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How the Elderly Lose Their Rights (newyorker.com)
726 points by CommieBobDole 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 251 comments

This is terrifying, I have elderly parents and I hope that they would call me if something like this happened to them but I don't doubt that they could get ambushed and something hard-to-unwind could happen.

The crux of the problem seems to be that the State allows guardians to profit from their arrangement. It's ludicrous that courts enforce guardian's financial claims against people who are presumed to be incapable of independence.

Edit - it looks like April Park was doing things illegally. She's facing >200 felony charges:


IANAL but If you want to fix this get your parents to sign a power of attorney over to you.

Free legal advice: Make sure it is a "durable power of attorney". In many jurisdictions a simple PoA expires when the person becomes incompetent. Most lawyers will understand the difference and get you the right type, but anyone trying to do it themselves with junk online forms might miss the distinction.

Yes, absolutely essential. Best done with a reputable elder law attorney who can walk you through all the complex messes that can occur when old folks transition to assisted living and skilled nursing.

The next step after POA is getting it filed with the banks so that you can monitor everything that happens and intervene as needed.

Does this mean sending a copy to literally every bank? Dozens of major ones? Or just banks which your parents have a relationship with? Is there a central authority for this sort of thing?

No, sorry I wasn't clear, just the bank(s) that your parent has accounts in.

> IANAL but If you want to fix this get your parents to sign a power of attorney over to you.

If you are said parent, which of the kids do you absolutely trust to never ever screw you over no matter how much incentive there is and no matter how hard a times they fall on?

That's what I'm worried about when getting old(er). You give your trust to an amazing person in their 40's with the best of lives. They'll take care of you. Then they fall on hard times 10 years later and oh hey look they have power of attorney over all this money maybe if they help themselves juuuuuust a little bit ...

When I was 10 my dad drained my and my sister's savings[1] account that way. Just a little, just to get over the hump in his business, he'll put it all back later of course. 20 years later and afaik he still hasn't.

Having access to other people's money when you have none of your own is terrible. I don't know if I'd trust myself with that, let alone somebody else.

[1] of course it wasn't really our savings, think of it more like a college fund my parents started for each kid when they were born

> If you are said parent, which of the kids do you absolutely trust to never ever screw you over no matter how much incentive there is and no matter how hard a times they fall on?

From the purely optimization viewpoint your "never ever" is too strict. This just has to be less likely and/or less damaging (however you want to choose a utility function) than losing your marbles and getting into a professional con artist's net.

Everyone's case is different, but I personally would never take my parents money for my own goals; same for my siblings and their kids. Maybe it is just my experience, but I grew up in a strong culture of "kids first"; parents are always sacrificing something for kids and that was seen as normal. If my parents had money and knew that my kids were hungry I have absolutely no doubt that they would push it to feed their grandkids before I ask.

Not to criticize your post (I think you are being unfairly downvoted), but mentally running a check on how would I feel today if I were in my 80s, totally incompetent, and my kids wanted to steal my money. Heck, in that case I do not know what I would live for -- kids, take whatever I still have, use it for your family and put me out of my misery.

I think your problem is with your mentality of "my money" when it comes to you vs your children. I cannot even understand that to be honest.

In cultures where children are expected to take care of their aging parents, it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that the child who ends up taking care of them gets to inherit most of the estate.

> I think your problem is with your mentality of "my money" when it comes to you vs your children. I cannot even understand that to be honest.

Why? It's one thing when they're children, sure if I had kids I'd do everything for them (which is why I don't have them). But when they're in their 40s or 50s and still trying to mooch off me? Screw that.

"Mooch off you"? My grandfather isn't in the best shape (he was diagnosed with alzheimer's last year) and I want to make sure the few years he has left, he can enjoy them (even if he won't remember everything).

My mom has one brother, and I'm an only child, so I will (probably) indirectly inherit a decent amount of his wealth. And yet, I couldn't care less.

Yes, an inheritance is nice to receive. But I'd give it up in a heartbeat if it meant having a person you love around for another 10+ years.

That's awful and I'm sorry.

Thanks. :( That's life I guess -- you play the hand you're dealt.

> "Mooch off you"?

Yes, as per my original post where I specifically said the hypothetical person in question takes the money for their own needs, not for the needs of the person whom they have power of attorney over.

Regardless of age, that should never happen. People who abuse power of attorney (and especially if family) are horrible people (and yet, I am aware, there are many).

My tax lawyer told me a story about how some guy, who was appointed by the courts to handle the affairs of older people who were unable to, abused said privilege and went ahead and purchased himself a new luxury car, furniture etc using funds from the people he was supposed to protect. I don't get how people end up doing things like that..

Yup, that's beyond horrible.

But not something I'd be worried about when it comes to family. I think I can trust them enough for that.

The part that worries me is when people get pressed between a rock and a hard place. It is exceptionally difficult to keep your hands out of the honey jar sitting in your lap when you're starving.

My great uncle was basically robbed by his own daughter, and his daughter had money to begin with. She had power of attorney and sold everything he owned out from underneath him while his wife (her mother) was dying in the hospital of cancer. It took everything he had left to defend himself from becoming stuck in a home. I don't know the awful woman that did this to him, but obviously my great uncle thought he could trust his daughter (his daughter!) enough not to steal everything he owned and sell it. You cannot trust family. Honestly, I would rather set up a trust of some kind that is very explicit about my elder care, which has this durable power of attorney even if/when I'm not there anymore mentally. Blood is a terrible reason to make any business arrangement in our culture. We are trained to be lone wolves from the beginning in American culture. I don't understand how people can then years later come around and act like their children can be trusted not to be lone wolves when it comes to their care.

American culture puts a lot of emphasis on being self-sufficient, yes, but most of us aren't raised to put our needs ahead of what is right.

When my grandfather died a year ago, I found out that he and my grandmother had set up a special CD for my brother to get when they both die, but not one for me. My response was basically "Well, he has a wife and two kids, and he's a teacher. I'm single, working in IT, and living overseas. They obviously felt that he needs it more than I do, and they're probably right."

None of us are perfect, but a majority are still decent.

> We are trained to be lone wolves from the beginning in American culture. I don't understand how people can then years later come around and act like their children can be trusted not to be lone wolves when it comes to their care.

Well, presumably the parents knew how they raised their children and what examples they set.

And I really mean it by examples -- children pay a lot more attention to what their parents do than what they claim to do. E.g. I think I'd be fine trusting my future kids if they see me responsibly taking care of my parents. If not though, all bets are off.

The alternative is my grandmother with severe alzheimer's. In her mid 70s and in very poor health, someone sold her a 30 year annuity for the vast majority of her savings. It took the family a year in court to undo the transaction.

This is how I think about this: I want my children to benefit from the fruit of my labor. I would like to help them enjoy their lives even after they become adults, so long as my help does not impact their sense of independence. I will enjoy (indeed love) seeing them benefit from my savings and I don't want anyone to even subconsciously wait for my death so that they can get the estate. If I were incapacitated one day I hope my children will prioritize their own needs over mine (the current "me" will no longer really be there). My first wish is not to be a burden to them. Of course I will want to make this all clear in writing so they won't need to face any moral dilemma.

My kids are not adults yet. I hope my feelings towards them won't change as they mature. It will be my own greatest failing if somehow I lose my love for them and I won't be happy no matter how much wealth I have left.

Couldn't you get a durable power of attorney that only comes into effect once you become "incapacitated?" If you can, I'd imagine that I'd protect against this kind of abusive guardianship without being vulnerable to the problems you outlined.

That’s called a springing power of attorney. I don’t remember the specifics but my estate attorney warned against doing that.

> When I was 10 my dad drained my and my sister's savings[1] account that way.

Is this a typo? At least in my state minors cannot own anything -- their guardians do. Therefore it would have never been yours to begin with. Even then, who is 10 and has enough money to float a business?

> Even then, who is 10 and has enough money to float a business?

I don't know how much was in there, but say my parents were putting in $10 every month. By the time I was 10 that would be around $1200. In a country where median income back then was probably around $15000 that's 1 month's salary. Plenty to tie one over when they're low on cash and see a paid invoice just around the corner.

I'm sure he did it with the best of intentions and with full intent to put it back in just a short while.

My point is that when you are strapped for funds and you have full legal access to somebody else's funds, it can be hard to resist.

This is why I am not putting anything into my kids "savings". They are not their saving they are mine. Period. If for tax reason I have to do it I will never tell them about it.

Of course he should have used that money, it was his. Not to mention you most likely benefitted quite a bit from his business surviving. If that concept is not something he explained to you then he failed as parent in other ways.

Well it also lead (among other things) to my parent’s divorce and me and my sister growing up in a single parent home with a dad who claims he’s too broke to pay child support. Afaik he still owes my mum most of it and has turned to skirting the law to get out of debt collector crosshairs.

The problem isn’t that he took the money. The problem is how he did it (unilaterally and without discussion with other people whose money it also was)

And his business did not survive so I didn’t benefit from that either.

So yeah, how was that good for me again?

It's fairly common around the world that minors can and do own bank accounts - usually tied to a guardian but the money is nominally 'theirs'.

My 3yo niece has about 2000AUD in her bank account, from various gifts through her short life so far.

I created this account to say: I have parents like yours. My parents took money from me. But fortunatly we are unusual. Most parents dont have to worry that they will face retribution for the times when they took money from there kids. It just doesnt happen that often. More often than it should but still not that often.

Multi-party signatures?

Something like "X has my PoA, if Y agrees that its necessary."

But really, what's wrong with that?

Why is someone entitled to control accumulated wealth after they lose their faculty?

Most parents live for their children. If a parent doesn't want to give wealth to their children, that's fine; the parent can give wealth to their grandchildren in trust, or anyone on the world they choose.

