PROTECTION OF VULNERABLE ADULTS THROUGH GUARDIANSHIP AND CONSERVATORSHIP

My passion is to help individuals and families live more peaceable, happier and healthier lives.   Ideally, people live within the nurture and protection of a larger family unit.  As we age, we remain independent as long as possible, but it is a fact of life that sooner or later, everyone will depend upon others to some degree.  When a person becomes so incapacitated that they can no longer care for themselves, make decisions, or manage their business affairs, sometimes a crisis ensues.  The event giving rise to the crisis may be a fall, or a stroke, or an automobile accident.   If sufficient legal and care planning has been done, families know who is designated as being responsible, there are clear lines of authority, and there are mechanisms for accountability.  Implementing legal documents to ensure this is the reason everyone needs a consultation with a good elder law attorney.  But sometimes, planning has not been done, or sometimes there may be concern that authority granted under those documents is being abused.  In worst case scenarios, there may even be concern that the Elder may be subject of physical, mental, or emotional abuse.

When families encounter difficulties or challenges, the first line of hope is to draw upon resources of the family to reach agreement and a good care plan.  I trained in the  field of Elder Mediation with Zena Zumeta and Susan Butterwick, attorney mediators in Ann Arbor, Michigan whose careers have been devoted to mediation of family and organizational conflict.  I have also been active in the Elder Decisions section of the Association of Conflict Resolution since the inception of the Elder section of ACR in 2009.   As a mediator, I am always hopeful for a family to reach agreement.  On the other hand, sometimes this is not possible or there may be an emergency.  It has happened that in several cases I have been consulted in with regard to mediation, there has been a concern that the elder was being abused.  In some cases, there has been an emergency situation requiring prompt action to protect the Elder from harm.  As a result of the need in these cases, I began practicing in the area of adult guardianship and conservatorship, which in South Carolina are two distinct actions in probate court.

If you have concern for the safety or care of a vulnerable adult, or if you are a caregiver trying to manage care in the context of a family that is in conflict, please feel free to contact me, either by calling 803-414-0185 or by using the form below.

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