Whose Overseeing the Guardian in a Guardianship?

After seeing the 4 hour television special on former talk show host, Wendy Williams and her health issues, I thought it was important to make this post, as there will be many of you dealing with this issue. In the US, there are an estimated 1.3 million older adults and people with disabilities currently in legal guardianships. Legal guardianships are governed by state laws and are utilized when a person is deemed to be incapable of taking care of themselves and or their finances. In certain instances this can be good, but in other instances this can result in abuse, financial mismanagement, fraud and even has resulted in death. From what I see and understand, there does not seem to be any accountability or oversight in who is really governing the guardian. Everything appears to be secretive in these invisible relationships. There is a lack of transparency that is hard for anyone to get around.

I wish someone could adequately explain to me why there is isolation from friends and family in these situations? An explanation that makes sense from a humane aspect. A person who is suffering needs love, support, and compassion from their loved ones. not isolation. Is it because the guardian, nursing home, etc. is afraid the person under guardianship could be convinced to leave and they will be separated from that source of income? There might be a sense of duty there, but often there is no love. People need love and caring in order to thrive.

I read Wendy’s bank petitioned for guardianship, because a family member was spending her money unscrupulously, and that family member was thought to be Wendy’s son, Kevin. I almost fell off my seat when it was disclosed Kevin spent 100k in one year on a Uber Eats bill. He is 23 years old and says his mom raised him lavishly sparing no expense for anything. Wendy reportedly made 10 million a year from The Wendy Williams show, so okay I get he had no concept of real money. But still, he has to realize she is no longer working and I doubt he knows if her money is being invested to grow.

It makes me wonder however, how fast is the guardian draining Wendy’s bank account? Probably faster than the Uber Eats bill. From what was depicted in the series the guardian didn’t seem to be doing much of anything except collecting money, until she found out her treatment of Wendy was going to be televised. The guardian even tried to file suit at the last minute to prevent the show from being aired. The judge, however, ruled to let the series be televised.

Due to the seriousness of Wendy’s health issues and her age, I can see holding back a certain percentage of her funds to deal with anticipated hospitalizations and healthcare costs, but she clearly voiced she wants her son to also benefit from her years of hard work. Is this being honored? It doesn’t appear to be. No one seems to know. More than likely as these things often go, the guardianship will drain all of the funds and the family will be left with nothing and have no recourse. A sad situation indeed.

A guardian is entrusted to make sure their ward is well taken care of. After the airing of the Wendy special, the public was puzzled, shocked, and enraged that there was no food in Wendy’s refrigerator. There was also no one checking in on her daily, and although she was unsteady on her feet, she was often left alone in her apartment that had stairs. The whole thing is unbelievable and like Wendy said, “If it happens to me, it could happen to you.”