State Senators Anthony Palumbo,. R-New Suffolk and George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, recently hosted a panel discussion on guardianship in Manhattan.
The senators were joined by a dozen advocates who shared their personal stories highlighting the need for guardianship reform to protect vulnerable older people and offered various policy proposals for next year’s legislative session.
Earlier this year, Palumbo introduced Karilyn’s Law, which is named after Karilyn Montanti, an elderly victim of the guardianship system, whose loved ones were denied due process rights to be heard and the right to an evidentiary hearing, which would simply allow family and friends to visit. After this legislation was introduced, Palumbo’s office received a number of emails and phone calls from across the state detailing the hardships faced by families due to current guardianship laws.
“It is truly heartbreaking to hear these stories, to speak to families who cannot visit loved ones, especially elderly caretakers who have little time to see their children and grandchildren,” said Palumbo. “Unfortunately, visitation rights are only one aspect of guardianship abuse affecting New Yorkers. Today’s event brought much-needed attention to this issue which we hope to address in the upcoming session. legislation with our colleagues.
Advocates who spoke at today’s roundtable on guardianship include Christine Montanti, daughter of Karily Montanti, Libra Max, daughter of artist Peter Max, Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, Philip C. Marshall , Founder Beyond Brooke, Marian Kornicki, Sherry Moses, Nadia Antrobus, Marilyn Chinitz, Ellen Oxman, Cynthia Mifsud, Larry Gile and Julia Lichtblau.
“I strongly believe that the duty of government, above all else, is to protect the health and safety of its citizens, which is why Senator Palumbo and I are hosting this roundtable. said Borello. “Guardians can protect vulnerable older people as well as incapacitated adults and children. But just as a guardianship can be used as a shield to protect the vulnerable, it can also be used as a weapon by feuding family members to punish their rivals. People deemed “unfit” by a judge may have their homes sold and their estate gutted without regard to any end-of-life decisions they have made. We have cases where adult children are forbidden to see their sick and dying parents by a guardian. Anyone who has watched by the bedside or held the hand of a sick or dying loved one knows that is fundamentally wrong. The evidence we are hearing today will help us draft legislation to reform the guardianship system to ensure accountability and protect vulnerable older people from victimization by unscrupulous court-appointed guardians and the system himself.