cover image Guardianships and the Elderly: The Perfect Crime

Guardianships and the Elderly: The Perfect Crime

Sam Sugar. Square One, $19.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-7570-0433-9

Sugar, an internist and the founder of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship, enlightens readers about the financial and psychological toll taken on vulnerable elderly people by corrupt court-appointed guardians. While readers may have some passing awareness of occasional elder abuse scandals, Sugar, who estimates that as many as 14% of all guardianships involve some criminality, convincingly demonstrates that the system as a whole is broken. The disturbing facts he cites include the lack of any qualification requirements for the examiners who determine others’ level of competence. Going beyond merely sounding the alarm, he recommends concrete ways for individuals to protect themselves and their loved ones, such as documenting a person’s wishes in advance regarding guardianship, and for society to reshape the way guardians are selected and supervised. With the aging of the American population and the concomitant increase in expected guardianships, this is a timely and valuable cri de coeur. (May)