Elder Law

Allegations Against Attorney Guardian Spur Ohio Judge’s Proposed Rules

An Ohio judge is developing local rules for attorney guardians after hearing the case of a retired city worker who alleged his guardian’s actions cost his estate more than $400,000 in assets.

Judge Eric Brown of Franklin County Probate Court in Columbus is proposing standards that bar attorney guardians from self-dealing and from hiring relatives without court permission, the Columbus Dispatch reports. The rules also would require them to respect a ward’s wishes and privacy.

Brown acted after ruling in the case of Milous Keith, who alleges his attorney guardian sold assets at a loss, hired his father-in-law as a real-estate agent and failed to inventory safe-deposit boxes, according to the Dispatch. Brown found Keith competent in February 2006 and removed the guardianship. Keith’s lawsuit against the guardian’s law firm is pending. A former Columbus Dispatch story has more details.

Other states have adopted guardianship guidelines, but Brown would be the first local judge to adopt standards of practice, according to the National Guardianship Association. The Ohio Supreme Court is also developing guardianship rules, and Brown hopes his effort will assist the justices in their work, the story says.

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