Saturday, August 2, 2014

How long is Michigan going to continue to allow Court appointed Guardians or Conservators to Destroy Veteran families and Steal Veterans Assets?

How many times have I heard this in the last 5 years? A man goes to the Michigan Veterans Home in Grand Rapids, Mi, and with in a few months a court appointed guardian or conservator, has been imposed upon him and his family.

Yes I said family,  as they have to deal with that guardian/conservator as well. And it can be a very highly charged emotional experience as well as very aggravating when you find out that the courts that are supposed to be protecting your rights are violating them and making things worse not better.

And for the rest of this article G/C will mean Guardian and/or a Conservator that is court appointed.

Either way the fact remains that these people are Court appointed Agents. We haven't quite figured out who they are an agent for except perhaps the courts themselves; or maybe the law industry in general. (Meaning judges, clerks, court administration, lawyers, paralegals and CPA's, ect..)

Either way the G/C is a curse upon freedom. They are rarely held accountable for what they do and under Michigans current laws, it is difficult if not impossible to hold them accountable for the damages they do to families and the very people they are supposed to be helping.

And the Michigan Veterans home LOVES to get G/C's imposed on veterans.

As soon as the court appoints a G/C, any power of attorney issued by the veteran to his wife, or other family member is immediately nullified, many times without any hearing or without showing cause as to why that person should no longer be allowed to exercise the power of attorney given to them by the veteran.

This in effect stops the family members from having any say in how their veteran relative is treated, or how his/her money should be spent and for what purposes. The family is effectively shut out of the veterans life except as a visitor IF the G/C even allows that to happen.

On no less than 6 occasions I heard family members complain the G/C was preventing them from seeing their family member. In 3 cases I saw complaints of G/C removing spousal support; support that the wife of the veteran depended upon and had since the day they got married over 30+ years before. The wives were left with nothing, and instantly became financial widows.

If a veteran does not like what the guardian is doing he can fight it by petitioning the courts. Case after case, I have seen this result in the veteran being put on "anger drugs" when the court refuses to remove the G/C, and the veteran gets angry that his freedom and his right to choose and right to consent is being removed from him by some black robbed thug sitting behind a bench claiming to be upholding American Justice.

The staff at the home forces the veteran to take the anger drugs or they impose punishments on him.  Sometimes they end up making him take even stronger "zombie" drugs. This is shameful, but is standard operating procedure at the Vets Home.  And for several years it was done without qualified medical people. I wonder how many wrongful deaths occurred because of that?

Veterans will find their power chairs or power scooters taken away from them as punishment if they do not take prescribed drugs, or for other behavioral violations such as returning to their unit too late or for going down the hall way too fast when no one else is in the hallway or for any other number of so called reasons.

The fact is when the staff does this, it is not right. The Scooter or power chair is the veterans property and the home takes it from them as punishment??? That is thievery at the very least and is a CRIME. It should also be seen as harassment and abuse of the Veteran. Yet this happens almost daily at the Vets Home.

The only exemption to this is if the power scooter or chair being used is one that belongs to the Home itself; then the home has the right to take it. 

How many times have I heard a Veteran or his wife tell me that the G/C is trying to force them to get a divorce? Just about every time. And I think I know why. So they don't have to use the veterans money to pay for the spouse. Because its easier to care for one person, the veteran which is what they are being paid to do. They do not feel they should have to care for the spouse, as they are not getting paid to do that; or are they? When they take on the responsibility of being G/C for the veteran that means they take on the responsibilities that the veteran had, which may include caring for a spouse.  But if the guardian doesn't like the spouse, or thinks the spouse is abusing the veteran, (with out any proof) the guardian can use any of the veterans assets to pay for a lawyer to force a divorce on the two people, even if neither party wants it! Now explain that to me. Explain how that is helping the veteran?   (Yes this is directed at you Murkowski.)

G/C's can spend unlimited amounts of the veterans money for a divorce lawyer, that does nothing. This has happened to at least 4 veterans that I know of at the home.

When the Veteran tells the G/C he doesn't want the divorce, the G/C may think the wife is influencing the Veterans opinion and get a court order banning the wife from having any contact with her husband. All without a hearing where the wife has the opportunity to speak openly without fear of reprisal from the so called presiding Judge.  In 2 cases, wives were kept apart from their husbands for over 14 months.

In 4 cases, the veterans tried with their wives, to get the G/C's removed. In 1 case the G/C was removed and a daughter was appointed G/C. In another the guardian was removed completely. In the other 2 cases, the judge refused to remove the G/C yet did not explain why and when asked in one case, the judge replied he didn't have to explain his decision.

