What do you do if you parent’s have money and your other siblings and their children want their money and or assets? With parents who have Alzheimer’s, Dementia or are just older this scenario can become a nightmare. When the court system gets involved the problem becomes even more confounded and the money that was once there goes down the drain.
Errol Rappaport just wants to see his mother. Frances, Rappaport is 100 years, 6 months and 14 days old. Born in Odessa, when she was three years old she came over to America with her parents and six older brothers. She was moved from her long-time home at 200 Central Park South to a place in Queens. Her apartment was sold after a dispute between Rappaport and his two brothers. According to Errol Rappaport, he has been prevented from seeing his mother except with 48 hours’ advance notice, for a visit of up to two hours. Each visit is requested by email, for which the previous guardian, Madeleine Egelfeld, bills for 15 to 20 minutes at a rate of $450 per hour. Egelfeld was paid at least $12,000 to $20,000 per year beginning in 2013, and hired Ellyn Kravitz as her own counsel in the matter for a sum of $123,139 as of January 2018. Egelfeld also billed for hours spent communicating with Kravitz, so that both were paid for the same time spent, a common practice known as double-billing. Ironically Ms. Kravitz, serves on several committees with the judge in charge of this case.
The new guardian Sabrina Morrissey, is continuing the same policy, according to Errol. “It is inconceivable that I can’t go over to see my mother, hold her hand, kiss her forehead , tell her I love her. I am 74 years old, A Vietnam veteran of the United States Air Force. This is causing me undo anxiety, stress and it is Elder abuse on all levels. I am very concerned for my mothers health.” states Errol. “All I want is to have unrestricted access to visit with my mother on a daily basis. Every minute is precious.”
I personally watched as this travesty of injustice played out. I tried to speak to Ms. Madeleine Egelfeld to explain what I had personally been witness to, but she flat out refused. Rappaport’s brothers have decline to comment, when asked by other papers. Egelfeld also did not respond to a request for comment when the article by Alisa Partlan for CityLimits.org https://citylimits.org/2018/06/05/they-say-legal-guardians-ripped-them-off-and-the-state-ag-let-them-down/.
Alleged victims of guardianship abuse and trust fraud have come forward to say that New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office refuses to investigate their complaints. New York state’s adult guardianship system, is “broken, yet nobody seems willing to fix this. The Attorney General’s Office is the chief law enforcement officer for the state. It’s their responsibility to accept and process complaints for serious infractions,” says Dr. Sam Sugar, founder of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship. “When they establish a policy of ignoring complaints that are well-documented, they are breaking their own laws and their oath to uphold the constitution of the United States and the constitutions of their individual states, all of whom make it clear that discrimination against anyone for any reason is illegal.”
Guardianship is designed to protect people who are incapable of managing their own personal, medical, and/or financial affairs due to mental or physical disability. A judge makes a determination that the individual is incapacitated and appoints a guardian for the person. The guardian then has the legal authority to make decisions regarding the person’s property and/or care, and are to consider the needs and wishes of the individual and choose the “least restrictive” interventions.
According to Michele Gartner, Esq., Special Counsel for Surrogate & Fiduciary Matters in the Office of Court Administration, there are more than 17,000 active open guardianship cases in the state of New York. Richard Black, director of the Center for Estate Administration Reform, estimates that there are closer to 60,000 to 80,000. Black estimates that 5 to 10 percent of adult guardianships are fraudulent to some extent, costing victims and their families approximately $10 billion nationwide each year.
In New York state, a 2016 study estimated statewide losses due to financial exploitation of the elderly at a whopping $1.5 billion; of those cases, 15 percent involved power of attorney abuse, 6 percent involved fraud, and 4 percent involved denial of access to assets. Within the city, thefts from guardianships have been reported for more than a decade.
On January 8, the New York State Senate held a round table on guardianship. No victims of guardianship abuse were invited to speak.
This subject is affecting many New Yorker’s, not just Errol and his mother. As we sit and cry out against the travesties in Mexico that are being manipulated by the press, http://money.cnn.com/2018/06/22/media/time-cover-photo-critics/index.html why are we not crying out for the elderly that are being abused and the children who fight for their rights?
A lot of this article was written by Alisa Partlan for CityLimits.org https://citylimits.org/2018/06/05/they-say-legal-guardians-ripped-them-off-and-the-state-ag-let-them-down/