This is disgusting. It's their assets and it should be handled in the way(s) they determined when they had full control of their faculties. Anything short of that is fraud, theft, and saying "what's wrong with that?" to someone just stealing money from a parent is horrible.

This is ridiculous property-rights absolutism. Obviously it would wrong to leave them completely bereft and unable to support themselves, but people with compromised mental faculties lose plenty of other rights; there's no reason they get to sit like a senile dragon on a hoard of accumulated wealth.

Are you serious? That wealth belongs to them until they make a sound decision to part with it. If that means they’ve decided to purchase something and haven’t been deceived, great. If that means they pass it on to someone of their choosing when they die, that’s their right too. When someone takes advantage of their weakened mental state, that is just plain reprehensible.

"This is ridiculous property-rights absolutism. ... there's no reason they get to sit like a senile dragon on a hoard of accumulated wealth."

WTF. It isn't ridiculous to respect the fact that unless explicitly given to you, other people’s property is NOT yours and this applies to your parents too. It’s amazing that this has to be disputed at all but it explains why one sees some people with families going beyond will-making to planning for divestiture of their wealth to occur while alive later on.

People can feel aversion to the idea out of love or respect for their parents instead of pure legalism.

Try this reasoning:

Giving a gift is great. Taking something that doesn't belong to you is theft.

What's wrong with one sibling stealing a parent's accumulated wealth while they are still alive and not leaving it for the other siblings? Quite a lot.

Uh, it's less about "leaving it for the other siblings" and more that it's the parent's money. It doesn't belong to any of the children until the parents are deceased and it's actually given to them.

The number of otherwise good people I've heard refer to "their money" when actually referring to their parents' assets is heartbreaking.

Maybe they simply think of the assets as "family assets" regardless of who actually owns them? Why assume they are malicious?

because the people that actually own the assets need to agree for this to be ok.

His issue was that people talk about assets as if they were theirs, not that they using them as if they were. It's quite possible that they simply don't have a dysfunctional family and can agree on what's to be done with them, hence it doesn't matter who actually owns them, and not making the distinction in conversation isn't an issue.


Exactly my point. I understand what you are saying - but in conversation, my reaction is much more like the parent comment, it sounds like an entitled POV. Many people who say such things, in my anecdotal experience, feel they have a right to the wealth, and may not have agreement.

> Why is someone entitled to control accumulated wealth after they lose their faculty?

Not directly answering why they're "entitled to", but why they'd want to - they will (likely) still be alive for quite some time, and their quality of life will depend heavily on the resources they have available.

I agree with your sentiment. As reported people who lose their faculties do not control their assets. The appointed guardians are supposed to jealously protect the assets from the family because this is supposedly in the best interests of the incapacitated. Sadly people do not make their intent clear when they are still capable. I think people down vote you because without express consent it can be construed as theft even if the incapacitated would have made the same choice if they were still capable. To avoid this tragedy we need to discuss with our loved ones and make our intent clear (and with legal power) while we are still lucid.

> The crux of the problem seems to be that the State allows guardians to profit from their arrangement. It's ludicrous that courts enforce guardian's financial claims against people who are presumed to be incapable of independence.

The noble-sounding term "public service" should be reserved for unpaid volunteers working for the public good. Instead public service now means a government job with a large salary, easy working hours, early retirement, etc.

I article shot my stress levels through the roof today, i should really reevaluate having kids.

> Without realizing it, the Norths had become temporary wards of the court. Parks had filed an emergency ex-parte petition, which provides an exception to the rule that both parties must be notified of any argument before a judge. She had alleged that the Norths posed a “substantial risk for mismanagement of medications, financial loss and physical harm.”

1. That's horrifying, especially considering their daughter was minutes away. How was she not involved or at the bare minimum notified? This does sound like a kidnapping.

2. The couple and daughter had no relationship with April Parks (the guardian) prior, how did she get involved? More importantly, how did she get letters from the couple's doctor?

3. How was Parks allowed to hold a hearing without involving at minimum the emergency contacts for the couple? The doctor would have had that information.

4. Once underway, it appears that further hearings, costs, etc can be billed to the estate. How f*d is that?

They explain a little later in the article how Parks did her research:

> O’Malley described a 2010 case in which Parks, after receiving a tip from a social worker, began “cold-calling” rehabilitation centers, searching for a seventy-nine-year-old woman, Patricia Smoak, who had nearly seven hundred thousand dollars and no children. Parks finally found her, but Smoak’s physician wouldn’t sign a certificate of incapacity. “The doctor is not playing ball,” Parks wrote to her lawyer. She quickly found a different doctor to sign the certificate, and Norheim approved the guardianship. (Both Parks and Norheim declined to speak with me.)

Obviously I don't have all the facts, but from my read of this, Ms Parks deserves to be locked in a deep, dark, damp hole, for as long as possible.

If you read further, she did get indicted:

> Last March, Parks and her lawyer, along with her office manager and her husband, were indicted for perjury and theft, among other charges. The indictment was narrowly focussed on their double billings and their sloppy accounting, but, in a detailed summary of the investigation, Jaclyn O’Malley, who led the probe for the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, made passing references to the “collusion of hospital social workers and medical staff” who profited from their connection to Parks. At Parks’s grand-jury trial, her assistant testified that she and Parks went to hospitals and attorneys’ offices for the purpose of “building relationships to generate more client leads.”

But I agree with you. Having lived in this country for 10 years, I am still shocked by the audacity of these kinds of legal loophole scammers and also amazed that we don't see more retaliatory murders when the legal system fails, considering how easy it is to get a gun in most of these states.

If I am 79 years old and have had everything taken from me by a monster I might be spending the rest of my life in a different kind of facility than the culprit had in mind.

>amazed that we don't see more retaliatory murders when the legal system fails, considering how easy it is to get a gun in most of these states

You're amazed that most Americans do not resort to murder when the legal system fails them?

That's why we have appeals courts. To appeal decisions by judges that you believe have failed you.

Where do you come from if you don't mind my asking?

The appeals courts and all other levels of government failed these people for years until a newspaper finally took interest.

The right answer to those failures should never be murder.

The right answer to those failures is to pressure the system to change, as this newspaper article is helping to do.

Not for nothing, but the US was founded on the basis that violence is just in the face of an unjust government. We can't idolize the Revolutionary War, and then turn around and tell people they should always follow the law no matter what.

If we are going to assume that the government is always right and there is no reason for violence ever, then we should just do away with the second amendment. I dont think that amendment is super useful in the age of tanks, jets and nukes, but the idea of violent revolt against unjust rule is still there

> The right answer to those failures should never be murder.

I agree. In this particular case though, I wouldn't blame the victim if they'd consider kneecapping a proportionate response.

Preying on the weak like that is deeply, deeply subhuman.

If this sort of thing was tried before a court system, the person would've ended up in a hole.

That's why we created a justice system, because that mode of justice is not a good thing.

The justice system failed them, so logically, they'd be forced to go back to putting people in holes.

"The right answer to those failures should never be murder."

Many many years ago, a jury in Tennessee disagreed with your first claim, and literally took the law into their own hands in the courtroom against the government as they watched a persons rights get wholesale violated. That jury was flat-out exonerated IIRC. So there's legal precedent against your first claim and a good inherent pressure for your second claim. People would be far less likely to violate the law so egregiously if they knew that people could just kill them and walk away without a second thought of jail time.

That's a pretty naive point of view. Obviously the courts are part of the system that enables success from this profit-seeking behaviour. How are they going to help? Everyone from the scammers to the judges to the lawmaker who wrote the laws is probably on the $$$ gravy train.

one with 8-12 inches of standing water in it at all times.

Racketeering, kidnapping, elder abuse? Yeah.

> "After the Norths left, Parks walked through the house with Cindy Breck, the owner of Caring Transitions, a company that relocates seniors and sells their belongings at estate sales. Breck and Parks had a routine."

Almost every paragraph has some completely f*d up situation. I can't believe this isn't flagged as a conflict of interest.

Fleecing old people must be a great business.

That's because we as a society tolerate it. This behavior is no different from jewelers taking gold teeth in Nazi Germany or art dealers pretending that they did not know where the paintings came from.

As a marginally civilized society, we have dealt with it - it involved international tribunals, nazi hunters, quick trials and bullets between the eyes after which gold dealers as if by magic were not taking gold teeth and art dealers were not taking magically re-appearing artworks.

Welcome to the hell that bureaucracy perpetuates. Criminals learn the system and it is easy to exploit when government workers have no concern other than to process work. So we end up with a professional class who preys on those who cannot defend themselves as they have the power of the courts on their side.

this is the type of law and regulation that only gets changed if something outlandish gets championed by the local press or they step on the wrong person' toes. seeing how this goes down I would not be surprised if people like Parks hire detectives to dig up possible "clients" just so they know who is an easy take.

Most certainly needs to be changed and those participating need to be held accountable.

Those participating quite often love the unaccountability the bureaucracy provides them. Hiding behind a procedure is often preferred as to being out there making a difference. The indifference some people show, especially here in my country, to this bureaucracy is astounding. Makes my blood boil. Which might be the reason I'm having difficulty discussing it with them.

This is also the kind of law that makes people hate lawyers & judges. No judge should approve guardianship unless they have substantial proof that the family has been notified.

Facilitating fraud like this is blatantly unethical: if only 'legal ethics' actually stood for anything worthwhile

I'm shocked at how docile and accepting those old folks were! I mean if someone comes to my house and tries to kidnap me and my family against our will, they better come armed.

