Being a guardian is more than just a legal responsibility. Being a guardian puts a person in a position of trust and compassion. When a guardian takes advantage of their position or fails to uphold their duties and responsibilities, someone needs to step in. That someone can be a Des Plaines guardianship attorney with Peck Ritchey, LLC.
We are committed to standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. We are aggressive when it comes to protecting the rights of the elderly and their dependents. Being a legal guardian can be complicated. However, failing to do what’s right and neglecting important duties cannot be tolerated. The same is true when a guardian abuses their position for personal gain. At Peck Ritchey, LLC, we will use the legal system to fight for you and your family.
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused, neglected, or taken advantage of by their legal guardian, get in touch with a Des Plaines guardianship attorney today. Call our office at (855) 328-5787 to schedule your confidential and free case evaluation.
Types of Guardianship Litigation Cases We Cover
Guardianship litigation is a broad area of practice that covers a wide range of legal issues. When a guardian abuses their position of trust, is physically or financially abusive, or neglectful of their duties, it may be time for an experienced lawyer to step in and help a family resolve their issues. Some of the problems that may require legal intervention include:
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty. This sounds like complicated legal jargon. Essentially, breach of fiduciary duty comes down to a guardian’s failure to act honestly or in good faith when it comes to the needs of their ward.
- Elder Abuse. Elder abuse is the mistreatment of older individuals either physically, sexually, emotionally, or financially.
- Financial Exploitation. Guardians oversee sensitive financial information. Misappropriating a ward’s money, assets, or property holdings for the guardian’s gain requires legal intervention.
- Citations to Recover and Discover Assets. A citation may need to be filed and investigated when it appears that a guardian has attempted to conceal, embezzle, or possess the property or assets that rightfully belonged to a ward.
- Removal of Executors, Guardians, Trustees, and Agents under Power of Attorney. At Peck Ritchey, LLC, we also handle cases that require attempting to remove a person from their position as guardian over their ward due to neglect, abuse, or malfeasance.
- Validity of Powers of Attorney and other Advanced Directives. When there are disputes between a guardian and other legal agents, it may be necessary to challenge the validity of a person’s authority over their ward.
Guardianship cases can be complicated. Simply put, if you are worried that a loved one is being taken advantage of in any way, contact a skilled Des Plaines attorney immediately.
Signs of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is one of the most common types of guardianship abuse. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that every year, at least ten percent of people over the age of 65 will experience some form of abuse. Elder abuse is any act or failure to act that can jeopardize the health and safety of an elderly individual. When people think of elder abuse, they typically think of physical abuse. However, not all abuse leaves physical scars. There are several different types of elder abuse. Learning to spot the warning signs of each form is crucial for the protection of elderly individuals.
Physical Abuse. Physical abuse is any form of physical contact that causes an elderly individual bodily harm. Signs of physical abuse can include:
- Unexplained cuts or bruises
- Broken bones
Psychological or Emotional Abuse. Emotional abuse is much more challenging to spot. Emotional abuse can consist of verbal threats, insults, humiliation, or intimidation tactics. Symptoms of emotional abuse may include:
- Withdrawal from family, friends, or favorite activities
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Lack of eye contact
- Mood swings
Sexual Abuse. Sexual abuse is any form of unwanted sexual contact between a guardian and an elderly individual. Sexual abuse can also take place between a guardian and a ward who is unable to give consent due to cognitive or physical limitations. Signs of sexual abuse can include:
- Blood on undergarments
- Blood on bedsheets
- Sudden trouble sitting or standing
- Sudden diagnosis with a sexually transmitted infection
- Bruises on the legs or thighs
Financial Abuse. Financial abuse and financial exploitation are often lumped together. Financial abuse occurs when a guardian takes advantage of an elderly individual for their own financial gain. Abuse can happen through theft, embezzlement, scams, pyramid scheme, fake investments, and forgery. Things to look for to spot financial abuse include:
- Changes in an elderly individual’s financial situation
- Sudden inability to pay bills
- Missing property or heirlooms
While the signs of abuse can sometimes be hard to spot, you are your family member’s best advocate. If you notice changes in mood, appearance, hygiene, or overall health, share your concerns with an experienced Des Plaines attorney. Elder abuse is serious and can be fatal.
Although it can be challenging to share your suspicions with someone, rest assured that the legal team at Peck Ritchey, LLC takes claims of abuse extremely seriously. Talk to our office, and we can help you determine the next steps that need to be taken to protect your loved one.
What to Do If You Suspect Abuse
If you suspect abuse, you need to help your family member before a bad situation gets worse. If a family member is in immediate or life-threatening danger, do not hesitate to call local law enforcement.
Illinois also has resources that you can turn to if you have suspicions that some form of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation is taking place. There is an entire branch of state government dedicated to helping elderly individuals in abusive situations. Caseworkers can investigate abusive situations and work with families to resolve potential problems.
Contact a Des Plaines Guardianship Litigation Lawyer Today
A guardian has some legal power over the well-being of your family member. If you suspect that a guardian is abusive, neglectful, or is not adhering to their duties in good faith, you need to contact an experienced guardianship litigation lawyer. Do not allow the abuse to continue another day.
At Peck Ritchey, LLC, we will review your situation and discuss your legal options for protecting your loved one. We understand that a guardian could be someone close to you or your family member. Call our office, and we can set up a free and completely confidential consultation to talk about your case.