevadans 85 and older increased by nearly 80%.

In Nevada, as in many states, anyone can become a guardian by taking a course, as long as he or she has not been convicted of a felony or recently declared bankruptcy. When family members try to contest the guardianship or become guardians themselves, they were dismissed as unsuitable, and disparaged in court records as being neglectful, or as drug addicts, gamblers, and exploiters. Family who lived out of state were disqualified from serving as guardians, because the law prohibited the appointment of anyone who didn’t live in Nevada.

Jared Shafer is considered the godfather of guardians in Nevada. In the course of his 35-year career, Shafer assumed control of more than 3,000 wards and estates and trained a generation of guardians. In 1979, he became Clark County’s public administrator, handling the estates of people who had no relatives in Nevada, as well as the public guardian, serving wards when no family members or private guardians were available. In 2003, he left government and founded his own private guardianship and fiduciary business.

In 2015, the Vegas Voice, a newspaper distributed to all the mailboxes in senior communities in Las Vegas, published an article by political editor Rana Goodman on the Norths. Goodman called Clark County’s guardianship system a “(legal) elder abuse racket” and urged readers to sign a petition demanding that the Nevada legislature reform the laws. More than 3,000 people signed.

Two months later, the Las Vegas Review-Journal ran an investigation, titled “Clark County’s Private Guardians May Protect—Or Just Steal and Abuse,” which described complaints against Jared Shafer going back to the early 1980s when two of his employees were arrested for stealing from the estates of dead people.

In March 2016, April Parks, her lawyer, her office manager and her husband were indicted for perjury and theft, among other charges. In a detailed summary of the investigation, Jaclyn O’Malley, who led the probe for the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, made passing references to the “collusion of hospital social workers and medical staff” who profited from their connection to Parks. Parks had a contract with six medical facilities whose staff agreed to refer patients to her. Parks often gave doctors blank certificates and told them exactly what to write in order for their patients to become her wards.

Parks is scheduled to go to trial next spring.

In the past two years, Nevada has worked to reform its guardianship system through a commission, appointed by the Nevada Supreme Court, to study failures in oversight. In 2018, the Nevada legislature will enact a new law that entitles all wards to be represented by lawyers in court. In the meantime, last spring, a man bought a storage unit in Henderson, Nevada, and discovered 27 urns—the remains of Clark County wards who had never been buried.

As for Rudy and Rennie North, they now live in what used to be their daughter Julie Belshe’s home office. Belshe is resigned to the fact that she will be supporting her parents for the rest of their lives because Parks had spent all the Norths’ money on fees—the hourly wages for her, her assistants, her lawyers, and the various contractors she hired—as well as on their monthly bills, which doubled under her guardianship.

Richard Black, whose father-in-law was placed into guardianship, is the director of a grassroots national organization, Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG). Black works with victims in dozens of “hot spots” — places where guardianship abuse is prevalent because they attract retirees: Palm Beach, Sarasota, Naples, Albuquerque, San Antonio. He said that the problems in Clark County are not unusual: “The only thing that is unique is that Clark County is one of the few jurisdictions that doesn’t seal its records, so we can see what is going on.”

~Eowyn

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48 responses to “This is America? Government-appointed guardians can sell assets of elderly without their consent

  1. This really is not surprising, the state owns us you know. What is so damned devastating to all seniors is that they can decide what’s best for you if you happen to use someone who reports to them. Unfortunately, these elderly folks are far more comfortable and able to recover in their own homes, and the purpose of these so-called guardians is to kill off the elderly and take their possessions.

    This so reminds me of a 7 part article I did on Hospice, entitled Killing Us Softly. http://newswithviews.com/Nelson/kelleigh172.htm

    It was about the different forms of hospice, and I will warn you, there is only one that I would ever hire. Dame Cicely Saunders and St. Christopher’s Hospice is the only hospice that is “sanctity of life.” Should you need one, check with any Catholic Hospice and see if they’re sanctity of life, most are.

    Unfortunately,in 1983, Medicare now pays for Hospice, and those who run the big organizations are paid in the half mil a year category. They are NOT SANCTITY OF LIFE. Once the family signs the papers, the patient belongs to the Hospice organization and they decide the dosages and how long the patient will live and if the family rejects the actions, they are told they haven’t the right any longer.

    I am absolutely appalled at the use of palliative care in instances where the patient wishes to be out of pain, but not drugged into a coma, yet the drugs are expedient for death as they suppress the respiratory system. It is very ugly.

    We have to be so careful today as we age. 50 or 60 years ago, there was still sanctity of life, today it is gone. God help us, and be wise when you make out your wills.

