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Guardian sues bank regarding New York financier's accounts

Legal authority to care for an incapacitated person may include full legal guardianship in which one person assumes responsibility for another including paying bills, managing property, determining living situations and making medical decisions. In other situations, a durable power of attorney, living trust or living will can appoint a person or entity to manage assets or healthcare decisions. A limited guardianship may be instituted if the person is still able to work and make some decisions on his or her own.

It is critical that an identified guardian or conservator be trustworthy and consider the ward's best interests at all times, including noting behaviors or patterns that may be red flags. Bank of America is currently being sued for failure to properly safeguard the accounts of a New York man by his brother, who was granted guardianship in 2010. The man is known to have mental illness and has been hospitalized in two different mental wards. He had been the senior vice president at Lehman Brothers and UBS Warberg. 

The suit alleges that the bank allowed multiple transactions to process through the brother's accounts. The activity includes a $300,000 payment to a woman the man barely knew as well as a payment to a contractor in New Jersey for $600,000. The legal guardian is suing both the bank as well as two individuals who accepted the large lump sum payments from his brother.

In the event of questions regarding how to properly identify a guardianship for an incapacitated individual, seeking legal counsel may be helpful. The law allows for different options and the state as well as family members want to ensure that any ward is cared for and not taken advantage of in a guardianship situation.

Source: New York Post, "'Psychotic' ex-finance bigwig gave out millions to strangers: lawsuit," Julia Marsh and Selim Algar, May 29, 2013

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