When a Family matter turns into a business pt 2

The reporters of the Los Angeles Times highlighted several cases where vulnerable people have ended up in the hands of professional guardians or conservators. The first case mentioned is that of Helen Jones, a penny pincher who has always managed to look after herself to the point that she had sufficient money to take care of her needs in her old age. Helen had lived independently in her own little home, that is until a professional conservator by the name of Melodie Scott walked into her life, and Helen was tricked into signing a piece of paper that ended up seeing her declared as someone who could not look after herself.

Helen is not allowed to spend her own money, but Melodie Scott has been helping herself to Helen's estate as she has been bleeding this elderly and vulnerable adult dry. Of the $560,000 that Helen had saved for the expenses of old age, Melodie Scott has managed to acquire more than $200,000 that is allegedly for fees, as well as appliances that are not required, and around the clock help that is also not required. Ms Scott even managed to find a medical file that allegedly stated that Helen was a schizophrenic, thus allowing the conservator have Helen declared mentally incompetent to care for herself. There was even an attempt to force Helen to take medication that she did not require. At 87 years of age Helen Scott needs something better than a professional conservator who is helping herself to Helen's estate.

In some ways the situation in Los Angeles is no different than the situation in Florida because the oversight of the conservators or guardians is in the hands of the probate court. There is always the possibility that California will have its own version of George Greer from Pinellas county, waiting for an opportunity to become infamous as he or she rules against a vulnerable adult and agrees to oversight having the person put to death, in the same manner as Terri Schindler was put to death by her adulterous husband. What is of real concern is that the oversight of the guardian conservators has been equally lax such that a professional but unregulated industry has been allowed to grow, and the professionals have been enriching themselves at the expense of vulnerable elderly adults. There is more regulation for hairdressers than for guardianship professionals. This is a criminal situation because not even family members are allowed to have a say once a professional guardian has stepped into the picture.

Before Melodie Scott walked into her life, Helen Jones always kept her records in accordian files. Her bills were always paid promptly and she managed to take herself to the bank and the laundromat. She kept a close wathch on her finances, never spending in an unnecessary manner. However, once Scott walked into her life, Scott has spent money on air conditioning, a new refrigerator and a new stove. She limited Helen to spending money of $50 per fortnight, whilst she spent up Jones's money on paying Scott's own sister to paint Jones' house. Further money was wasted on a Christmas tree, that was unnecessary because one already existed in the garage. Yet Scott had unlimited access to Helen's money because a judge decreed that Helen Jones could not look after herself.

Helen Jones has suffered much in the way of indignities since Melodie Scott moved into her life. When Helen's brother passed away due to a bout of pneumonia, Helen did not want him cremated. However, as soon as the funeral home found out that Helen had a conservator, they phoned Melodie Scott, and instead of a coffin, Helen discovered that the burial was to be for an urn with her brother's ashes. This is something that is so personal, and Melodie Scott had no right to order the cremation of Helen's brother instead of a proper burial.

Helen's case is just the tip of a new iceberg in California, for the industy of professional guardians has been growing, and now more than 15% of vulnerable adults who require guardians end up in the hands of these blood-sucking leechlike professionals such as Melodie Scott.

To be continued

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