Thursday, March 29, 2018

New Mexico, Where New Guardianship Laws Will Take Effect July 1, 2018, Struggles With Reporting Systems

Earlier this week, The Albuquerque Journal reported on continued problems with accountability for court-appointed guardians within New Mexico. Colleen Heild writes:

What’s become of Elizabeth Hamel? Hamel is among dozens of people placed under a legal guardianship or conservator in southern New Mexico over the past 20 years whose welfare is unknown – at least according to state district court records. . . . Nothing in the online court docket sheet indicates that Hamel’s case has been closed. But since being appointed, Advocate Services of Las Cruces hasn’t filed any annual reports about Hamel’s well-being or finances, the docket sheet shows.


There’s no indication as to whether she is dead or alive, or if the  guardianship/conservatorship has been revoked. . . . 


As New Mexico prepares for a new law, effective July 1, to help its ailing guardianship system, the state’s district courts still don’t have a uniform way to ensure guardian compliance with reporting laws that have been on the books at least since 1989.


State Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, said last week that he was disappointed that annual reports haven’t been filed in some cases.


“And I’m not surprised the courts wouldn’t know,” said Ortiz y Pino, a longtime advocate for reform. “That’s what we ran into over and over again, the lack of any kind of system to make it possible to log them (annual reports) in, let alone read them, let alone send somebody out to verify whether or not what they’re reporting is the truth. Those are the kind of things we shouldn’t be missing. Somebody should be at least saying, ‘Hey, you never did file a report.’ ”

For more, read Missing Reports Plague Guardianship System (3/25/18).

Cognitive Impairment, Crimes, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Estates and Trusts, Ethical Issues, Property Management, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink


Like Pennsylvania, the New Mexico AOC, Supreme Court, Probate Judges, Guardianship Assoc., state Bar, elected officials, Attorney General, DHHS, and local law enforcement all claimed they had a model adult guardianship adjudication and oversight process. They all defended the laws on the books and how their processes insured they were upheld and the public was protected.

Thanks to activist victims and investigative reporters Diane Dimond and Colleen Hield and a whistleblower at Ayudando Professional Fiduciaries a very different and widespread reality was exposed in New Mexico by Federal investigators and prosecutors.

Pennsylvania has the exact same issues in their Orphan’s and Probate Court systems. Thankfully Reading Eagle’s investigative reporter Nicole Brambila has started exposing the facts with her series of reporting. Hopefully she awakens the public with the factual counter narrative.

Five years after state leadership and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court formed the Elder Law Task Force they are still wringing their hands wondering if they have a problem to fix as they promote the merits of their model system. Start with a mandatory census and the total assets inventory on those under guardianship; your rolls are certainly growing. Pennsylvania is another state of denial. If you can’t measure it you have no idea where you stand.

Pennsylvania leadership seems to like it that way.

Posted by: Rick Black | Mar 29, 2018 5:40:54 AM

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