Cover image for The retirement nightmare : how to save yourself from your heirs and protectors : involuntary conservatorships and guardianships
The retirement nightmare : how to save yourself from your heirs and protectors : involuntary conservatorships and guardianships
Armstrong, Diane G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 2000.
Physical Description:
405 pages ; 23 cm.
Format :


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KF553.Z9 A76 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The above warning, sent to all allegedly incapacitated seniors in the state of Virginia, summarizes the nightmare that can befall senior citizens anywhere in the United States as a result of involuntary conservatorship or guardianship proceedings. Statutes originally designed to help elderly friends and relatives who are unable to look after their own personal or financial needs are now being increasingly abused by calculating heirs to direct the transfer of family assets to themselves-with the courts' blessings. Based on fifty-five cases drawn from courtrooms across America and the author's own bitter experience, The Retirement Nightmare describes what can happen to competent senior citizens when such proceedings are filed against them by relatives or other so-called protectors in the social welfare community.

Dr. Armstrong, who was forced to battle her own siblings in a million-dollar court battle to place her competent mother in an involuntary conservatorship, reveals how these arcane conservatorship and guardianship codes function in our courts today; unfortunately, as the author learned firsthand, the actual application of these codes is determined almost solely by the competence and attitudes of individual judges and investigators. She highlights the key problem areas common to the codes that should be changed and recommends ways that seniors can protect themselves to preserve their personal and financial freedom in their retirement years. She also suggests alternatives to conservatorships and guardianships that exist in every state to help the elderly with various aspects of daily living, such as balancing checkbooks, paying bills, grocery shopping, preparing meals, etc.

This breakthrough book exposes the secretive world of involuntary "protective proceedings" and more importantly gives seniors the tools they need to protect themselves from this predatory litigation.

Author Notes

Diane G. Armstrong, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who works as a writer and consultant

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 7
Introductionp. 9
1. The Graying of Americap. 15
2. Frequently Asked Questions about Conservatorships and Guardianshipsp. 27
3. Historical Roots of American Conservatorship/Guardianship Lawp. 57
4. Individual Court Struggles for Freedom: Defeatsp. 77
5. Individual Court Struggles for Freedom: Victoriesp. 117
6. Who Is Guarding the Guardians?p. 153
7. Alternatives to "Protective Proceedings"p. 167
8. How Should Our Laws Be Changed?p. 179
9. Saving Yourself from Your Heirs and Protectorsp. 207
Appendix A. State Codes and Statutesp. 237
Appendix B. Costs Involved in Fighting Unwanted Protective Proceedings: One Examplep. 323
Appendix C. Resources for the Elderlyp. 325
Major National Organizationsp. 325
National Legal Organizationsp. 335
Congressional Committees, Issues of Agingp. 337
State Offices of Agingp. 338
State Long-Term-Care Ombudsman Programsp. 348
Related Websitesp. 358
References for Appendix Cp. 360
Glossaryp. 363
Bibliographyp. 387
Indexp. 393