Some people criticized Holocaust survivors for not resisting (I am not equating you with such critics, btw). They didn't realize that initially, the victims were hoodwinked into thinking they were being relocated, and when they learned the truth, they were weakened and disoriented by being crammed into a train cattle-car without food or water for some days.

In the camps, the people were systematically starved and beaten to maintain their helplessness. Even so, some did try to rebel and were killed.

The people who heard whispers about what had happened couldn't believe it - it was too vile to contemplate.

The parallels between that unspeakable crime and this story are:

- People who have become marginalized (our society does not exactly honor the elderly, except - sometimes - relatives).

- Preying on unsuspecting people with their guards down.

- State-sanctioned abuse (if unintentional) in the name of protection.

- Victims who lacked the mental capacity and physical stamina to understand what was happening and to resist.

- "Somebody else's problem"; disinterest in the plight of the marginalized people who some see as less than human.

- Trust in authority figures.

Same thing in Soviet Russia. I am reading The Gulag Archipelago, and in it, Solzhenitsyn says about the mindset of one who is facing unjust arrest by the authorities:

"...But as for you, you are obviously innocent! You still believe that the Organs [of state security] are humanely logical institutions: they will set things straight and let you out.

Why, then, should you run away? And how can you resist right then? After all, you'll only make your situation worse; you'll make it more difficult for them to sort out the mistake. And it isn't just that you don't put up any resistance; you even walk down the stairs on tiptoe, as you are ordered to do, so your neighbors won't hear.

At what exact point, then, should one resist? When one's belt is taken away? When one is ordered to face into a corner? When one crosses the threshold of one's home? An arrest consists of a series of incidental irrelevancies, of a multitude of things that do not matter, and there seems no point in arguing about any one of them individually - especially at a time when the thoughts of the person arrested are wrapped tightly around the big question: 'What for?' - and yet all these incidental irrelevancies taken together implacably constitute the arrest."

I think same kind of thoughts go through peoples' heads in all manner of less serious circumstances. They might know it doesn't feel right or that it's wrong, but they feel that surely someone will help them correct the mistake. And if they just go along for now, they'll be in better standing when they finally find the right time to raise their objection.

To add to this, past the initial elder-knapping, it looks like they drugged the elders to keep them from rebelling/attending court dates. From the article:

>During Rennie North’s first year at Lakeview Terrace, she gained sixty pounds. Parks had switched the Norths’ insurance, for reasons she never explained, and Rennie began seeing new doctors, who prescribed Valium, Prozac, the sedative Temazepam, Oxycodone, and Fentanyl. The doses steadily increased.

I imagine when you get old, sick, weak and lose your ability to think quickly and argue properly things become more challenging.

Any time I hear these latin legalese terms I forget that we're living in 2017. It appears our justice systems would prefer that we were all subjects to Roman emperors whenever it suits them.

EDIT: I've been downvoted, so maybe I should explain my complaint. The article describes an "emergency ex-parte" hearing as one in which only one side is represented. Does that feel like 2017 justice to you, especially in the context of the article?

Your complaint was with the "latin legalese terms" - extolling your ignorance as a virtue. This is unlikely to be popular on a site that exists to gratify intellectual curiosity.


I'm inclined to agree with 'cabaalis on this point. Using Latin phrases in law still feels too much like medieval clergy only reading the Bible in Latin and telling the laypeople to trust them. Yes, there will be jargon in every profession that most people won't get, but if it's in the same language you can at least make an educated guess about it. Using dead language for your jargon feels like it specifically keeps laypeople out of the loop

> Using Latin phrases in law still feels too much like medieval clergy only reading the Bible in Latin and telling the laypeople to trust them.

It's a technical term with a fixed definition. It's not being interpreted, and it doesn't matter if it's English, Latin, or a drawing of a flower.

A lay person being able to guess at the meaning is a minor benefit in some situations, but people guess wrong all the time about how laws work. The end result is a pretty negligible difference.

And looking like normal words without actually being normal words can actually be a detriment to understanding.

> Using dead language for your jargon feels like it specifically keeps laypeople of the loop.

This is not really a fair assessment. Law and contracts aren’t all rewritten every few years — old and settled law must be read and understood in the style it was written in, as must precedents and contracts. At one time, the largest settled body of law was the Roman law and so a lot of Latin got dragged forward into the English legal system (and from there into the American, Hong Kong, Canadian, &c.).

The situation is like that in medicine, biology and many other sciences, where the long history of Latin as a language of scholarship is still felt in the choice of technical terms.

"This is not really a fair assessment"

Yes it is. Most people making an appeal wouldn't know what a prima facie case is. It is in fact how most self-done appeals fail in the first place. Most people don't know when they file for themselves to file pro se - a big failing for initial cases. Little technical crap like that which relies upon a dead language that only us geeks bothered taking in high school as their elective foreign language. WE get the advantage, the common person does not. Then to boot, we pretty much eliminated civics, so most people don't know how to file a lawsuit or defend themselves, let alone know the Latin terms to utilize in the first place!

And the NEW laws are still written in the OLD American English. No bueno.

Knowing what the words mean in Latin doesn't help you in any legal sense. You won't be able to present "at first sight evidence"(?!) in any useful manner without knowing the legal requirements and procedures. What you need to know is the law, and you're right, having that knowledge would help you when presenting a case....but that's a wholly different argument from knowing Latin.

You failed your translation - On The Face Of The Statement is the definition. Source: High school Latin.

I think the usage of Latin is very effective in this case; The meaning of the Latin words themselves is not important, the jargon is defined in legal texts and in the law. Meanwhile, the usage of Latin allows you to quickly identify which parts are legal doctrine - e.g. an "ex-parte decision" sounds like legal doctrine, "the judge made a decision without telling the other party" sounds like the judge had a grudge. I think in that sense, using a dead language is very appropriate; our jargon is a mixture of "kinda-like-but-not-quite" terms - memory, inheritance, relational, bus(actually a contraction of a Latin word), master/slave; and arcane words that might as well be Latin(multiplexer! polymorphism! bandwidth!). At least you can't really mistake the second group for anything but jargon.

While people might not have to interact with engineering jargon, they are often forced to interact with legal jargon at some of the worst times in their life; I think it's good signaling if they can easily identify whether someone's entering into a "legal interaction" with them rather than just a regular talk.

I think that's a really good point. Latin "terms of art" are automatically recognizable as such (and often even printed in italics to further set them apart). I see them as a notification that there is something specific meant by that term.

In contrast, English terms of art may be misleading based on their common interpretation - how often do people misunderstand "fair use" of copyrighted material?

Yes, but we're talking about Justice, not explanation. There could come a time where "the judge made a decision without telling the other party" is no longer a valid course of action in the justice system (i.e. not true justice.) Hiding that fact behind terminology no one understands is a problem.

Literally just came to Hackernews to post this article. I don’t really hangout with older people or come into contact on a frequent basis, but Jesus H. Christ this is the most horrifying thing I’ve read in terms of scams in a while.

For what it’s worth, I think older Americans have a ton to offer to younger people in terms of mentorship. Probably the dumbest person you know now will grow into an older person with some valuable wisdom to share. Imagine then how smart most older people are...

Not that I don't know some great older folks, but I've also encountered my fair share of racist, narrow-minded old farts.

I wonder if the benefit of interaction between young and old works both ways. Where I live now and in many countries, older people are much more integrated into society than in the US (e.g. extended families living together, grandmas cooking food around the market, grandparents monitoring the younger kids while the parents are working).

I used to hardly ever interact with old people, but now I do every day. Some of the friendliest people in my neighborhood include a very elderly lady who counts the money and makes change where I buy coffee every morning (she has tremors, and has maybe had a stroke, but still has a function in society) and another older women who rides in on a bicycle carrying a large basket of really excellent fruit. I definitely think having a purpose, even if it's because poverty requires everyone to pitch in regardless of their limited abilities, does tend to keep people happier and more social as they age.

I'm trying to understand what value you thought this anecdote added to the conversation.

On hn your reply must oppose its parent comment or at least be snarky (like this comment of mine)

It's a counter to the idea that old people would be great mentors to the younger generation. If a bunch of them are racist old farts, then they won't exactly be good mentors.

As an aside, I've been seeing a lot of people use the term "racist" as a phrase for those who prefer certain cultural values. There is a difference between race and culture.

OP never said all older people would be good mentors, they said older people would be good mentors. Leaving out the all means the reply bringing racism into the conversation is completely unnecessary, adds nothing to the conversation, and just shows closed mindedness with just a hair of ironic ageism.

Here we go with more -isms.

Noting that older generations tend to be more racist is not ageism, it's just a trend. Just like how noting that Asian Americans make more money on average than whites isn't racism, it's just the way things are.

You are right about me saying "all" when OP didn't actually say that. I've edited my comment, thank you for the constructive criticism.

The fact that they made it to old age in the first place shows that they know what they’re doing, in a way.

The stupid ones die early. Survivorship bias, etc.

That is ignoring all sorts of degenerative diseases. However, unless they really are suffering from dementia or debilitating disease, they should be even better at decisions.

Unfortunately authorities like to apply general statistics in specific cases which is wrong.

This isn't 3 million BC

But it COULD be!

For what it’s worth, I think older Americans have a ton to offer to younger people in terms of mentorship. Probably the dumbest person you know now will grow into an older person with some valuable wisdom to share. Imagine then how smart most older people are...

This presumes there's something better about surviving to old age than not, that people learn correct lessons from their life experience, that experience is a better guide than information that can be easily accessed from books and the internet, and that people retain correct memories into old age. I don't think any of these presumptions really hold in a general sense.

Books and the internet can get you a long way in terms of things like learning JavaScript APIs, but life is a fair bit more complex. In particular, when someone tells you a story, especially in person, you can see how it affected them emotionally.

