Friday, November 30, 2012

Eldercare guardianship case in VA suggests need for tighter regulation of "paid" caregivers

Justin Jouvenal has a detailed  front page story in the Washington Post, Friday November 30, 2012, about how guardians can abuse the elderly and their families.  The title is “Guardian fees come under scrutiny; As population ages, concern rises about lack of oversight of those responsible for elderly and incapacitated”, (online it is “Guardianship case in McLean illustrates lack of regulation for those caring for the elderly”), link here.

The specific case concerns the family of Samuel Drakulich and a law firm, Needham, Mitnick and Pollack (NMP) which took over guardianship when the adult children couldn’t agree on some aspects of their parents’ care, according to the story.

In my case, I had a power of attorney for my mother, and it really did confer a lot of “power”.  In theory, it could be regulated by Adult Protective Services, and others (such as hospice) could have the capability to report suspected abuse.  

1 comment:

Sheri Abrams said...

Regarding the Nov. 30 front-page article “Guardian fees come under scrutiny”:

Our firm, Needham Mitnick & Pollack, has served as guardian and conservator in numerous cases over the last 20 years, including many pro bono cases. We take our responsibilities seriously, as evidenced by our reputation in the community. We also take seriously the misleading reporting by The Post in this article.

What was not stated in the article is that both an independent court investigator and the judge reviewed all of our bills for seven years of work and concluded that all of our time was reasonable and that the services performed were necessary, appropriate, proper and of value to the wards.

To illustrate just one problem with the story, the article’s closing implied that our goal was to deplete the Drakuliches’ estates of all assets. However, when Jeanne Drakulich died in December 2010, there was more than $379,000 in her estate and all four Drakulich children asked our firm to serve as administrator of her estate.

By not providing a balanced story, The Post has done a disservice to the valuable work performed by the elder law community.

Helen Cohn Needham, Judith A. Mitnick and Susan K. Pollack, Falls Church

The writers are the principals of the law firm Needham Mitnick & Pollack.


“The fairness of guardian fees”
December 14, 2012
The Washington Post