Rick Black, Executive Director – CEAR, is
one of America’s leading activists and commentators spotlighting the abusive practices in the
conservatorship, guardianship and trust industries. Rick leadership at CEAR (Center for Estate
Administration Reform) provides strong national advocacy for legal reformation of fiduciary
abuse at the state and federal levels. Rick’s efforts include strong support for
the legislative reform set out in the proposed Guardianship Accountability Act in bills pending
in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Among the bills’ initiatives are a requirement
that the federal Elder Justice Coordinating Council create a National Online Resource
Center on Guardianship for the publication of resources and data relating to court-determined
adult guardianships. In California, a legal guardianship for an
adult is called a conservatorship. The basic rules are the same as to what other
states call adult guardianships. Whether called a plenary, full, general or
limited conservatorship or guardianship, Rick points out that they “fundamentally remove
all rights from an individual and transfer all powers over an individual, by court order,
of their estate and person to a third party.” Rick has some suggestions for changes to the
pending bills that will help provide greater transparency to the entire process. CEAR urges that the federal classification
system should identify and/or classify conservatorships/guardianship as voluntary versus involuntary. The conservators/guardians should be identified
as professionals (for fees) versus nonprofessionals. Groups like CEAR are in a collective effort
to reform the system that has allowed some fraudulent guardians or conservators to target
trustees or beneficiaries of trusts for conservators/guardians to intercept the trust assets and liquidate
them for the benefit of people other than the ward or conservatee. Family members are often shocked when they
see family assets rapidly dwindling under huge guardianship/conservatorship expenses. Challenges to these guardians/conservators
are expensive and procedurally challenging. Hats off to Rick Black and the U.S. Senators
and Congress members who are working to correct abuses rampant in our conservatorship/guardianship
system. I must note that it is rare that we at Hackard
Law take conservatorship or guardianship cases. This is a relatively narrow area of law that
others focus on. At Hackard Law we focus on representing clients
in trust, estate, probate and elder financial abuse cases. We regularly represent international, national
and California clients in California’s largest urban probate and civil courts, including
Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa and Sacramento Counties. Our efforts are directed to taking substantial
cases where we think that we can make a significant difference and there is a wrongdoer who can
be made financially accountable for their wrongdoing or breach of duty. If you would like to speak with us about your
case, call us at Hackard Law – 916 313-3030. Thank you for listening.