Even if you decide to disagree with the person, you are enriched by the story having been told to you.

Closely related: the piece of information most often missing from, say, online documentation for software is the reasoning behind a feature, the decisions that led to it, the mistakes along the way.

That's what talking to someone who's been around the block a few times can give you: comprehension of not just the what, but the why and the how.

This same thing happened to a family friend. Her family fought it for a couple of years but lost and all of her assets were sold. The guardian then billed the estate for attending the funeral when she died. She was charging $200 an hour for taking her to get her hair done.

Years later she was finally removed from the job. http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/2014/03/10/judge-...

Get your power of attorney's and medical POAs filled out to protect yourself.

It doesn't surprise me a bit that this happened in Nevada. That state puts on a good show of being governed by the rule of law, but in fact it is corrupt to its core. And they don't just screw the elderly and the gambling-addicted. I learned this the hard way back in 2011:




And the denouement:


The last post is entitled "How Wall Street Screwed Me" because Deutsche Bank was the principal actor, but they could not have done it without the Nevada legal system as a co-conspirator.

Indeed, a friend of mine had her inheritance stolen by her father's attorney in Nevada. He had apparently been disbarred in California for similar scams, but was operating without issue in Reno.

Meh. Almost all government is corrupt if you look in the right places.

Most states have at least a few corrupt departments. Based on my experience and knowledge wealthy, coastal states with lots of laws on the books (and lots of departments to enforce these laws) generally have a little more breadth to the corruption. Flyover states generally have a little more depth where corruption is found.

So all states are corrupt equally and there’s no point in having a discussion about it? Is that your assertion?

My mom and aunt are fighting over this right now.

My aunt moved in next to my grandparents some 30 years ago and has cared for them since that time. Then around 10 years ago, my grandfather died. Since that time, her assets have reduced by over $400k while receiving spouse military and civil service retirement and social security and payments for long-term care (over $7k in income per month). In the past 3 years, my grandmother has become more difficult and lost her mind. More recently, my mother is getting more and more upset that my aunt got financial and medical POA without informing her because my aunt pays her personal credit card bills, uses my grandmother's card as hers, eats out often/pays for other people's meals and generally seems irresponsible with money. So my mom, in an effort to prevent all the money from being wasted, cashed out a significant certificate of deposit and created a new account for it at a new bank. That way, if my grandmother (their mother) needs money, it will be there.

Un/fortunately, my mother also involved the state's elder financial abuse protection department whom made a determination that she was the elder abuser when my aunt recently gifted my grandmother's house to herself, in addition to two vehicles (a car and a van). And now there are also lawsuits, so now lawyers will get what scraps they were fighting over. Ugh. Stupid money family drama sucks.


Don't put any adult children's names on any accounts. Bank accounts, investments, CDs, etc. should be payable upon death.

Do a will and living revocable trust. Probate and taxes can also take your kids' inheritance.

All adult children able to see but not use or modify credit card and banking accounts, and agree to financial decisions together.

Place a lock on elderly parent's credit reports.

Have parents split up/allocate inheritance before losing their mind/s or passing away.

Make wills specific so there are fewer arguments.

Have a single place (ie fireproof safe) where keys, documents, online passwords, bills, assets, properties are inventoried and include whom to call to cancel, transfer, etc.

Make end-of-life and upon death directives clear and precise.

If doing burial or cremation, get it pre-need because it's much cheaper and much nicer for the family.

Interesting that your aunt cared for their mother for 30 years, drawing a small compensation rate, and your mother just took an interest in grandmother's care decades later when her inheritance started to dwindle.

I'm optimistic that you're just playing devil's advocate here, so I'll respond politely, because this article has my blood simmering. Not boiling yet, but close.

One important correction: The grandfather was aware of the finances for the first 20 of 30 years, the OP says that the losses occurred "since that time". So it's 10 years, not 30; multiply any compensation by 3.

A second, more important correction: the 'compensation' to the aunt comes from drawing on grandma's assets and also her income. OP asserts that grandma's income is $7k/month, or $840k. Added to the $400k in assets spent/lost, this is one and a quarter million dollars.

$13k/year is not enough to be visibly irresponsible with money, it's a reasonable or even small rate for family care. But $125k/year is unsustainable, as demonstrated by grandma's dwindling assets.

Counter-devil's advocate: The older you get, the more (exponentially sometimes) expensive it gets to keep you going from day to day. Depending on one's health, the cost of surviving an extra 6 months could be as much as the cost to stay living during the previous 10 years.

Counter-Counter I suppose:

Regardless of the cost of living, death does very strange things to people and can flip an entire history of a relationship on its head. It happened with my family where a relatively calm and expected death ended up estranging members of the family because of what the deceased had written in the will.

I really am not looking forward to my parents' passing, as I live (and probably will still be) living abroad, though I am executor of their estate. Inheritance always brings out bad blood.

Having seen family members in similar situations, this is not "interesting" - your implication being that OP's mother is the swindler.

It's a common pattern: Family "takes care" of an elder while blowing through their money. Money now depleted, a more responsible family member steps in to manage the final years, only to be vilified by everyone who rode the gravy train in.

This exact same thing happened with my grandmother. My dad's brother is a scumbag and took it upon himself to spend her money while ostensibly taking care of her (the kind of care you'd expect from abusive alcoholic). My dad wanted my grandmother to actually spend her money on an elderly care facility, because she would have been much happier there among people as opposed to being essentially alone for the last 15 years of her life. But, her social reticence and my uncle's persistent guilt tripping kept her at home. It's a little hard to prove over the internet who was right or wrong in these cases, but I assure everyone that I could tell a few stories about my uncle that would leave absolutely no doubt.

$13k a year for care seems like a good deal to me. I'd hire the Aunt too.

Nothing warms the heart, after a family reunited after a diaper-change avoidance drama is resolved by finding a common hobby - such as collecting little pictures of former presidents.

A similar thing happened to my mom with her mother's estate and the fight with her 4 siblings. Two vs Three basically.

Pretty much a decade-long court battle since grandma died that only ended earlier this year, but really it's been a fight in court since 1989 when my grandfather passed away.

All the money was basically stolen by one of the children and her mafia-associated husband. My aunt's outbursts in court had both her and my 73 year old mother thrown in jail for months for contempt of court and the other siblings used that time to sign all of the remaining assets into their own name. Highly suspicious about the judge involved and there's currently a review of his actions wrt the case going on now.

Honestly, if there is money involved and you have siblings you don't agree with, you have to be prepared to either walk away from the money and your family completely or to kill them, because honestly it's less hassle.

I'd recommend adding the same restrictions to cell phone accounts too. An authorized user can do basically anything except close the account.

I just helped grandma dig through her account and found cousins on the account, started with basic service, upgraded their service, and then got phones via monthly payment on the account. And not basic phones, it included an iPhone 7s Gold 128GB ($750 at the time).

Yes, definitely. Consider cancelling unused credit cards and any service provider that can bill back (ie cable/satellite, land-line, store cards, maintenance, landscaping, etc.) For cloud services like Google/Apple/Microsoft/Facebook, remove the payment methods, at a minimum.

Financial elder abuse is a crime, a felony, in most states.

Yet another pathological outcome from a legal system that operates above the law itself. The "judges" here should be in prison for conspiracy, and everything that was sold should be recovered as stolen property. Yet because reams of paperwork were filled out, dated, and stamped, legal fiction continues to override the obvious reality! This system no longer exists to mediate between real people, but as an independent organism claiming unfettered control over us. Burn it.

I usually read the comments first but this time I read the article first because there weren't any comments yet. I was aghast. Then I saw I wasn't alone when I read the comments from you guys.

How could something so horrible happen to so many so routinely? Any what can we techies do about it? I'm always searching for meaning in my work and I'm having trouble remembering anything I've worked on lately that's nearly as important as this issue.

Then I realized that the solution is already in the article:

In the course of his thirty-five-year career, Shafer has assumed control of more than three thousand wards and estates and trained a generation of guardians.


When Concetta Mormon, a wealthy woman who owned a Montessori school, became Shafer’s ward because she had aphasia, Shafer sold the school midyear, even though students were enrolled.


Parks and other private guardians appeared to gravitate toward patients who had considerable assets.

It's all about the money! They don't go after poor people.

How can we high achievers turn this into a business opportunity that's a win-win-win for everyone and put the bad guys out of business? It's almost like we need a watsi for senior citizens. Thoughts?

My parents shrewdly and pre-emptively reorganized their "estate" (feels silly calling their meager savings that) with a lawyer that specializes in this. In Central Florida, their are enough retires that many know what's at stake (RE: OP article, plus other money grabs when elderly required assisted living), and lawyers have setup to attempt to prevent it.

While listening to my dad explain it all, I wrote down "Stripe Atlas for old people's estates" in my idea notebook. Another poster mentioned setting up nested LLC's, just a service to scale and productize it. Not just for the elderly either, I can think of a lot of people that would want the protection and power of obscuring money that real estate developers and politicians have benefited from for years. It would be a real game changer.

It could quickly be mimicked by less scrupulous people though?

watsi for senior citizens

That is a good idea, but personally I am torn. Something like this shouldn't be allowed to happen in the first place, isn't it?

Those wealthy people can spend some of their wealth to hire reputable maangers, or donate their wealth to communal funds so they aren't a target.

Hunger for wealth and control makes one a target.

This makes me distressed and angry. The last time I felt like this was when I read an article telling about several cases when cops raped women through "body cavity search". Unfortunately, there are several other cases of extreme injustice and evil acts committed by people who are not and will not be punished.

