Our Chicago guardianship litigation lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC will do everything that we can to protect the rights of dependents in Chicago. Call us if you or a loved one have faced negligent or abusive behavior at the hands of a guardian.
Critical to protecting the rights and well-being of individuals who cannot do so themselves, guardianship comes with many complex duties and responsibilities. Legal action may be required to protect the rights and well-being of their dependents if guardians fail to fulfill these responsibilities or are negligent or abusive.
If you believe that your loved one has been subject to negligence or abuse by their legal guardian, our Chicago guardianship litigation attorneys are ready to fight for you.
Guardianship Litigation Cases We Cover
Our Chicago guardianship litigation attorneys are prepared to bring legal action to put a stop to the following abuses:
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty: When a guardian breaches their duty to act honestly, honorably, and in good faith in their actions toward their ward.
- Citations to Recover and Discover Assets: We will file a citation to initiate legal action and investigate when a guardian appears to have concealed, embezzled, or possessed property belonging to a decedent.
- Elder Abuse: The exploitation of senior citizens, whether physical, financial, psychological, or otherwise.
- Financial Exploitation: The misappropriation and/or allocation of an individual’s (whether minor, adult, or senior) estate for the guardians’, trustees’, or attorney-in-fact’s personal gain.
- Removal of Executors, Guardians, Trustees and Agents under Power of Attorney: We will file proceedings to remove an executor, guardian, trustee, or agent due to malfeasance, neglect, or abuse of power over a ward.
- Validity of Powers of Attorney and other Advanced Directives: Our attorneys will litigate disputes between guardian(s) and other appointed agents, executors, attorneys-in-fact, or trustees. These disputes are often due to each party trying to claim more authority than afforded. Another cause is outside institutions not recognizing the validity of estate-planning documents in conjunction with the guardianship appointment.
Call our guardianship litigation attorneys if you suspect your loved one has been taken advantage of by their legal guardian. We will seek justice on their behalf and ensure that the rights of your loved one are upheld.
Signs of a Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Since the breach of fiduciary duty is a common form of abuse, it is important to understand how to spot it. This type of abuse is very broad and may involve problems with honesty, transparency, and trust toward your loved one. Call us if you see improper guardian actions like selling estate assets without court approval. Errors or omissions in accounting. Failure to follow the directions of a will or trust. Or personal use of trust or estate assets. Those things show that a guardian is abusing their fiduciary duty toward your loved one. This list is not exhaustive, and every situation is unique. You should consult an experienced Chicago guardianship litigation attorney from Peck Ritchey, LLC to discuss your concerns when you start having them.
Signs of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is another form of common guardian abuse when the ward is a senior citizen. Signs of this form of abuse will present differently depending on the form of abuse inflicted. The following is a non-exhaustive list of common symptoms in some of the more common elder abuse scenarios:
Physical abuse (the infliction of physical injury upon an elderly individual). Specific symptoms may include the following:
- Burn marks, sprains, fractures, other physical injuries that are seemingly unexplained or frequent
- Hair loss and poor skin maintenance
- Dehydration, malnutrition, or weight loss
- Depression, agitation, and denial of any injuries
- Soiled clothing, bedding, or environment
Psychological abuse (abuse that may be verbal or non-verbal and repetitive, which creates a cycle of fear in the victim). Specific symptoms can include the following:
- Seemingly unexplainable changes in weight (both losses and gains)
- Exhibition of a fearful sensibility around the guardian or related perpetrator
- Presentation of anxious or nervous behavior. These include repetitive behavioral actions uncommon or unusual for the ward.
- Changes in sleep cycles, including insomnia or extreme fatigue
Social abuse (the use of isolation to make an elderly ward more vulnerable and dependent upon the guardian)
- The limitation or prevention of contact between you and your loved one
- Seemingly controlled communication when it exists between you and your loved one. These include unusually short or disconnected phone calls. The withholding of your loved one’s mail. Unusual topics or tones of conversation between what is “normal” for you and your loved one in their health.
Sexual abuse (sexually abusive, inappropriate, or exploitative behavior toward an elderly ward). Specific symptoms may include the following:
- Bruising on breasts or genitals or unusual bleeding from the genital or anal area
- Unexplained and/or recurrent sexually transmitted diseases or urinary tract infections (UTI’s)
- Inappropriate behavior between the ward and the guardian or related perpetrator
- Despondency and/or mood shifts and extremes that are unusual for the ward
Elder abuse can be the result of direct and intentional actions, or it can be the result of a more subtle behavior, such as neglect. If you have noticed any of the aforementioned symptoms in your loved one, please call (855) 328-5787 today to discuss your case with one of our experienced attorneys. We will help you determine whether further action needs to be taken. Regardless of how the abuse has occurred, elder abuse is a serious issue that benefits from being addressed sooner rather than later.
Signs of Financial Exploitation
Although more subtle, financial exploitation is another form of abuse often inflicted upon wards and other individuals who have someone assigned to protect their interests and well-being. Often, this will occur or be noticed when a ward’s accountings appear abnormal. Another sign is when a ward’s property is sold or transferred with seemingly no connection or relation to the ward’s best interests or to stabilize their financial future.
Large and sudden bank withdrawals in the ward’s accounts indicate that a guardian abuses their duties toward their ward. Call us if this sounds familiar or if you have noticed these kinds of accounting issues. In that case, our experienced Chicago firm of Peck Ritchey, LLC will assess your concerns and see if action needs to be taken regarding guardian abuse.
Even more subtly, financial exploitation may also be seen and proven when it is discovered that a guardian forged financial documents for personal gain. They may have also manipulated the circumstances surrounding the creation of a Power of Attorney, trusts, or a will to ensure their own interests are met, not the ward’s or protected individual’s interests.
This is a concern if you have seen a signature that does not seem quite right. Or representations appear regarding property that does not seem normal for the ward or protected person. In either case, you should call our office today to schedule a consultation and obtain the legal help you need to resolve your legal issue(s).
What to Do If You Suspect Abuse
Call us if you believe a guardian abuses their power over a ward. You should also contact relevant enforcement agencies (APS, CPS, police, insurance or financial regulation agencies, etc.) Contact our Chicago attorney. We can represent your loved one’s best interests. At Peck Ritchey, LLC, we have the experience and knowledge to assess your case and do just that for victims of guardian abuse.
Why You Need an Attorney
While it may seem like you can address the issues that you and your loved one are facing with an abusive guardian, the task is really best left to an attorney. This area of law, combined with the nature and nuance of each new situation, is complex. It requires the experience of a seasoned estate-planning attorney. The best way to ensure your and your loved ones’ rights are protected and the abuse stops is to contact a Chicago firm with a history of obtaining winning results.
Contact a Chicago Guardianship Litigation Lawyer to Learn More
At Peck Ritchey, LLC, our Chicago guardianship litigation attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of Chicago individuals who have been subjected to a guardian’s negligence or abuse. Our Chicago guardianship litigation lawyers can help you understand what legal options you may have if you would like to contest the guardianship of one of your loved ones. To discuss the particulars of your circumstances with one of our skilled Chicago lawyers today, please call (855) 328-5787.