Flutterby™! : Things I don't talk about much

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Things I don't talk about much

2006-03-15 16:18:26.749435+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

Even last year when I was updating the "you have to ask me for the address" journal in the other place, there was a struggle I probably only hinted at. Yesterday a judge granted conservatorship of Alan[Wiki], Charlene[Wiki]'s developmentally disabled younger brother, to Charlene[Wiki] and her two older siblings, a process that Charlene[Wiki] spearheaded.

Not knowing what to expect, Monday evening we'd gone through the Handbook for Conservators again, and I had the same reaction as I did yesterday morning when I was watching the court-mandated video on conservatorship (info at the bottom of this): How the hell do you get to the point where you're filing motions with the court without knowing all of this stuff already?

But then this was the culmination of a fight against their mother for Alan[Wiki]'s rights, involving lawyers all the way across the spectrum, from competent and honest to downright deceitful, necessitating us carefully reading California's probate law, actions close to kidnapping (sometimes the legal definitions get hairy), and short notice airplane flights.

So, had to put this here because along with being a link dump, Flutterby is a record of my life, and of the recent struggles and successes this is a milestone.

[ related topics: Law California Culture Handicaps & Disabilities ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-03-15 17:35:24.230556+00 by: Nancy

Congratulations. As I am currently working in the legal field, I sympathize with all you went through. My employer is conservator of a 100 year old woman, and it is usually a shame it has to come to that.

I'm glad Alan will be getting the care he deserves.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-03-16 01:33:12.121403+00 by: TC

Congratulations old friend. Irony meter is pegged. I think beer and catching up is rquired.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-03-16 02:18:45.11816+00 by: Dan Lyke

TC, did you get my email? We know the place, give me a time, I've already bought.

Nancy, thanks. In this case the shame isn't about the conservatorship or the need for it (or if there is, it happened over three decades ago and there's nothing to be done about it now), it's that there needed to be a struggle over it. But it's been an education, I've stood outside a courtroom and watched a lawyer tell a baldfaced lie that was directly contradicted by the existend of a whole freakin' chapter in the documents that the conservators need to affirm that they've read before the hearing, I've seen incredible dedication and hard work for very little pay and lots of suspicion by people working with disabled clients, I've seen a bit about how social services agencies work, and I'm sure I'll learn more.

It's just that now the law is on Charlene's side, and all of those "I want to give you that information but legally I can't" discussions can get short circuited.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-03-16 13:24:17.245621+00 by: DaveP

I've been surprised recently at the difference between power of attorney (which can open a lot of those doors) and SSA's representative payee program. The latter is a lot more powerful, but also adds a large bookkeeping burden.

As for the lawyers, they're paid to tell lies, so you don't have to. Sigh.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-03-16 13:56:03.471667+00 by: petronius

What I've discovered is that if you can find a decent advocate (not necessarily a lawyer), cling to them. My 68 year-old brother-in-law is retarded, and he lives in a group home down in Missouri. My wife is his legal guardian, with a cousin as a back-up. The organization that runs the group home, Emmaus Homes of Missouri has been a godsend, appropriately enough for a group affiliated with the United Church of Christ. The attention and care they devote to their residents is remarkable, and lets my wife sleep at night. We've never had any court fights, but the family was lucky to find these folks the first time out.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-03-16 15:40:17.567962+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, California has something called "regional centers", we're dealing with the awesome CVRC, and they've got a person assigned to Alan[Wiki] who takes care of his life plan, from finances, to paperwork, to educational goals. And the home she (the person assigned to him) found on a few days(!) notice is fantastic, it was started because the family of a developmentally disabled woman wanted to provide a good space for her, and is still run by the family, and... well... because of the legal issues involved until Tuesday's ruling (and now the paperwork has to percolate) we don't actually know how much money they get per client, but we've got a few educated guesses and it can't possibly be enough.

So CVRC takes care of the representative payee paperwork, and comes to the conservators for decisions like where to live and major medical stuff.

Lawyer-wise, we've had three involved: The one who filed for the initial conservatorship for the mother was the one who flat-out lied; the one who filed our initial motion to oppose that action was okay for court procedure, but we knew more about the specifics of conservatorship law than she did (basic small-town lawyer, not used to dealing with this stuff specifically); the one who filed for this conservatorship was awesome, and hopefully we won't have to use her services again but if we do she's at the top of the list.