An idea that has been on my mind is to create some sort of virtual wall of shame. It would put the name and picture of those people who have done such terrible things and have not paid for their crimes. It would spam their emails and social media accounts with messages. It would send emails and messages to their relatives and friends. It would create ads targeted to where those people live telling their story. The goal is to do everything in order to not let such crimes be forgotten and to not let those people live normal lives again, at least in the virtual world.

I don't know if I will ever put this plan in practice and I know it is a dangerous idea, but each time I read something like this it makes me more willing to start this idea.

It's not just a dangerous idea. It's an unjust one that foregoes due process. It's vigilante justice, like witch hunting in early modern Europe and N. America, lynching in the Jim Crow era Southern USA, and the Hollywood communist blacklist in the 1950s. Just because ruining people's lives via social media is en vogue at the moment doesn't make it right. How could you possibly know whether claims you've read are true before you decided to ruin the lives of the accused?

You can't cry "due process" for those people who have abused the system to deny due process to others.

The only reasonable counter to those offenders is an investigative report by a professional of the fourth estate that has a reputation for ethical practices. Which is to say an investigative journalist rakes the muck and publishes the embarrassing story. But those seem to be of a breed that is dying with the newspapers.

The amateur crowdsourced journalists/influencers the likes of which come from Anonymous and SJWs and Antifa and Black Twitter may be the only ones who care enough to even do a cursory investigation. And they are unlikely to meet any reasonable standard of fairness, due to unaligned incentives.

The only solution that preserves fairness is for those in the official legal system to police themselves and relentlessly attack the corruption occurring within their own ranks. If that does not happen, or worse, if it happens and those who fight corruption and blow whistles suffer damaging retaliation from it, then the corrupt should have no reasonable expectation that they will be treated fairly, nor those who present the appearance of corruption, or complicity with corruption. There are no good cops as long as bad cops retain their impunity. There are no good judges as long as the decisions from bad judges stand unexamined and unchallenged. There are no good lawyers as long as injustice persists.

The system we have to ensure that the innocent are protected from witch hunts, kangaroo court, and drumhead trials is as vulnerable to subversion as any other, and replicating it in parallel in order to prosecute that subversion seems inconvenient at best. And yet "we investigated ourselves and cleared ourselves of all wrongdoing" is so depressingly common.

You can't have selectively applied due process. Due process must be applied to all without qualification for it to have any semblance of balance and impartiality.

Muckraking is fine (there's no law that says everyone should be nice to you) -- but there needs to be a line drawn between investigative journalism and libel, a line the New Yorker has pretty much always stayed on the right side of.

As for

"There are no good cops as long as bad cops retain their impunity. There are no good judges as long as the decisions from bad judges stand unexamined and unchallenged. There are no good lawyers as long as injustice persists."

-- that's an incredibly binary view. By that logic, the whistle blower is just as bad as those he blows the whistle about! There must be a gradient of good to evil, with everyone lying somewhere between ideals. I think it is a mistake and general disservice to lump the imperfect whistle-blower, advocate, and reform-minded cop/judge/lawyer in with his crooked brethren. Not only does is tarnish his or her reputation, but it also blemishes their contributions toward a more perfect system.

More than that, the gradient of good and evil exists in everyone, across activities, across time. Many of the most evil people have done good deeds in their lives, and many of the best people have done bad deeds also. A bad cop or bad judge can yet become a good one.

That seems most likely only after a term of incarceration in a facility focused on rehabilitation--which simply never happens in the US, not for commonplace criminals, and certainly not for cops and judges.

When the existing system for due process fails in this manner, should there be a reasonable expectation for due process in whatever ad-hoc process that arises because justice is not being served? I don't think so. If your job is to provide due process, and you undermine that, then you deserve all the vigilantism that comes your way because of it.

When you abuse the legal guardianship system to rob people of their family, and rob their family of their money, you should count yourself lucky if all that happens to you is that you get convicted in the regular legal system and go to prison. Those judges that granted this woman highly abusable levels of power after two minutes or less in an ex-parte hearing have filth on their hands, too.

If you want to save people from vigilantism, you have to be willing to send them to prison through the regular legal system. If you give them de facto impunity, people will find other ways, less fair and impartial, to punish them.

> A bad cop or bad judge can yet become a good one.

A bad cop or bad judge is also a bad citizen, and they generally deserve the opportunity to become a good citizen. But the standards for admission to the trust involved in law enforcement or judging should be high, and if you’ve proven yourself untrustworthy in such a role, any reentry should take extraordinary proof of reform before it is considered, and it may simply be a better use of social resources not to leave that door open at all.

> By that logic, the whistle blower is just as bad as those he blows the whistle about!

If whistleblowing matters at all, then bad cops don't have impunity, and the statement doesn't apply.

OTOH, if whistleblowing is an empty gesture...

"I robot" describes three laws of robotics. These laws were intended to prevent robots from killing all humans, and, surprise surprise, bad things happened.

Jesus' message largely seemed to be "the rules exist for a reason, and you Pharisees are focused on the rules while ignoring the reason." The Pharisees knew the letter of the law well, and they'd often try to trip Jesus up, getting him to break the letter of the law.

Rules may be necessary but they are clearly not sufficient. I think whatever the rules are, people will find ways to do horrible things, unless we all value something higher than the law.

Unless we talk about and promote values directly - and all try to act in accordance with the values - these sorts of outcomes are inevitable. This means mindfully considering context always - instead of outsourcing our moral decision making to courts and police and politicians.

A society where everyone agrees "injustice anywhere is a mark of shame on me" would be a very just society. This seems like the inevitable end of "not my problem" writ large.

Couldn't finish reading, and never felt such a strong urge to move back home to play caretaker before.

It's always shocking to me when I see evidence of impossibly exploitive individuals participating in such scams. But then I remember how many people there are, and how that multiplier applies to all walks of life. Sigh.

I had to start skipping through just to find out some glimmer of hopeful resolution, what a pit of despair. I am livid having read this.

>“You can’t just walk into somebody’s home and take them!” Belshe told her.

>Parks responded calmly, “It’s legal. It’s legal.”

Years ago in college, my friend was depressed, and as a coping mechanism would sometimes write suicide notes. He'd read them and realize he wasn't quite at that point and it would help him get along. It was a process.

Anyway, somehow some of his notes were discovered, he was arrested (I still don't know the details here) and put into some weird absurd protective custody thing in a psychiatric hospital. I was allowed to see him exactly once. The one time I managed to get in he looked like shit. Bags under the eyes, light gone, just, hollow. He said they forced him to take these anti anxiety meds that make him feel like a zombie, that if he didn't take them and admit he needed medication, they wouldn't let him out. But he wasn't "earnest" enough about his treatment and so he still couldn't get out of that hellscape.

After about ten days of being unable to contact him, being stonewalled by the cops and the doctors (working with his parents, who were out of state and just as confused/frustrated), I completely snapped. I loaded my remington and 2 boxes of shells into my truck and was planning on driving straight into the lobby of the hospital and forcefully removing him. I was furious but remember having a clear plan - wasn't going to shoot anyone, figured the truck through the lobby plus a crazy fucker in a mask with a shotgun would force their hand and let him go and then we'd drive to mexico or some shit. Consequences be damned, silly fucking laws be damned, I was getting my friend out. I was tossing my gunbag into the back when I got a call on my cell from him saying he finally got out and needed a ride.

God only knows if I had gone through with it, maybe I would have come to my senses in the parking lot, I can only hope. All I know is that there was nothing more frustrating or infuriating I have ever experienced than watching him go through it and being completely stonewalled. I've had friends go to jail and I've gone to jail and that's fair, that makes sense. There's a process. There's bail. You broke a written rule and you spend some time for it. You get to talk to a judge. The judge gives you rules and you follow them and you get out.

But where he was, there was no rules. You are in at the whim of the doctor and you get out at the whim of the doctor.

I imagine the daughter felt something very similar here - where's the process? Who's the authority? Where are the rules written down and when did she agree to them? How could that daughter have protected herself and her family from some absurd hidden legalese?

Not to disparage your suffering at all, but jail isn't always so much better.

> you broke a written rule and you spend some time for it.

Not true. Jail is for people accused of breaking rules, not convicted. And arrests are severely biased against certain subpopulations.

> The judge gives you rules and you follow them and you get out.

which generally involve sitting in jail because you can't afford bail, with a nontrivial chance of losing your job due to absence, then losing your home due to poverty.

Don't argue which injustice is worse. Fight the injustice.


> Jail is for people accused of breaking rules, not convicted

While you make some good points, you are confusing “jail” with “pretrial detention”; while much (but not all) pre-trial detention is done in jails, that's not the only thing jails are used for; people do serve post-conviction sentences in jails, too.

Misdemeanor convictions (i.e. less than a year of incarceration) may be served in a jail. Felony terms are served in prisons.

I am not very familiar with this, and it probably varies by state.

> Misdemeanor convictions (i.e. less than a year of incarceration) may be served in a jail. Felony terms are served in prisons.

That's a common but not universal rule; California, for instance, sends felons whose crime is not a violent or serious felony, or one that requires sex offender registration, to county jails.

This has to be one of the most vile, appalling stories about the widespread abuse of power on the weak and helpless for monetary gain. The perpetrators have as much mercy and empathy for their victims as animal predators have for their prey, with far less justification.

And the punishment - if any - is likely to be far less than what is meted out to some afflicted person jailed for stockpiling prescription medications for self-treatment due to incurable pain (Richard Paey)[1].

[1]: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/prisoner-of-pain/

God im so angry on how they basically evicted the old man and his wife. I might be finally able to contemplate why having a gun as final defense against such lawfull robberys is a good option.