    Living wills were invented by the euthanasia society. You would be better off with a POA to a loved one who knows your wishes and never agree to allowing starvation and dehydration. No one wants to be fed by tubes when you’re dying of some horrible disease, but please, make sure you state that hydration must continue at the proper rate to keep the body comfortable. Dying of dehydration is a horrible death. Ask Bobbie Schindler about what his sister went through. She was on no machines, she was still there, and they murdered her through one of the most horrible deaths anyone can experience.

    God is definitely not pleased. He said in Deuteronomy, CHOOSE LIFE!
    Please choose life and be very careful as you age.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. This is where the 2nd Amendment becomes very important. I won’t elaborate more than that.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Um, I will. Some pig comes to my door demanding they’re taking control of my life and all my possessions? I’m going to introduce them to my 12-gauge. Castle Law or not, I’m defending myself and my home. And my parents’.

      Like

  3. Hope they get convicted and rot in jail! And this is why the only way the elderly can get taken care of properly is if their own flesh and blood take that responsibility. And that sounds like good, old, sound Christian values to me, families sticking together and not throwing their own away by the side of the road, discarding them like useless old shoes. Communities sticking together and taking care of their own. No wonder family values and Christian values are under attack. These vultures would starve to death without the carcasses they help spread around.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Looks like they are preparing for war. Old pissed of white guys won’t be taking any merde from these assholes.
    A great way to bring some logical thought to the elected would be to have special operator penetrate the House and Senate buildings without weapons taking them from the guards and then go down the halls and shoot every anti-second amendment fool dead in their chairs. An RPG must be reserved for Feinstein.

    Like

  5. Thank you for this important posting.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a step towards total enslavement of humanity. The motto of Jade Helm explains it well, “Mastering the Human Domain.” Smooth-talking liars have been at work for ages. Those of the Human Domain are usually hard working, honorable, honest family oriented, and patriotic, but, for a few of the “elite,” that is not enough.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: This is America? Government-appointed guardians can sell assets of elderly without their consent — Fellowship of the Minds – NZ Conservative Coalition

  8. this is one of the reasons euthanasia is being pushed so heavily by state govts…really pathetic

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I fear that this is the real reason for Euthanasia, not those claimed by some with good intention. Remember every law will be manipulated by someone for his own benefit. Euthanasia law may become the most manipulated law for $$$.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. elderly, sick, children, disabled…govt preys on us all

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Yes, this happens quite often. My father fought this issue for about the last 10-12 years of his life. It didn’t help that his son, my brother, and his wife, were in the elder care business. Terrible shame.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is SCARY! Thanks for the “heads up” Dr. Eowyn. The state of Iowa ordered my grandparents to an assisted living facility. They had $ and I was appointed guaradian. I sold their house, managed assets, paid their bills, did their grocery shopping, doc. appts, etc. Then my (drug addict/alcoholic sister and her felon husband) came to town and tried to “smear me” with the facility and the state in order to get ahold of my grandpatents money. It was a nightmare, to say the least. I literally had to threaten this woman and her husband with their lives, in order to get her to back down. They (grandparents) lived a very nice life for 10 years. So I guess my warning here is, it is not just the states, and predatory people like April Parks, but PREDATORY FAMILY MEMBERS AS WELL. I think a legal “Power of Attorney” with a trusted family member would have prevented April Parks from doing what she did.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: This is America? Government-appointed guardians can sell assets of elderly without their consent — Fellowship of the Minds | HUMANSINSHADOW.wordpress.com

  12. Given the circumstances of this outrageous practice, the thing that is so evil is that the courts are protecting these scavengers from being found out by sealing the court records. This is definitely, something that all sane people need to fight against. This Parks woman needs to be sent to the darkest, dankest, hell hole of a prison that could possibly be found for her . . . I would say a 30 year sentence would not be too short, given the fact that she has financially, and emotionally ruined the lives of many of the elderly.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sending her to prison is getting off too easy for this fat blood sucking tick.. Even though she could never come close to paying back or supporting her victims- that is what should happen. She should be put to work and her wages taken and disbursed to her victims.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lana .. . I would agree with that. Everything she owns, house, car, bank accounts, stocks bonds, every tangible item she owns should be liquidated in an attempt to replay those she stole from. Even people in jail earn some money .. . let all that be confiscated. Having her out living in society, even if he were working, is not punishment enough . . . she would still be able to drive, dine out, go to movies, etc. Unless, she were jailed, and day passes where she was released to go to work, and had to report back to the jail at a set time. That would be okay, but she just doesn’t need to be free to roam around, after the atrocities she has committed. This article also mentions “collusion by social workers, and medical personnel” . . . I think the law needs to look into these relationships and see how deeply these third parties were involved in this wholesale conspiracy to defraud these older people. This really makes my blood boil !!!

