“Diane Dimond has written a searing and insightful examination of guardianship that all too often fails those it is supposed to help.”
—Lawrence A. Frolik, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Law, University of Pittsburgh
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Diane Dimond is a multiple award-winning freelance journalist, author, syndicated columnist, and former television correspondent who specializes in crime and justice issues. She has worked at National Public Radio, WCBS-TV, Hard Copy, the Today Show, MSNBC, CNBC, and Court TV. She has written for Newsweek, Huffington Post, the Daily Beast, the New York Post, Real Clear Investigations, and the Albuquerque Journal. She is the author of Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case, Cirque Du Salahi, and Thinking Outside the Crime and Justice Box.
About We’re Here to Help
The state-run guardianship system, called conservatorship in some states, is largely unregulated, ill-understood, and increasingly populated by financially motivated predators. Just how guardianship works and its real-life effects remained a mystery to most until the very public case of pop star Britney Spears. It suddenly became clear that those conscripted into the system lose all their civil rights in the process.
Explosive and compelling, We’re Here to Help tells the human stories behind the headlines and shows how to avoid the risks of voluntary or involuntary guardianship.
Praise & Awards
“Author Diane Dimond’s well researched case studies of how judges, lawyers, guardians collude to profit from the fortunes of the elderly and the disabled are an eye-opener.”
—Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell (Ret.), author of Her Honor: My Life on the Bench… What Works, What’s Broken, How to Change It
“Dimond, an experienced investigative journalist, uncovered an astonishing number of cases where predatory individuals gained legal control over people thought unfit to manage their own affairs. With elements of true crime and self-help, We're Here to Help advocates for systemic reform ... via wrenching cautionary tales.”
—Foreward Reviews Magazine
“To those who truly want to protect incapacitated adults I urge you to please read this book.”
—Lisa MacCarley, conservatorship attorney, California
“A tenacious reporter and skillful writer, Dimond uses compelling stories of real people to pull back the curtain on a guardianship system shrouded in secrecy, where power, greed and influence all too often intersect with devastating consequences for the people the system is intended to protect—and their loved ones. A powerful book.”
—Kent Walz, lawyer, journalist, and former editor-in-chief of The Albuquerque Journal
—Jack Furlong, Constitutional and criminal attorney,
Furlong and Krasny
“This book provides clear evidence of the problems within the U.S. guardianship and conservatorship system and how easily it can affect anyone at any time. Readers interested in law, civil rights, and stories about everyday people will be drawn in quickly, but it's a book for everyone.”
—Library Journal, starred review
American Bar Association’s
Silver Gavel Award
The Institute for American Studies (Stanford University)
Clark Mollenhoff Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism
New Mexico Press Association
First Place Public Service Reporting
Los Angeles Press Association
Award for Excellence in Journalism
Award for Spot News Coverage
How to Avoid Being Victimized: Support and Resources
What Can Be Done?
1. Families: Stop fighting about what’s best for your vulnerable loved one. Choose family mediation first before turning to an attorney. Once on a path to guardianship it nearly always becomes permanent.
2. Local law enforcement: Start vigorously charging and prosecuting rogue court appointees, nursing home operators, home health aides and others with crimes when they exploit vulnerable wards.
3. States: Demand guardians be both certified and licensed and subject to mandatory criminal and civil background checks. Pass meaningful reform laws and approve funding for a statewide database to keep track of all players in the system.
4. Federal: Congress should insist the Dept. of Justice aggressively prosecute those guardians and conservators who commit elder abuse and/or abscond with federal funds meant for wards.
It is remarkably easy for anyone to file a petition with the court to guardianize another person. And the intended target (and their family) might never know what is happening in this mostly secretive system until it is too late. Further, it is nearly impossible to escape from a guardianship or conservatorship once a judge has established a case.
It is a court system that has truly run amok, a system in which you or someone you love can be declared an “incapacitated ward-of-the-court” and automatically stripped of all civil rights. Loyal relatives are often pushed aside and a total stranger can be appointed as the guardian who will decide every aspect of the ward’s life. Their money and property are confiscated, they suddenly have no control over where they live, who they can visit with, where they can travel and they no longer have the right to vote. All their plans for the future are rendered moot. Oh, and they might be involuntarily overmedicated to ensure compliance.
“Who guards the guardians: A series by Diane Dimond”
“The Face of the Elder Guardian Trap”
“Elder Guardianships – A Shameful American ‘Racket’”