This type of behaviour can happen at insolvencys in germany too. If you get a corrupt insolvency-manager, he will ride the remains of your company (even if it could be saved) into countless law battles with creditors - where the insolvency managers firm is the defending party of the company its managing. This can go on until the company-corpse is sucked dry.

I have to admit, the daughter murdering Parks and the judge seemed more and more possible as the article went on with the government seemingly fully in on it. That would definitely send a message.

It must be terrifying to feel so helpless against the state.

Defense of self and family is not murder.

It is when you kill the members of the ruling body.

This is why "2nd amendment protects you from the government" arguments are absurd. Attacking the government is illegal - if you find a legal way to do it, the government will protect itself from bodily harm by declaring whatever you did illegal.

EDIT: This is not an argument of moral right versus wrong, this is about the definition of "illegal," which only has function as a concept if there's an actual government.

For example, we can all agree that shooting unarmed civilians is wrong, right? Or taking their cash money? But, it's not illegal. Cops do it all the time, and in the case of cash money it's explicitly legal.

I would love to be challenged on this point, so I would greatly appreciate if you could spice your downvotes with a quick thought on why I'm wrong.

Not to defend the 2nd amendment as `power to the people' but that is not how the argument works.

The fear is that a benevolent government banishes arms, which makes the populace defenseless. Then later, a malevolent government gets into power, and the populace can no-longer defend itself. The key here is that the government instituting a ban need not be the government that later needs to be revolted against.

The 2nd Amendment allows citizenry to be armed in case it becomes necessary to overthrow a corrupt government that no longer serves the needs of the people, the government is no longer legitimate if that threshold is broken and what it determines is illegal doesn't matter anymore. Killing in retribution when the law fails isn't really a 2nd Amendment usage case, though.

>When the law fails

When would the government admit that the law has failed?

>Overthrown a corrupt government

When would the government admit it is corrupt? When would it "allow" itself to be violently deposed?

When a consensus is reached among the governed that the government no longer represents them. Admission on the part of the government is not expected or necessary.

So, wouldn't that by definition be war? If the governed reach that consensus, I expect the government would just declare them "terrorists," and their actions "illegal."

Do you remember something called the "Revolutionary War"? It was an event in history that happened when the people who wrote the 2nd amendment fought the British government for control of the country.

Yes, and the country they were fighting against labeled them "Rebels" and tried to kill them.

The point I'm trying to make is that there is no way US Law would explicitly allow a means to destroy the USA (via the second amendment or otherwise).

It does though. Things were quite different when the constitution was written. The federal government was never supposed to wield absolute power over the states. "...consent of the governed..." etc. It's pretty clear that they believed that a populace should be able to abolish their own government - they did so themselves.

Today washington would be a little crater with horse remains and some drone circling above.

Yes, It would be a civil war. And that's exactly what governments today do. Turkey, Sudan, Bosnia, etc.

I explicitly addressed this.

>the government is no longer legitimate if that threshold is broken

The 2nd Amendment exists because the writers of the US Constitution had just finished overthrowing a government they did not believe represented the people, and wanted to ensure that if the replacement government ever ceased to represent the will of the people, that the people would have the means to forcibly remove it.

No, it was written largely because the writers of the Constitution were in the process of dealing with the imminent collapse of a central government that had proven incapable of dealing with pressing security problems, and assuring states that the new central government with greater authority would not use that authority to hamstring the states in the event that it, too, was not competent in that regard was important.

They had also, several years before, been involved in the state (formerly colony) governments’ acting collectively to rebel against an unrepresentative (by simple fact that the people were not, directly or by the intermediary of representation of their local government in the central one, represented; this was not a matter of feeling) central government, and, sure, preserving the states’ capacity to do that in the event that the federal government became unresponsive or overbearing was a consideration.

The 2nd Amendment is unique in having an explicit statement of purpose, which for some reason those who claim to be it's Forrest defenders always ignore.

Missed the edit window, but “Forrest” should be “foremost”.

Mobile keyboard autocorrect is fun.

Ok, let me take a different angle - you say there is a "threshold."

Cliven Bundy has decided the threshold has been passed and instigates armed resistance in Nevada. Is the US government no longer legitimate and is allowed to be overthrown wholesale?

You could apply your exact same argument to elections. Why would the government let the people elect a different government?

I'm the United States, the Republican party does make efforts to do this when it is in power. In my home state of Wisconsin they won control of the government for the first time in 40 years, redrew districts, and haven't lost power since.

I'm hesitant to point it out too often or too loudly, but if 4chan ever really got the notion they could very likely permanently financially murder someone like Parks through identity theft on an unprecedented scale. But oh the anarchy once that power was known.

Absolutely 100% justifiable homicide.

What can we do to prevent such things from happening? Would having a trust, rather than an estate, prevent this? (I am not even sure if that is an intelligent question.)

yes, revocable and irrevocable trusts, combined with solid powers of attorney, living wills, etc..

Trusts essentially keep estates out of probate. Since it's the money these criminals are after they work well towards that goal.

Yes, I have the same questions and it also depends on your state laws.

This is one of the most infuriating things I've read in a while. How did our legal system end up i this quagmire?

Politicians are not held accountable for the laws they sponsor or vote for. There is no limit on the degree laws are written to obfuscate intent / meaning or to prevent pork-barreling. Every politician is after campaign dollars to get reelected.

Combine that with how the elderly are often sitting on sizable wealth while basically "giving up" on fighting battles people drag them into, and for the past several decades there has been endless lobbying by predatory sociopaths to align the law to enable this kind of behavior, because stealing money from retirees is a very easy crime to commit since they are much less likely to fight against their robbers.

Its the exact same kind of predation that produces such vile amoral policy leaps as "think of the children" turning into prescribing Adderall to every other child because they are all "hyper" while making lovely profits for the doctors and producers involved, or how "tough on crime" becomes mass incarceration of nonviolent citizens for possessing a plant where they can make private prisons ludicrous profits.

All you need is a tagline to distract the masses - "we don't want elders dying alone in their homes" and you can throw civil liberties right out the window to start making profits off them, the same way sociopaths use the legal system to pray on anyone they can.

Good question. It is the same system that would happily take children from the parents who were caught with a small amount of marijuana and hand them over to a serial sexual abuser, so the problem is not limited to elderly.

I had to stop reading after a bit, I got so upset. Completely unbelievable that this could happen to someone.

Me too. But, on the other hand, I am not too surprised given that civil forfeiture is legal in the US...

A quick note, civil forfeiture is clearly illegal under the fourth amendment but courts have moved from a literal interpretation of law to a "the law means what I think it should mean in my better wisdom"* interpretation in regards to the constitution.

* See local and state firearms prohibitions, wiretapping by the NSA, title nine sexual assault courts, presidents declaring war without congressional approval, paris accord agreement without congressional approval and many other examples.

And it took at least 30 years for the media to start meaningfully questioning that practice.

I believe this is because it was used correctly (i.e. confiscating the actual profits of criminals), and started to be abused after (decades of) systematic under-funding of police departments.

The entire way that it works - giving police a direct, personal financial incentive to confiscate personal property with no due process, arrest or official accusation of a crime - is clearly problematic. I personally experienced and witnessed systematic, flagrant abuse of forfeiture in the late 90s in a small US state. The officers involved said they were especially interested if someone could help them locate cash rather than drugs, because they got to split it all vs. only being paid for a percentage of the drugs.

It reads like some of the people behind government safeguards weren't acting in good faith. Most notably the Clark County guardianship commissioner Jon Norheim.

Other failed institutions seemed at least too disinterested. That includes the police (considering all of this a civil matter), and Nevada Adult Protective Services.

Beyond that, many people (doctors, people working at retirement homes, etc) seem to have actively aided this scheme.

In general, I'd say a combination of corruption and bureaucratic apathy / CYAism are what caused this. The solution is `more accountability' but that is difficult to do without creating more potential for bureaucracy and corruption.

Scams and survival of he fittest are the state of nature. It's a miracle the legal system is able to resist it even a little.

"Bad government" has become a self fulfilling prophecy in the US, and this is just one of the consequences.

How did Parks get notes from their doctor? Why wouldn't that be confidential?

The article said things about her finding doctors to write the notes, but how could they get them in the first place? Wouldn't the couple need to visit the doctor, and give the okay for them to give information to Parks?

That's a very good point considering all medical records are covered by HIPAA laws.

Chilling read. I have never heard of this but it's making me much more eager to have children.

Does anyone know why the daughter was powerless, or not their guardian herself? This felt like a hole in the narrative.

"It often took several days for relatives to realize what had happened. When they tried to contest the guardianship or become guardians themselves, they were dismissed as unsuitable, and disparaged in court records as being neglectful, or as drug addicts, gamblers, and exploiters. (Belshe was described by Parks as a “reported addict” who “has no contact with the proposed ward,” an allegation that Belshe didn’t see until it was too late to challenge.) Family who lived out of state were disqualified from serving as guardians, because the law prohibited the appointment of anyone who didn’t live in Nevada.

Once the court approved the guardianship, the wards were often removed from their homes, which were eventually sold. Terry Williams, whose father’s estate was taken over by strangers even though he’d named her the executor of his will, has spent years combing through guardianship, probate, and real-estate records in Clark County. “I kept researching, because I was so fascinated that these people could literally take over the lives and assets of people under color of law, in less than ten minutes, and nobody was asking questions,” she told me. “These people spent their lives accumulating wealth and, in a blink of an eye, it was someone else’s."

