Conservator accused of stealing $100,000 from wards

One of the main reasons why St. Louis residents are encouraged to see to their estate planning matters early on in their lives is so that they can retain control over how their assets are eventually managed and dispersed. Most put this important process off believing that they will have ample time to do it before their deaths. However, death is not the only event that can rob one of control over his or her estate. Being declared incapacitated or unfit may warrant the naming of a guardian or conservator to manage one's affairs. If such a privilege has not already been granted in one's estate planning documents, he or she risks it being given to a complete stranger. 

Every state has professional conservators and guardians the courts turn to in cases involving a question of capacity. While standards are in place for these professionals, the potential for abuse is still high. This fact was recently demonstrated in a case involving a professional conservator in Arizona who reportedly took over $100,000 beyond her standard expenses and fees from two separate clients. Her actions were discovered after one of these clients noticed a large deposit in his bank account (over which the conservator had control). The funds had actually been transferred from the accounts of the conservator's other ward (who had recently died). Authorities believed she made this transfer in order to maintain access to the deceased ward's assets. The transfer was reported to authorities and the woman was recently arrested. 

After having worked so hard to attain his or her assets, one certainly wants to determine who has control over them. That control can be granted through proper estate planning. Those needing assistance with this process may be wise to secure the services of an experienced attorney. 

Source: Prescott eNews "Special Needs Clients Ripped Off By Conservator" D'evelyn, Dwight, Sept. 17, 2017

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