Alameda Post News Story: Probate Conservatorship Cries Out for Reform

The Alameda Post has published a story citing the grand jury report calling for major reforms to the way that conservatorship cases are processed by the local court.  The article credits Spectrum Institute for getting the grand jury to act and quotes its legal director on the need for major changes in legal defense services.  Local reform activist, Venus Gist, is quoted extensively in the article.  To read the full story, click here.

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Noontime Webinar on May 4

Benefits for Clients and Risks to Attorneys in Probate Conservatorship Proceedings. AB 1194 became effective in 2022 and SB 602 is likely to become effective in 2023. Both measures have significant implications for clients and attorneys in probate conservatorship proceedings. This webinar will explain those implications – not only for conservatees and proposed conservatees but for their public defenders or court-appointed attorneys. It will provide information valuable to conservators, temporary conservators, and public guardians, as well as the lawyers who represent them. It also will identify potential ramifications for the public entities that appoint or fund lawyers in conservatorship proceedings. […]

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Disability and Spirituality: Freedom from Religion

This article is based largely on an interview with attorney Eddie Tabash about the right of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to religious freedom.  Eddie Tabash is on the Board of Trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church and State–an organization devoted to preserving equality before the law for both believers and nonbelievers. He also chairs the Board of Directors of the Center for Inquiry, a worldwide organization devoted secular humanism, atheism, secular government, and scientific skepticism.  Tabash has been advocating for freedom from religion for decades.  This article is premised on the principle that spirituality and religion […]

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California Legislator Asked to Strengthen his Conservatorship Reform Bill

January 19, 2022 California Assembly Member Brian Maienschein issued a press release today announcing that he “has introduced AB 1663, The Probate Conservatorship Reform and Supported Decision-Making Act, to address the misuse, overuse, and exploitation of probate conservatorships in California.” Spectrum Institute has written to Mr. Maienschein, commending him for sponsoring the bill but asking that it be amended to eliminate loopholes that judges, lawyers, and conservators may exploit to evade the bill’s intended protections for seniors and people with developmental disabilities who are targeted by conservatorship petitions.  For a copy of his press release, click here. For a copy […]

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Disability and Spirituality – Recovering Wholeness

This feature story focuses on the issue of religious freedom for adults with developmental disabilities.  It discusses the research, education, and advocacy done by Rev. William C. Gaventa, author of Disability and Spirituality: Recovering Wholeness.  As the book description explains: “Disability and spirituality have traditionally been understood as two distinct spheres: disability is physical and thus belongs to health care professionals, while spirituality is religious and belongs to the church, synagogue, or mosque and their theologians, clergy, rabbis, and imams. This division leads to stunted theoretical understanding, limited collaboration, and segregated practices, all of which contribute to a lack of […]

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End The Fee for All in Probate Conservatorships

More than 1,700 viewers have watched this one-hour video in which panelists explain how they witnessed or experienced the “fee for all” dynamic depleting the assets of conservatees. The moderator discussed how the Funding and Fees Review Project of Spectrum Institute plans to tackle this problem with a thorough study of what has been happening in local courts throughout the state. The project will issue a major report with recommendations on how to tame this asset-eating beast.  To watch the video, click here.

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Chief Justice Lags Behind Peers on Conservatorship Reform

By Thomas F. Coleman Daily Journal / Dec.15, 2021 “Lagging” is defined as “falling behind in movement, progress, or development; not keeping pace with another or others.”  That perfectly describes California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye when it comes to conservatorships reform. Despite having knowledge of major deficiencies with every part of the probate conservatorship system, the chief justice has remained silent on the plight of seniors and adults with disabilities who are targeted by these so-called protective proceedings.  In contrast, she has been quite outspoken and proactive for other populations and for other areas of the law needing reform. Cantil-Sakauye […]

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Different Brains®: Respecting Neurodiversity

By Emmi Deckard Advocates of the neurodiversity movement argue that neurodiversity is a valuable and natural form of human diversity that should be considered similar to other forms of diversity such as race and sexuality. Since society has often been built around neurotypical brains, neurodiverse individuals can sometimes be excluded. Despite estimates that one in seven people are neurodiverse, little is currently being done to increase the inclusion of neurodiverse individuals in society. Neurodiversity refers to differences in brain function and behavioral traits. ADHD, dyslexia, autism spectrum disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, and more are included under the umbrella of neurodiversity.  One […]

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Barbara Buckley: Mentoring Guardianship Lawyers

A conversation with the executive director of the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada about their advocacy and defense services in adult guardianship proceedings.  The Legal Aid Center’s Guardianship Advocacy Program provides representation to seniors and adults with disabilities who are facing or under guardianship to ensure the adult’s legal rights are protected.  In order to provide legal representation to as many adults as possible, the Legal Aid Center developed a training manual that provides advocacy guidelines for pro bono attorneys who take adult guardianship cases through Legal Aid Center’s Pro Bono Project.  The manual warns would-be pro bono attorneys: “Accepting […]

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Podcast Episode 5: Dr. Sam Sugar: An Iconic Warrior for Guardianship Reform

Dr. Sam Sugar is the founder of a nonprofit education and advocacy organization known as Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship. Since 2013, Dr. Sugar and AAAPG have been in the national forefront of the guardianship reform movement, focusing the attention of the media and the public on the plight of victims of guardianship abuse. To listen to this 30-minute podcast and to access prior podcast episodes, click here. Feature Story. Dr. Sugar is also the author of Guardianships and the Elderly: The Perfect Crime (Square One 2018). The book is described as a survival guide to understanding, dealing with, and […]

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