"The opinions of wards were also disregarded. In 2010, Guadalupe Olvera, a ninety-year-old veteran of the Second World War, repeatedly asked that his daughter and not Shafer be appointed his guardian. “The ward is not to go to court,” Shafer instructed his assistants. When Olvera was finally permitted to attend a hearing, nearly a year after becoming a ward, he expressed his desire to live with his daughter in California, rather than under Shafer’s care. “Why is everybody against that?” he asked Norheim. “I don’t need that man.” Although Nevada’s guardianship law requires that courts favor relatives over professionals, Norheim continued the guardianship, saying, “The priority ship sailed.” When Olvera’s daughter eventually defied the court’s orders and took her father to live at her seaside home in Northern California, Norheim’s supervisor, Judge Charles Hoskin, issued an arrest warrant for her “immediate arrest and incarceration” without bail. The warrant was for contempt of court, but Norheim said at least five times from the bench that she had “kidnapped” Olvera. At a hearing, Norheim acknowledged that he wasn’t able to send an officer across state lines to arrest the daughter. Shafer said, “Maybe I can.”"

This is approximately an equivalent of "because they can". There must be a deeper explanation, or a history of the law which can give us a better understanding.

The law was written by the people who use it to exploit the elderly. This is just another case of endemic US corruption that sits behind a polite facade.

> This is just another case of endemic US corruption that sits behind a polite facade.

Everything that happened in that case was a function of state, not federal, law.

US government is in no way limited to the federal government. State and local governments tend to be more corrupt not less.

Gerrymandering + loss of local news coverage = incredible levels of corruption get baked into the system.

> State and local governments tend to be more corrupt not less.

That's true, but the point is that a retiree can choose where they retire to within the United States. Informing oneself about the legal risks associated with guardianship abuse in a given jurisdiction seems every bit as worthwhile as a state's tax laws or weather, topics which retirees certainly tend to take an interest in.

> Gerrymandering + loss of local news coverage = incredible levels of corruption get baked into the system.

Dammit, we've only got an inch of topsoil left!

I really don't understand what you're saying - legalised theft is OK because people can choose to retire in a different state?

I cannot imagine how you got that out of my comment. I think people ought to educate themselves about the laws and customs of their state and avoid the places where this stuff takes place like the plague. Or, failing that, get a really good lawyer.

The federal government tends to be corrupt in ways less "shallow" and outrageous, but on a much more enormous breadth and scale.

This is the most terrifying part! What would prevent some calculating third party from doing this to my parents? Is it solely down to whether or not the children have the ability to pay costly legal bills?

I dearly, dearly hope that there was something I missed, and that it isn't just a case of bureaucratic maneuvering to deprive that couple of everything they owned.

Normally, this is the standard process in most states that I am aware of. So yes, this is a big gap in my mind in the New Yorker article.

Taking Florida's as an example (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Displ...), the state gives strong preference to bloodline or marriage. The court has to declare in writing pretty specific reasons to appoint a professional guardian.

Nevada's laws (https://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-159.html), although not as strong as Florida, does seem to indicate preference for bloodline or spouse.

So I wonder how they ended up with a professional guardian / fraudster in the first place. I understand that sometimes this happens due to family disagreements over who should be appointed, or inability to care for one reason or another. Maybe that happened in these cases.

Incidentally, you can also declare, in your will, a medical power of attorney which basically pre-lays out the guardianship lineage in your preferred order. From what I understand, courts tend to use the medical power of attorney preferences well over anything else, so this is probably one of the strongest ways to prevent this sort of situation.

I think the article does in fact explain how this could have happened:

1) The professional guardian moved for an emergency ex parte hearing, without notification to family members, getting to speak to the court first, and unopposed.

2) The professional guardian mentioned the family members in her court filings, and indicated they were unfit for various reasons.

3) The courts didn't really check the professional guardian's claims.

Those seem like facts, assuming the article can be trusted. What follows are my conjectures based on those facts:

4) The judge is in on it, fundamentally. At the very least, he thinks professional guardians are just a better idea than family members, and hence he was just looking for justification to ignore the preference-for-bloodline statute.

5) Item #3 is a consequence of #4 to some extent. The judge has no real incentive to double-check things here, and it's extra work, so why do it? The resulting lack of consequences described in the article indicates that this was a rational call on the judge's part, as far as that goes.

6) Item #2 gives cover to the judge to act on the predisposition I describe in item #4.

Thanks for the information, I believe you are correct.

Further Googling indicated that up until 2015, guardians in Nevada had to be in-state residents. (http://borglawgroup.com/new-adult-guardianship-laws-may-affe...). This is a pretty nasty restriction in my opinion in today's world, and probably accounted for at least some of the "disqualifications". At least Florida law specifically qualifies non-residents that are related!

It seems like this story was pretty big in Las Vegas around 2015, and it did lead to reform attempts at the state level (including the above reform). Obviously you can't change the past, but I'm curious if any of this has done any good for the future. (https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/politics-and-government/n...).

At least five guardians are in legal trouble now over this, four of them (including Parks) for running a racket (http://www.ktnv.com/news/contact-13/guardianship-crimes-occu...). Another guardian was arrested for stealing from a client in 2013 (http://www.fox5vegas.com/story/23641602/court-appointed-guar...).

Of course, at a government level, all that happens is career shuffling...

Re your point #4: From the article:

"Parks drove a Pontiac G-6 convertible with a license plate that read “crtgrdn,” for “court guardian.” In the past twelve years, she had been a guardian for some four hundred wards of the court."


"Norheim awarded a guardianship to Parks, on average, nearly once a week. She had up to a hundred wards at a time. “I love April Parks,” he said at one hearing"

I would be shocked if this guy isn't getting some kind of payment from Ms. Parks.

I have to agree that my gut feeling is that the judge is on the take here. But there's no really hard evidence for that in the article, and I really hope not in reality, because otherwise just reshuffling the judge around to kids' cases is a complete travesty.

In any case, unfortunately all that's important for my #4 is that the judge be predisposed towards professional guardians, for whatever reason.

The article described how the courts are basically in cahoots with the scammers, bending any possibly argument in favor of the "professional ward."

It's truly awful, but it seems to jibe with the whole prison thing going on in the states. Its all the people who have no means to defend themselves who seem to be the targets of these schemes: poor people, kids, elderly, the disabled.

Only one thing: they should not live in such a terrible jurisdiction!

Who's writing the laws you have to not get caught not following is a highly underrated contributor/detractor to one's quality of life.

Its not a matter of the laws, its a matter of who is making the rulings. In this case, the issue with the jurisdiction was Jon Norheim, the Clark County guardianship commissioner. He seemed to rubber stamp whatever the predatory guardians put before him.

I guess so. Hmm... well I sure hope we get a more developed awareness of the issue so we can plan accordingly for ourselves.

I think there's a couple preventative measures. First, don't go into things like nursing homes, elderly living communities, etc. Those are prime targets.

Second, if you have wealth, give it to someone you trust, or put it into a trust. If you don't have wealth, well, there's not much for them to try to take from you.

It seems like they were able to take "the relatives are just after the money" argument to an absurd level where any form of control over the estate was simply not possible for family members or relatives.

While this seems horrible, taking care of those who are in true danger without stripping the rights of the still cognizant is a hard problem. It's very likely for those who need help to deny it or fight it, so in the end, you need to be able to exert that final control, but how do you do verify that the person being protected really needs it?

It doesn't seem particularly difficult. A discerning judge, a caring social worker, and an honest doctor with adequate time to consider the issue carefully should have little problem seeing the right course of action.

It only becomes difficult when you also have to fight against the incentives.

When the 'guardian' gets to bill the estate when their doctor friend writes something down, and the judges are listening to the letter of the law as argued by the expert lawyers rather than the flabbergasted victims, then it's a hard problem.

Yeah, there is no way they should be allowed to bill the estate which they themselves are administrating.

In a normal country with a social welfare program, the guardian would have to bill the government — if the government doesn't agree to lay down money to say that this person needs protecting, nobody gets paid.

(In an honest no-government-programs libertarian paradise like the US sometimes pretends to aspire to be, the guardian would have to bill some kind of health insurer that covered this specific care: and again, the insurer would take on the task of scrutinizing the claim.)

It is likely that the person in charge of quality of life and the person in charge of financial decisions should be different people, and somewhat adversarial. Neither should be paid directly out of the estate, and there would have to be a significant disincentive for any collusion between them that does not objectively benefit the ward.

Oh, I see.

1. ???? 2. ???? 3. Now we staff the whole system with attentive, caring, intelligent people who have time to spend on each case.

Sure, at some point, a judge might need to make a ruling that indeed someone should submit to guardianship.

That point is not at an ex-parte hearing as the very first step in the process. The Clark County guardianship commissioner, Jon Norheim. Seems to be at the heart of this. His bad rulings are how the system was not able to prevent this stuff from happening. Some blame also lies with the apparent lack of any appeal options against his decisions.

I agree. I'm not sure how anyone was willing to set up the rules and laws such that it was so easy to make such a ruling.

One such hearing took just over a minute. You could likely drag out a parking ticket hearing longer than that

For starters, involve the people and their families instead of excluding them by force. How can you possibly determine whether someone needs protection without hearing from them or those nearest them?

That's a problem in instances where parts of the family is in denial about the parent's state. For instance, my grandfather is struggling with Alzheimer's, but my grandmother is combative about it, along with a few family members. This means, instead of my grandfather regularly seeing a doctor and getting some sort of treatment, he continues to degrade, day by day, including even driving around on his own. Driving seems perfectly fine on a good day, but if he were to experience a serious episode while out on his own, he could strand himself out in the middle of nowhere and die from exposure.

In fact, this isn't hypothetical, this exact scenario happened just the other week to an old priest from the exact same small (less than 5000 people) town

Well, for a start it’s really the sort of thing that probably shouldn’t be done by the private sector. In the system described, the private operator is essentially incentivised to abuse the person they’re supposed to be taking care of.

