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Ohio Bill Could Reduce Guardianship Abuse

"This is about protecting the state's most vulnerable people," Pelanda said. "We want to hold those in charge of others responsible and ensure they know what's expected of them."

Ohio is taking action against a developing problem: guardianship abuse.

Recent media reports have revealed that Ohio has a large problem with some court-appointed guardians who abuse their wards. The guardians are people whom the court has approved and appointed as guardians over elderly people and others who cannot handle their own affairs.

A recent article in The Columbus Dispatch, titled "Bill would spell out wards' legal rights in guardianship system," reports that lawmakers have proposed a bill that would give wards a bill of rights so they are better armed against abusive guardians.

This is not just a problem in Ohio. It happens all over the country. One of the reasons it happens is because the court appointed guardians often have no prior relationship with their wards. That is actually a problem you can normally prevent from happening to you.

If you have a proper estate plan drawn up, then you will create powers of attorney and appoint someone you trust to make financial and health care decisions when you are unable. You might also create a trust, so a trustee oversees your finances. Again, the benefit of doing this is nominating people you know and trust. With a proper estate plan, there is often no need for a court to even consider appointing a guardian for you.

If you do not have an estate plan, make an appointment with an experienced estate planning attorney as soon as you can. Guardianship abuse needs to be stopped. The best way to stop it is to prevent the possibility of a guardianship in the first place.

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