Probate courts help thousands of people in Connecticut have a better future by appointing a guardian or conservator to take care of their more complex needs. It is rare when a person abuses a guardianship, but friends and family can take action if it happens.
How can a guardian abuse his or her position for personal gain?
Many adults who require a guardian or conservator may be experiencing mental illness such as dementia or other disability that prevents them from making the right decisions for themselves. If a guardian makes decisions for their own gain instead of the good of his or her ward, that constitutes financial abuse or a related problem.
What are the most common forms of abuse by guardians?
A guardian may make withdrawals, sell assets or alter investments on behalf of a ward but without a clear reason that benefits the ward. If the person for whom a guardian is responsible suffers because of this intentional behavior, the guardian may be guilty of fraud.
Why is this so concerning?
In the last five years, Connecticut has seen a 58 percent increase in mental health cases that require a guardian or conservator. As a result, the opportunity for fraud has increased even though a majority of guardians are honest and forthright in their efforts to care for people.
What is the recourse if I suspect fraud or misbehavior by a guardian or conservator?
A party connected to the ward of a guardian may go to probate court to rectify the bad appointment of a guardian. A lawsuit in civil court is also an option. Legal representation in probate court is usually a good option for people in this position.