        Liked by 2 people

    • 100% agree.
      Parks should be given the maximum sentence plus extra in fees for pain & suffering and to discourage future scoundrels from attempting the same scam. She and her allies should not be allowed to keep ANY net gains from what they did. They should make full restitution of any monetary values not spent on their victims in addition to the penalty and jail time.

      Like

  13. Reblogged this on kommonsentsjane and commented:

    Reblogged on kommonsentsjane/blogkommonsents.

    Every person should read this if they have parents or grand parents or any relative that can be taken advantage of as noted in this article. There are predators scouring the horizon for the next scam which they can perpetuate on another human being.

    kommonsentsjane

    Liked by 3 people

  14. With Govn’t now running Senior Health Care, = what makes you think that Govn’t might not pay your Doctor thru the back door to “put you down.??” After-all, a $2500.oo put-down fee is far cheaper than a $25,000.oo Hospital-Medical bill for an age related health issue.. Govn’t sponsored Abortions have already “Knock-Off” near 60,000,000 pre-born, since 1964.. Does Big Govn’t now have their “EYE” focused on ways to increase later-life mortality, – and still other ways to reduce Senior Citizen Longevity..?? Will there soon be “micro-encapsulated-timed-release agents” in our Annual Flu Shot..?? Hitler did it quickly with Gas & Bullets. Will modern ways & methods be more subtle, more covert..??

    Liked by 2 people

  15. This just goes to prove we are living under a corporate dictatorship: Qui Bono? Corporations, ultimately.
    Well, we’ve tried to red-pill the sheep. It’s a numbers game. And as long as we have Judas Goats like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, there will always be enough sheep to believe George W. Bush will always be the Cat’s Meow…

    If people didn’t have the burgoiese morality middle class middle age people are known for, this would not be an issue…

    Liked by 2 people

  16. If we all kill at least one of them when they show up at the door we can’t lose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you kill them, the court will say that you are competent and should face the death penalty,on the other hand, if you don’t, the court will stick with its ruling that you are incompetent! You lose either way!

      Like

    • Elderly may think just that. If they shoot the crooks and go out in blaze of glory, their family still inherits the estate. If not, the crooks get it all.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you so much for this column, we are going through this right now with our mother. Because we live so far away, a judge, decided this would be a good solution for our mother. Now, we are finding some problems. The stress is growing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glenn47 . . . I am so sorry to hear that you are going through such a troubling period. May God Bless you to find the best way through it.

      Like

  18. In 2015, after receiving dozens of complaints and shocking testimony from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Lt. James Weiskopf of the Abuse and Neglect Detail, Clark County Chief Judge David Barker barred Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin and his appointed “Hearing Master” Jon Norheim from presiding over any additional guardianship cases. However, both Hoskin and Norheim remain on the bench adjudicating other family court cases.

    For years, Hoskin and Norheim, along with their colleague long time Family Court Judge William Voy were accused of participating in what is called the “Guardians Playbook,” a scheme to use the court to bilk wealthy local seniors and disabled persons out of their assets by declaring them wards of the court and giving a stranger total power of attorney over their person and finances until the “ward” has been drained of all their assets.  Its done through Isolating, Medicating, and Fleecing under the color of law.  Its not yet proven that local judges and hearing masters share in the largess that is estimated to total many millions of dollars per year, but an investigation is underway to determine if certain judges and hearing masters who live lavish lifestyles are willing participants. […]

    http://www.americanmafia.com/Inside_Vegas/3-27-17_Inside_Vegas.html

    Liked by 2 people

    • CP . . . thank you for bringing to the table more surrounding information regarding this evil, felonious activity. It is most unseemly that even judges have been seduced into colluding in this criminal enterprise. I do hope that it can be discontinued, and that anyone who has financially benefitted by this thievery will be brought before the law.

      I had a girlfriend from high school, whose father had remarried, and he set things up so that his second wife’s estate would be handled by an attorney for as long as she lived. The attorney was wheeling and dealing with the house, which had belonged to her father. The attorney rented the property out when the step mother went into residential care, he did NO repairs on the property, but he charged the estate a hefty sum for “handling the estate.” By the time that the step mother died, the house was used up, it was a shambles, due to lack of repairs having not been done. The only one who made out with this deal was the attorney. This makes me very suspicious of lawyers, judges, and our courts.

