With Santa Clara County's top judges promising reform, advocates for the elderly and local probate attorneys on Monday called for swift action to stop court-appointed estate and care managers from charging excessive fees to the dependent adults they serve.
The reaction comes after "Loss of Trust," a two-day series in this newspaper, highlighted cases of private conservators and trustees submitting six-figure bills to incapacitated adults under the court's watch. In some cases, they are charging lofty hourly rates that are double what's allowed in neighboring counties.
The Superior Court on Monday vowed changes within weeks. "Not years, not months, but weeks," said Assistant Presiding Judge Brian Walsh.
"We are not going to stand for our most vulnerable being taken advantage of -- period."
Presiding Judge Richard Loftus and top probate Judge Thomas Cain have been surveying courts up and down the state for solutions since the newspaper approached the bench months ago with early findings of its investigation.
The changes won't come soon enough, said elder rights advocate Pat McGinnis, executive director of the nonprofit California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. She said "there's no justification" for six-figure bills that deplete life savings, like the ones highlighted in "Loss of Trust."
Full Article and Source:
Santa Clara County Judges Vow Limits on Conservator Fees Within Weeks
The Mercury News' "Loss of Trust" Series (Anchor article)