Can you see why some veterans get angry with staff and G/C's? Well, an angry vet is a dangerous vet, in some cases  - but not all. Vets with PTSD  can go off at any time when angered, so the home forces the vet to take "anger medication".  Medication designed to keep them calm even if they have the right to be angry. This creates a lot of unnecessary stress for the veteran. And many times the application of the drugs is done without proper supervision of qualified medical personnel. 

Some of the drugs are psychotropic drugs that require a certified licensed Psychiatrist be on staff. Well the home hasn't had one since before 2010 that I am aware of.  And yet many veterans were on those kinds of drugs, both in Nursing and Dorm Units.

In the case of a Veteran with a G/C, the veteran is forced to take the drugs, even if doing so goes against the will of the Veteran.

Most of these drugs turn the guys into zombies, and side effects are not monitored as closely as they should be.

In one case, a veteran stopped taking one of those zombie drugs, and for months was spitting it out. Then at a care conference the staff said he was doing great not knowing he was not on the drug.
Only after this veteran went to Outside hospital, did the home find out and when they did, they went ballistic. They made him take the drug he did not need, and their excuse was that he had had anger issues in the past. A few weeks later the man was dead because of what that drug did to him.

The G/C, the medical staff at the home, are responsible for the early death of this veteran, and several others for the same reasons: Forcing them to take medications they do not need.

Also, Veterans at the home do not have the same opportunity as other veterans to go get a second medical opinion if they disagree with the homes medical staff. For the veteran to be able to go over to the vets clinic located next door to the home, they have to get the ok from the home's medical staff. And that doesn't happen very often.

And if the Veteran has a G/C assigned to them, the veteran can't go out on his own to a private doctor at any of the medical centers here in town or anywhere else in Michigan, to get a second opinion.
This is not right either.

If a G/C is challenged and a Petition is presented to the Court for their removal, exparte communication between the G/C and the Judge happens where the G/C is given permission to use the Veteran's money the G/C has control of to pay for any and all legal expenses related to the termination of the G/C. If the Veteran wants to have his G/C removed, his money is used by the G/C for them to keep their job.

In addition, the G/C has control of how medical bills are paid. If the G/C chooses not to use the Veterans insurance, they can make that choice as they control the veterans finances and often this ends up leaving a huge bill for the family. An unnecessary bill for the family that also creates even more distress and anger.

In the case of Veterans at the Home, the G/C may see several different veterans in one day yet she will charge each veteran with individual mileage to and from the Home. In most cases, the G/C does not keep a vehicle log. Many G/C's do not keep proper receipts. When the ward of a G/C dies, the G/C does not contact the family. The extended family is contacted though. It is not uncommon for the G/C to make funeral arrangements for the veteran without informing family members, or the veterans wife. In several cases they did not find out until after their loved one died.

There are cases when a G/C is necessary. When a spouse and children are active in the life of an incapacitated adult, they need to be included in every decision regarding the ward. At the Grand Rapids Home(?) for Veterans, the Home does not like it when anybody other than the G/C inquires about a veteran.  The home will refuse to let a wife know what is going on with her husband. The veteran's children are told nothing, all at the whim of the G/C.

And the term incapacitated is a joke. Many times, the courts will label a veteran with this. The veteran may be totally coherent but if a judge decides to the contrary, the veteran loses. I know of one instance where a judge ruled a veteran legally incapacitated because "he didn't know how much money he received every month". To hear a judge scream this in court as his basis for making the incapacitation judgement is ridiculous. This fallacy of the judge hits home when you consider that in many cases, the amount of revenue a veteran obtains each month can change, due to changing benefits being received from several different sources. Some times its hard to keep track of it all. 

The Psychiatric hospital south of town called Pine Rest makes an evaluation that the Courts use to decide if a veteran needs a G/C. Many times, a veteran has poor motor control in his upper extremities. If this veteran is told to draw a clock and doesn't make the clock in detail with little arrows and numbers, he fails the test. When they are told to draw a person and the veteran draws a stick figure, they fail the test. You got to wonder how detailed Pine Rest wants this figure to be

The fact is the G/C laws in Michigan are old, outdated and need to be scrapped and re-written for the benefit of the people who get burdened with them. They are destroying lives and families. Right now these laws only benefit the people imposing and administering them.

How much longer are the people of Michigan going to allow this to continue?

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