E188 Erica’s Court-Appointed Stranger

E188 Erica’s Court-Appointed Stranger


Erica Loberg shares the story of her mom’s court-appointed stranger, and what she would to do differently to avoid a court-appointed conservator.

Erica first shared her full story at NextAvenue.org.

About Erica’s mom

Erica's mom

When all this happened, Erica’s mom was 70 years old.  She was not diagnosed with dementia, technically. But for years Erica’s dad had handled everything. So when he passed away, it created a vacuum for mom’s care.

How did she end up with a court-appointed guardian?

Unfortunately, Erica’s family was divided on how best to care for mom. So their uncle (mom’s brother) stepped in and hired his own attorney. And that attorney recommended an independent, court-appointed conservator to have legal authority over Erica’s mom.

Once that lawyer got the ball rolling, there wasn’t much discussion or debate. This was happening. And before they could get their bearings, Erica and her sisters were in court.

What was so bad about mom’s court-appointed stranger?

First, he was a total stranger. Neither mom, nor Erica, nor any of the family members had ever met this person. And even after he received his court-appointment, he only met Erica’s mom once.

Second, Erica discovered that he had a history of complaints. She spoke with the families of several of his past conservatees, and they had one message: keep him away if you can!

As for his actions:

  • He isolated mom from her daughters
  • He changed mom’s phone number several times to hinder contact
  • He cleaned out mom’s house, disposing of all family and sentimental items
  • He ordered renovations to the house, not for mom’s benefit, but to generate rental income or sell (once he moved mom to a nursing home)
  • The court-appointed stranger was able to coerce mom into all these steps with the constant threat that he would move her into a nursing home, otherwise

How did Erica finally get rid of the conservator?

Erica contacted every agency and authority she could think of: from the court, to the police, and even the FBI. Finally, she had a breakthrough when she complained to the county Probate Investigator’s Office.

After some struggle and negotiations, they were finally able to rid themselves of mom’s nightmare court-appointed stranged.

What Erica would do differently?

  1. Discuss with mom her wishes and intentions. And not just when a crisis is at hand. Do it way before mom or dad is on the verge of losing capacity
  2. Help mom and dad make a will or estate plan
  3. The rest of family needs to keep their act together. Conflicts will only get everyone dragged into court,

More about Erica

Read the full version of Erica’s story at NextAvenue.org.

Erica is also an author, and published a book of poetry inspired by her experience titled “I’m Not Playing

I'm Not Playing

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