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Any way a ward can keep credit cards?

Discussion in 'Guardians & Conservators' started by Sharry, Dec 5, 2018 at 1:21 PM.

  1. Sharry

    Sharry Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    I am the guardian for my mother, the ward.

    She is poor and relies on SSI and disability and that's not enough so she uses her credit cards. She threatens suicide if I take away her credit cards. I was told by my lawyer that if the audit on her accounting shows she still has them, I would probably have a hearing to lecture me on that, and if it happens again, they will remove me as her guardian and appoint one to her instead who would then close all her accounts anyways.

    I told her that and she still threatens suicide. What can I do? The Judges have said that they care about what's best for the ward.... would they deny allowing her to keep them and roll the dice to see if she actually kills herself? I don't want to have to put her in a mental hospital over something preventable like this. I would rather she make a careless purchase than end her life due to depression. I keep track of her expenses. She's doing fine. I intended for control on her medical rights, not her financial... and they took away ALL her rights!

    I'm an undergrad, so I can barely afford all these court filing fees and accounting.. I'll have to pay my mother an allowance if she loses her credit cards, and even then she would still be upset about the lack of freedom she has. Would a judge not allow an exception despite this? It makes more problems for the ward than we even started with. My family lawyer told me I'd have to ask a financial lawyer for this advice.
     
  2. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    We don't know what abilities you have, but your post implies that you have the ability to take away your mother's credit cards.

    The only person who can reliably advise you about this is your attorney.

    The smart thing to do would be to petition the court for instructions about how to deal with this situation. Also, if your mother's suicide threats are serious, then some sort of closer physical supervision may be warranted.
     
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Well-Known Member

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    Maybe consider the option of allowing her to use cards with a low limit which she can use per week/month as an allowance. This way she has them and freedom to spend within the limits allowed. She won't be able to overspend and will have to budget her spending.
    Meanwhile you can make her monthly payments on her behalf and manage finances.
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You have a legal and fiduciary duty to protect your mother, keep her safe, and ensure she follows all court orders.

    If her mental state has deteriorated such that she doesn't understand why she can't spend large amounts of money while existing off of the government dole or a minuscule amount of SSI, it is your duty to explain it to her.

    If her mental state is such that she won't (or can't) comply with the court's directives, you have two choices.

    Your mother's suicidal ideation is alarming, especially as they appear predicated on her ability to do something which is harmful to her well being.

    You can ask the court to relieve you of your duties, and appoint a person who can do that which seems unpleasant to you.

    You can have your mother committed to an institution for a complete psychiatric and medical evaluation in order to determine if there are mental health or physical issues which are inhibiting her ability to understand basic directives issued by the court and other governmental bodies.

    On a personal note, I watched what Alzheimers did to my mother and mother-in-law.

    I chose not to seek guardianship because I felt uncomfortable parenting my mother, as did my wife who felt the same way about her mother.

    Only you know the things you can do, and the things you can't do well.

    I suggest you debate with yourself if you wish to continue the role you've chosen, or allowed to chosen for you, and then proceed.

    Know this as you proceed, your mother made those choices for you once upon a time, and if you wish to continue, you must now make those choices for her.

    That is what parents do to protect their offspring.

    May God speed and guide your steps as you traverse the murky waters ahead, mate.
     
  5. Sharry

    Sharry Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I previously had plenary guardianship. Had a hearing today trying to restore her capacity and they amended it.. My mother does not have the right to marry, drive, make travel decisions, contract, sue, manage property or make gifts of property.

    My attorney advised I ask a financial lawyer for help. He only informed me I would probably have a hearing to be lectured if I don't take away her credit cards, then if I still don't that they would replace my as a guardian.

    What type of petition would this be?

    I wanted to do that with her credit cards so that she could still have them, and make sure she doesn't make extreme withdrawals. But I was told she simply is not allowed to have credit cards. The issue resides there because she doesn't get enough money from social security to support herself. I know that a power of attorney can sort of micro-manage finances that way without completely taking it from the ward, so if guardianship can make exceptions like that.


    The thing with appointing a different guardian to her is that she would definitely have her cards taken away, and I would understand why my mother would attempt suicide from that. She feels like her freedom has been stolen from her, and that her possessions are no longer hers.

    The law isn't flexible in a way that I know works for my mother. Her debt is not high. Only 5k. And it has been going down. Her finances were not my main concern. Her mental health was. But yet they gave her her rights to make medical decisions but took away her financial rights..?

    She experiences paranoia and schizophrenia when she doesn't take her thyroid medication. But she has been taking them for the past year and has been fine.

    Putting her into a mental home is extreme. I only wanted the power to do that if things got extreme, but the thing that is driving her to that is the property guardianship itself. I know my mother much better than the doctors who spent 20 minutes evaluating her. Her most recent evaluation even suggested either "power of attorney or limited guardianship" so he recognized as well that she is capable of taking care of herself, but was concerned for her financially as she was scammed online a few years back into sending large sums of money to [those people who claim to be romantically interested and need money to visit her]. But that was 4 years ago, and it was still a concern enough for the doctor to say that she has poor financial judgement but a power of attorney could help with that. I was told in court that that was contradictory and gave me guardianship instead.

    When my mother raised me, I was not an adult who had her rights taken away. I don't think this is the same. It has added stress to us.. I went in trying to have rights over one part of her life and they took away all of her rights. I managed to get some restored today, but not the big one- property. But it's too late.

    I will not do something that I know will trigger my mother's mental instability. I am prepared for the court to reprimand me for that come accounting time next year. And I can't do anything if they decide it's best for her to be institutionalized/her cards taken from her even though she and I both know that that's much too extreme for her. I know the court is only trying to do what is best for her, but I am going to openly say that I know what's best for her well-being, and the concerns I voiced were ignored and the solutions were given too light-heartedly for what they actually mean to a person.

    I was told that MAYBE some exception could be done for her by my attorney, but so far no one at court was able to tell me what that was...

    Thank you for the advice. I'm sorry I am just upset with how quickly they took away her rights when her own daughters could vouch that that was not necessary, and it's costing me multiple hearings and evaluations to restore them.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You misunderstood my intent.

    Initially I suggest you have her mental, emotional, and physical health evaluated.

    Once a psych evaluation has been completed, that is the time decisions are made.
     
  7. Sharry

    Sharry Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The court appointed doctors to evaluate her when I was given full guardianship as well as when I petitioned to restore her capacity.

    The judge pretty much went by the evaluation this time when restoring rights. Though his suggestion of a power of attorney was not acknowledged.

    Now that she has her medical rights have been restored, her annual medical evaluation has been removed.

    I misunderstood when you said "committed to an institution," but also when you suggested appointing a separate guardian which I mentioned in my original post... is not avoided because I can't make these "hard decisions" to care for her, but because I value the care for her mental health more than her finances or legal requirements.

    You have never experienced any exceptions to this being made?
     
  8. cynthiag

    cynthiag Active Member

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    I always thought that a credit card agreement was considered a contract between the individual and the lender (the credit card company). You don't have to sign a contract per se, but use of the credit card constitutes agreeing to the terms of the contract.

    If a person doesn't have the right to contract, then it seems like that would indicate that they wouldn't have the right to use credit cards.
     

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