I CARE A LOT (2021) | A Lawyer’s Reflections
I’m Mike Hackard of Hackard Law. I’ve recently recommended the excellent Netflix movie, I Care A Lot. The movie is, in one sense, two films.
The first – a story of betrayal. It starts with a court appointed conservator’s knock on a wealthy woman’s door. The woman, an elder, opens the door to what turns out to be a licensed predator.
A scheme unfolds, stage by stage, calculated and timed, that takes the elder’s freedom and money from her. She is soon far removed from the protection of law and justice.
The second part of the story evolves into a dark comedy. The film explores the murky side of the for-profit guardianship/conservatorship industry. A significant number of American families have suffered from the industry’s overreach. Those Americans say that its excesses are the worst, most destructive, and most degrading of experiences.
The vilest and most unrepentant for-profit professionals, when questioned by family members, have comebacks to families that, “you (or your loved one) had rights. You gave them up. You’ll now have to live with that. I’m in charge.” Aggrieved family members realize that something happened suddenly – swift, overpowering and unexpected in its reach.
They grieve especially if they were the prime movers that sought out court orders. Orders imposing a conservatorship over their loved one. They nursed a delusion that this would solve problems. And found a reality that the conservatorship has unsettled everything and settled nothing.
Life imitates art. I Care A Lot is artful in depicting people, who by force of law, find themselves isolated, separated, and stranded.
There are widespread voices in our country advocating for guardianship and conservatorship reform. They hope that a turning point mandating major industry reforms will soon be reached. That new steps will be taken to protect elders from guardianship and conservatorship abuse. Fundamental freedoms, family decencies, and historic rights are at stake.
Dr. Sam Sugar, a leading advocate for this reform, says that reformers are fighting “a system of justice in this country that strips its citizens of their Constitutional rights, voids their existing legal documents, gives others the right to spend their money and sell their assets, isolates them, and has the ability to limit the time they can spend with their loved ones.”
I applaud J. Blakeson, the writer and director of I Care A Lot, for shedding light on a dangerous system that too many times does more harm than good. Americans should listen.
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