Reading this is making me extremely angry. This is one of the most disturbing things I've read ever. It's sickening.

Add Nevada to the list of places not to retire.

Puerto Rico is out. The Florida Keys are still under heavy repair. South Florida is not looking good. And hurricane season just started.

I'm planning on avoiding any "place to retire". In addition to the criminals and scam artists who target the elderly there is an entire legal industry doing the same -- and you can bet they flock to the South West and Florida. Your best bet is probably somewhere like the Dakotas or Montana.

Living in bitterly cold states would certainly limit the amount of retirement savings I need. I live in a moderately cold one now, Montana would kill me before I reach 70.

Norway and Sweden, both countries which tend to get pretty cold in the winter, have life expectancies around 82 (a little higher than the US). Northern Europe in general, really; life expectancies are generally similar to the US or a bit higher, and it’s not particularly common to migrate to warmer countries for retirement.

Actually, my impression was that extreme heatwaves in hot places tend to kill more elderly people than extreme cold in cold ones.

Using Wolfram Alpha it certainly looks like Billings compares unfavorably to Oslo in terms of coldest temperatures during the winter. Norway appears more moderate, I assumed thanks to the ocean.


Oslo’s fairly far south; I’d imagine the more northerly cities would be more comparable.

What about outside the USA? Mexico in protected communities could be a very cost-effective and beautiful option (not to mention the culture is, I find, a little bit more "fun" than that of America). You could also find a community of retirees in Southeast Asia somewhere, again probably cheaper than the USA. Obviously puts you far from family, though.

Belize is awesome, they like foreigners with money, nice climate year around, and they have far fewer laws than we do.

Now, New Orleans gets hit by a hurricane in 12 hours.

This is a masterpiece that made judges biased toward professional guardians:


In 1995, he persuaded the Nevada Senate Committee on Government Affairs to write a bill that allowed the county to receive interest on money that the public guardian invested. “This is what I want you to put in the statute, and I will tell you that you will get a rousing hand from a couple of judges who practice our probate,” he said


How can I help protect my parents from this scam?

estate planning

Trusts and LLCs out the ass. Legal entities within legal entities within legal entities, held offshore in some cases, and so on. Personally, I literally don't hold a single titled property in my own name, and never will.

Talk to a lawyer and don't follow this blindly. In most cases, this is a bad idea and Family LLCs, entities within entities, offshore trusts or corporations, and other such things in estate planning often border on scams themselves. A very simple living trust that holds assets, with instructions on what happens if you become disabled is probably most of the protection that the vast majority of people need (disclaimer: this is not legal advice, I am not a lawyer).

disclaimer: this is not legal advice, I am not a lawyer

Just curious since this keeps coming up. Why would people add these IANAL disclaimers, especially on an anonymous forum?

I would assume that if you wanted to stand out as a lawyer in a discussion you would have to explicitly announce yourself to be one and because this is internet most people still wouldn't believe you (even if you really were a lawyer). I cannot fathom how would that go the other way around.

Disclaiming that "I'm not a lawyer" sounds a bit like an introduction to a string of other disclaimers, as in me not being a medical doctor, CS professor, airline pilot, or law enforcement official either.

Is there a court case where someone took, out of thin air, someone else's word as if he was a lawyer while he wasn't and never said he was, suffered some losses because of it, and actually won in court? Or what's the reason for adding the IANAs?

> Why would people add these IANAL disclaimers, especially on an anonymous forum

I would imagine it's partly a courtesy ("You should take this with a grain of salt") and partly a CYA ("Under no circumstance should you take this as legal advice, nor sue me for giving bad legal advice, etc").

I think it's a reaction to lawyers posting "I am a lawyer; I am not your lawyer; this in not legal advice", presumably as some part of explicit or implicit professional ethical or legal obligation, plus the typical "IANAL" disclaimer that frees the poster from a bunch of wasteful hedging and qualification in the rest of their post by setting expectations at the beginning. It's the reasonable "IANAL" merging with negation of the maybe-also-reasonable disclaimer actual lawyers use, to form a less-reasonable mix of the two.

[EDIT] probably also part of a US thing about constant over-disclaiming and posting rules/regulations everywhere, which I gather is really weird and makes us come off as kinda repressed from the perspective of people from other countries, even those from the more repressive variety. I don't know, I'm American and going on the reactions I've read of foreign world travelers to Americans' love of basically-useless posted quasi-legal language on seemingly every flat surface, and poles where flat surfaces aren't available.

It's shorthand for "you should be consulting a real lawyer about this, instead of taking a layperson's uninformed and unprofessional advice on the Internet, but here's my opinion on it anyway."

I am not a lawyer, but I think the amount of corporate shell games and fictitious entities should be proportional to the amount of money at stake in the estate.

If grandma has $300k left to her name, and can still fry her own eggs every morning, then a boilerplate last will, durable power of attorney, and medical plan from a strip mall estate planning lawyer is probably enough to keep the wolves and vultures at bay long enough to sound the alarums.

If grandma still owns a profitable business in her own name, you're going to need to burn some billable hours from a pressed-suit type, and maybe register some new corporations or LLCs.

Most people can get it done with the strip mall lawyer, without trying anything fancy. The HN crowd has more money to protect than most people, so they're going to want the downtown high-rise lawyer. And if that person recommends anything that does not sound incredibly boring, commonplace, and tedious, you probably got the wrong guy, and need to walk to a different firm.

But since I am not a lawyer, I'd recommend re-titling everything worth cataloguing to a handful of New Mexico LLCs, as they do not require annual reports or disclosure of the principals, and get EINs for them via a nominee, so they won't show up in the cursory asset searches for your elder. The valuable assets would be divided up into separate legal baskets, so no one can come in and take everything in one swoop. Then you lease the property back to the former owner, from the LLC, with a "peppercorn rent"--essentially a gestural payment that can be easily made, so long as the lessee remains competent. So if anyone ever gets your elder declared incompetent, or if they die, anything worth stealing immediately reverts to a predetermined person's legal control. You have to assume that someone is watching your loved one circle the drain, with the intent of searching their pockets once they stop moving.

Could you point to some resources on this? I would love to know more.

Interesting. Can you explain more about that?

The article describes inadequate accountability, crony relationships in the legal & medical systems, nepotism, lack of transparency.

All of these are alleviated and addressed through proper governance measures. This is a problem that is solvable in large part.

Very well-written article that left me with a sick, sick feeling. I am glad attention has been brought to this blatant crime.

Appalling. One of the few New Yorker articles I've read to the end, really hope more come to justice.

Off topic, but this is why I read the comments first when I see links to some websites. They simply take too long to get to the point. I spent 5 minutes on this and all I've learned so far is that for some reason, courts deem certain people incompetent and appoint guardians. I don't know why they do this, how the assess the people, and how the guardian benefits. I want to find out but I lack the patience to read through the New Yorker's somewhat pompous style and rely on the quotes in the top comments.

There are some people who are incompetent. The most drastic case is somebody in a comma - they are unaware and unresponsive, but the body is breathing and there are all other signs of life. Somebody needs to make decisions that that person is unable to make.

In this case it kind of fits the point/arc of the story. The victims in the story have no idea why they do this, how they assess people, how to fight it... somebody just showed up unannounced one day with a court order and viola, mom and dad's legal autonomy is somehow gone and their assets are freely mismanaged & stolen. Police & judges do not even pretend to care.

As for why the "guardians" do it, it's right there for you in the subtitle.

Absolutely. I lost track of the article and started skimming to get the a resolution. There didn't appear to be one. I do recognize this is likely due to my own lack of attention span :)

Isn't this the normal writing styke for a lot of US traditional media? European newspapers I think start from the key point they want to get across and expand from there.

It's long-form journalism and I think it's perceived to have more value than bullet-point style reporting. While there can be value in long-form stories, 98% of the time I just want the bullet points so I can decide if the story is worth reading.

This is literally a security bug in the legal code.

Why doesn't anyone care about this? How do we FORCE our politicians to fix these legal bugs so that we are protected?

> How do we FORCE our politicians

By design, you don't force politicians to do anything, you just vote against the ones doing what you don't want.

In the US, the entire electoral system is built around (for the benefit of both politician and sponsor) obfuscating responsibility away from representatives and holding them to the least account for laws passed or policy in place as possible, and then limiting the ability of constituents to replace them when they want to via gerrymandering / private campaigning.

This is just one drop in a sea of evil brought about by broken election systems enabling corrupt laws and policy that nobody is ever held to account for.

It feels more like a bug in the implementation. Specifically, the rubber stamping by the Clark County guardianship commissioner Jon Norheim.

Ok. First, DAs and jurys hate people that take advantage of children or the elderly. When I say hate - it is a true understatement. All that needs to happen here is a report to a DA.

Second, if you have grand/parents over 75 ask them to put all their financials on mint and expose this account to multiple portions of the family. Mint is read only. This way when things get strange - off to the DA.

Is this a problem with the laws of Nevada? Can it be prevented? Hopefully it is not exploitable in other states.

The VA fiduciary program has similar problems to this.I believe their fees are capped to 3-4% of pay.

I believe the VA fiduciary program has similar problems but it does cap fees at 3-4%.

Disgusting and terrifying.

The definition of rights evolves with access to information and standard of education. What was once the right to own land became the right to vote became the right to fair wages. For most of history the exclusion of rights was inherited at birth by race, gender and class. But as we live longer and understand sickness better we recognize temporal states of being that challenge our standards of freedom. A person who becomes sick does not have equal access to care nor do they have free choice in treatments having to relinquish control to doctors, insurers and regulators. Perhaps it is time to define the rights of the sick and move society towards equality.

I think you did not read the article - did you?

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