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Who can address guardianship abuse complaints?

On Behalf of | Jul 17, 2023 | Guardianships And Conservatorships

People who need to enter guardianship usually have medical conditions making them incapacitated. Due to their illnesses or impairments, these individuals are vulnerable and prone to mistreatment, neglect or abuse by their guardians. Fortunately, anyone could report potential guardianship abuse to the authorities.

However, responding to these reports could vary based on the case details. Some abuse complaints require immediate legal action to protect the victim. However, some incidents require monitoring and further investigation to reveal evidence of the abuse. It means various government agencies could respond to and address guardianship abuse allegations, including the following:

  • Adult protection services: They are usually relevant to mistreatment cases.
  • Protection and advocacy systems: These organizations protect and uphold the rights of people with disabilities.
  • Long-term care ombudsmen: This entity has authority if the ward resides in a nursing home or long-term care facility. They usually receive and investigate abuse, neglect and mistreatment complaints involving a resident.
  • Law enforcement agencies: Guardianship abuse could lead to criminal violations. Authorities could receive complaints and report the incident to adult protective services as needed.
  • Attorneys: Taking immediate legal action is valid for specific forms of guardianship abuse. Civil attorneys could address allegations of fraud, undue influence and other offenses.
  • Federal government agencies: The guardian could be a Social Security representative for the ward. If so, the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General or the Office of the Inspector General could receive reports of abuse.
  • Professional licensing boards: State boards could investigate guardianship cases involving professional guardians. They could also enforce disciplinary actions or penalties, such as license revocation.

These organizations could address incidents of abuse. However, the court has full authority to impose orders affecting the guardian.

Protecting wards’ rights

Wards might have limited physical capacities and channels to report neglect or abuse. Fortunately, family, friends and other individuals could help notify authorities about potentially abusive guardianships to protect the rights of wards.

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