If you think your loved one’s guardian abused or took advantage of them somehow, contact Peck Ritchey, LLC immediately. We can help you pursue legal action against the negligent individual responsible for your family member’s care. Let us be their advocates and fight to protect their health and safety.
Dependent adults often require assistance handling their affairs when they can no longer care for themselves. An appointed guardian is responsible for seeing that their ward’s basic needs are met and managing certain aspects of the older individual’s life. Unfortunately, abuse and other negligent actions harm the people guardians are supposed to keep safe. When that happens, you can file a lawsuit to recover lost assets, remove them as a guardian, or hold them liable for the injuries they caused.
At Peck Ritchey, LLC, our team of dedicated Northbrook guardianship litigation attorneys is ready to help you in the fight for justice. We understand how overwhelming it can be to get your loved one the care they need while pursuing a legal case. You don’t have to do both. We can handle the lawsuit so you can focus on finding a better guardian.
Call Peck Ritchey, LLC at (855) 328-5787 today for your free consultation and learn more about your available legal options.
Common Types of Guardianship Cases
Peck Ritchey, LLC represents Northbrook clients in various legal matters involving guardianship. The most common types of guardianship cases we take include:
- Elder abuse – Elder abuse is a caregiver’s negligent, intentional, or knowing act that harms or causes a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. Abuse can take many forms, including physical, sexual, and financial, among others.
- Removing a trustee, guardian, executor, power of attorney, or agent – You could pursue legal action to have a person removed as guardian or another type of legal authority for abuse of power, neglect, or malfeasance.
- Financial exploitation – Someone who misappropriates or allocates another person’s estate for their own personal gain commits financial exploitation. Dependent adults are common targets because they often cannot speak for themselves or don’t notice these types of incidents.
- Citation to discover and recover assets – Filing a citation might be necessary if you believe your family member’s guardian possessed, embezzled, or concealed property belonging to their ward. You can petition the court to investigate and determine if there was any misconduct.
- Breach of fiduciary duty – A fiduciary duty is a legal relationship between two people that grants one the power to act in the other’s interests. When a guardian breaches their fiduciary duty, it means they fail to act honestly, in good faith, and honorably while carrying out their obligations.
- Validity of advanced directive or power of attorney – One party might attempt to claim more authority over another, whether an attorney-in-fact, guardian, trustee, agent, or executor. Disputes might arise that call someone’s authority into question. Sometimes, an outside institution doesn’t recognize an estate document as valid if it grants a person responsibility over an older adult’s care.
If you suspect your loved one’s guardian engaged in illegal or negligent conduct, do not hesitate to contact Peck Ritchey, LLC. Our guardianship litigation attorneys in Northbrook, IL, are familiar with guardianship laws and how to litigate these cases in court.
Common Elder Abuse Warning Signs
Older adults are vulnerable to abuse and neglect. The warning signs of specific types of abuse are apparent. However, some forms aren’t as noticeable. It’s critical to watch for the most common warning signs, so you know whether your loved one is the victim of abuse.
Social abuse occurs when an older adult becomes more dependent because their caretaker isolates them. The most common warnings signs of social abuse include:
- Controlling interactions between an elderly person and their family, such as deciding the topics acceptable for discussing and prematurely ending a phone call
- Withholding mail and other digital or written correspondence between the family and their loved one
- Preventing people from contacting the dependent adult
- Limiting the elder’s access to activities and social events they enjoy
Psychological abuse is the repeated use of nonverbal and verbal actions to inflict psychological distress, pain, or anguish. Warning signs typically involve changes in mood, such as:
- Appearing fearful of the guardian
- Insomnia and other sleep-related issues
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities
Sexual abuse involves forced and unwanted sexual activity with an older adult. The most common signs of sexual abuse include:
- Diagnosis of a new sexually transmitted disease (STD)
- Bleeding or bruising in the anal or genital area
- Sudden or unusual mood changes
- Inappropriate behavior between a dependent adult and their guardian
Physical abuse is intentionally causing harm or bodily injury to another person. Warning signs often include:
- Weight loss
- Unexplained physical injuries
- Changes in mood
Common Signs of Financial Exploitation
Looking for signs of financial exploitation is challenging, especially if a guardian is the only person with access to financial information. You might be able to discover whether financial exploitation has occurred if you pay close attention to specific warning signs.
One of the most common warning signs of financial exploitation is the transfer or sale of a dependent adult’s assets without their consent or legal documentation of the activity. If you review the transaction, you might notice that it doesn’t support a financially stable future for your loved one or meet their interests.
Another common sign is frequent or significant bank account withdrawals. You should check your family member’s accounts regularly if you have the login information. Keeping an eye on the activity could alert you to potential misconduct. A sudden change to any passwords for accounts you’re allowed to access could also signify financial exploitation.
Warning Signs for Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Older adults appoint guardians to handle their assets when they can no longer manage their own finances. The most common warning signs of a breach of fiduciary duty include:
- Failing to follow the instructions outlined in a will or trust
- Selling assets held by the estate without seeking court approval
- Using property, money, or assets for personal gain
- Errors or omissions in accounting procedures
At Peck Ritchey, LLC, our guardianship litigation attorneys in Northbrook, IL, have over 100 years of combined legal experience. We believe in representing people suffering harm because of someone’s abusive behavior. You won’t have to go through the complicated process of seeking justice for your loved one alone. We will remain by your side during every step and provide the necessary legal representation and guidance.
If you believe your loved one is the victim of abuse by their guardian or another party, call Peck Ritchey, LLC at (855) 328-5787 for your free consultation today.