Adult Guardianship Resources

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New Look at Guardianship : Protective Services That Support Personalized Living by Tony Apolloni ISBN: 0933716370

Alternatives : A Family Guide to Legal and Financial Planning for the Disabled by Mark Russell ISBN: 0912891009

Protecting Judgment-Impaired Adults : Issues, Interventions, and Policies by Edmund F. Dejowski (Editor) ISBN: 1560240547

Guardianship of the Elderly : A Primer for Attorneys by Erica F. Wood ISBN: 0897075498

Guardianship : The Court of Last Resort for Elderly and Disabled by Winsor C. Schmidt (Editor) ISBN: 0890899258

Guardianship of the Elderly : Psychiatric and Judicial Aspects (Springer Series on Ethics, Law and Aging) by George H. Zimny (Editor), George T. Grossberg (Editor), ge Zimmy ISBN: 0826111769

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Guardianship and Protective Placement for the Elderly in Wisconsin By Gretchen Viney. Madison, WI: State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books, 1996. $29. 175 pgs. To order, call (800) 362-8096.

Reviewed by Sarah Fry Bruch

Anyone who has heard Ms. Viney speak at a CLE seminar will recognize and appreciate her thorough, methodical and practical approach to mastering the subjects of this book. The book presents the subjects of guardianship and protective placement specifically for the elderly (guardianships of nonelderly chronically mentally ill or developmentally disabled are not discussed) in a style accessible to lawyers of all skill levels. It has nine fully outlined and annotated chapters with a detailed, easy-to-use index and three very useful appendices described below. Although the book emphasizes the perspective of private counsel in these matters, its extensive information and detail should prove useful to county attorneys as well.

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the guardianship and protective service system statutes and reviews the definitions of incompetency and types of guardianships. How to choose the proper procedure for your client's situation is explored in Chapter 2, where the author explains the differences between guardianships of the person and of the estate, limited and full guardianships, and voluntary services versus involuntary services and protective placement. Appendix A lists useful additional resources, including seven books and the complete address, telephone and fax for 15 organizations pertaining to issues of long-term care, SSI, Medicare, mental illness and advocacy.

Guidance for selecting a guardian is found in Chapter 3. Ms. Viney recommends counsel assess a proposed guardian for past and present elder abuse, and provides a lengthy checklist of occurrences and elder's behaviors that may indicate financial, material, mental and physical abuse. Ms. Viney recommends that both petitioner's counsel and the guardian ad litem (GAL) ask the proposed guardian directly if the proposed ward has ever been subject to elder abuse and if the proposed guardian was determined to be the perpetrator, noting that a county's records of such matters are confidential but may be released to petitioner's counsel and GAL pursuant to a court order. Also explored are the factors germane to selecting an individual guardian versus a corporate guardian, such as a bank or nonprofit corporation. Appendix C lists all 42 state-approved corporate guardians in Wisconsin, with the address, telephone and name of a contact person for each, and the approval date and the number of clients each guardian can serve.

Chapters 4 and 5 are the workhorses of this book. Chapter 4 outlines the role of the petitioner's attorney in excruciating detail, and covers the preparation, service and filing of initial documents, subsequent case preparation, the hearing and resulting order. Summing up the chapter is a checklist, in chronological order, of everything petitioner's attorney needs to do, including consideration of ethical issues. Chapter 5 treats the role of the GAL in like manner, complete with a checklist. Appendix B complements these two chapters with the necessary forms for an entire proceeding. It contains 19 forms in full text, with annotations referencing statutory authority, and includes the petition, necessary orders, notices, letters of guardianship and the inventory.

The remaining Chapters 6 through 9 thoroughly review the guardian's role and safeguards of the protective service system such as annual review and transfer to other facilities, termination of guardianship and change of guardian. While at first glance it appears no different than any other CLE practice manual, this little book speaks the volumes of Ms. Viney's experience. Its many practice tips, checklists, caveats, notes, cautions and comments seek to guide the practitioner into an efficient and thorough practice.

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