      Like

      • You’re welcome Auntie Lulu. Hopefully all involved will be caught and charged. Sorry to hear about your friend having to go through this too.

        Like

      • Omg, does it ever end? I am so sorry for your friend. We had all the bills on auto pay and mother had enough to cover bills. There was never a reason for anyone to touch any of her accounts. We had people feeding her and doing the lawn and a nurse checking in for appointments.

        Like

        • Sorry about your mom, Glenn47. If there’s no family around, and since she needs assistance with eating, I suggest you arrange for her to live in an assisted-living facility. Do your research to find a good facility, and arrange for someone to visit her on a regular basis to keep tabs on how she is being treated there.

          Like

          • Thank you so much, so far she can still cook and feed herself. And there is a visiting Angel coming in a few days a week and we have been looking into facilities that encourage Alzheimer’s stimulation. She still likes to talk on the phone and visit. So far she has told us she is happy in her home. All of us in the family think she was misdiagnosed but there is one family member pushing for her to have control and in the process she lost it.
            She is having a slow progression and we are thinking the our family member got a Dr. To basically rush to judgement for their agenda.

            Like

  19. Pingback: This is America? Government-appointed guardians can sell assets of elderly without their consent — Fellowship of the Minds – Suman Das Freelancer

  20. Obama built this. (Thanks, Democrats!!)

    Like

  21. Thanks for the serious education on this topic!

    All the more reason — to the best of one’s ability — to avoid doctors, nurses, hospitals, home health aids, rehabs, hospices, counselors, etc.! The whole lot of them are brainwashed via the corrupt medical/psycho/social system.

    Sure, there may be true human-angels mixed in, but the world is so corrupt otherwise, what are the odds?

    If possible, “Heal Thyself,” to the best of your ability. Make doctors a last resort unless it is someone you’ve known for a lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TPR . . . Very wise advise! You just cannot be too careful. Just because a person has a prestigious title does not mean that he/she is not a scam artist.

      Like

  22. Interesting (and strangely vague) article in Forbes today:

    “Most Trusts And Estates Practices Are Sitting On Multiple Millions Of Dollars In New Revenues,” by Russ Alan Price, Forbes, 26 October 2017
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/russalanprince/2017/10/26/most-trusts-and-estates-practices-are-sitting-on-multiple-millions-of-dollars-in-new-revenues/#32f390583a71

    Law firms should find a “steady stream of new affluent clients” but doesn’t say how, exactly, “trusts and estates practices” have their “astounding potential” to make money that way. (Knowing how progressive Forbes’ editorial slant is lately, it seems kinda peculiar together with this post.)

    Like

  23. Private high priced for profit guardians should be banned…period. It is a conflict of interest. I know a family that was forced by the court to hire a for profit guardianship company after other misguided family members tried to take control of the property and money of a mentally disabled person who was lovingly being cared for by his physically disabled sister. She was still able to care for him with assistance and he could afford assistance. In the end everyone lost a lot of time, money and love except the company, the many lawyers hired by the court and of course the sleeping uncaring judge. The good sister died distraught over the other sister’s action and so the mentally disabled person was forced out of his home into a shoddy facility where he died of a head injury within three weeks. He was over medicated and roaming around in the dark scared asking for his good sister who had passed away to take him home. Case was rather heart breaking and I along with the good sister’s kids lost complete faith in the adult probate and judicial system forever more. No one should make an excessive buck managing a sick person’s estate or life especially when there is caring family doing it for free or at a nominal cost. I served as his financial guardian for free as a favor to the family and was sickened at the private company’s excessive charges and needless costs as well as the court appointed lawyers’ too. More sickened that the often sleeping or fidgeting due to hot flashes judge did not hear the good sister repeatedly say that if they move him out of his home he will die. It seemed that thr other sister and brother in law may have wanted the house and money before their time and naievely believed the court would help them out. Instead of anyone gaining anything by going to court, the vultures in the judicial system had a feeding frenzy, especially the private guardian and court appointed lawyer guardian. Lesson to learn prepare your legal docs in advance and get along with family or at least make sure your docs are in order so you are safe from vultures later on.

    Like

    • Alexa . . . You have offered some sage advice for all of us . . . “Learn to prepare your legal docs in advance and get along with family or at least make sure your docs are in order so you are safe from vultures later on.”

      Like

  24. Pingback: This is America? Government-Appointed Guardians Can Sell Assets of Elderly Without Their Consent | The Olive Branch Report

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