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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 32837
Experience:  12+ yrs. of experience including estate law.
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I live in Washington and am the guardian of my moms estate. I

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I live in Washington and am the guardian of my moms estate.
I was given permission by my mom who has Alzheimer's to use her money help pay my mortgage. Now what penalties do I face from the court since I've done this?
Hi, My name is Philip. I am an attorney with over 16 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

The problem that you face is that a guardian owes a "fiduciary duty" to the ward. That duty requires that the guardian place the ward's interests above their own.

Can you tell me what sort of court are we talking about? Is the state brining criminal charges? Or is the probate court calling you to account?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Probate calling for annual accounting due on Sept 27th
It will show that I used some of the estate for personal.
I am wondering what action the court will take against me.
Thank you

Can you tell me approximately how much money we are discussing?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Original 114,000 at start of accounting and I think approximately 20,000 used by myself to help pay my mortgage.
I didn't want to lose my home and have 4 kids so I used the estate money in an emergency effort to keep my home.
Now I have to answer for my decision.
The rest of the funds did go to her care and medical costs but now it's all gone so I am able to get her on Medicaid. She was on Medicaid but because she had an IRA the court ordered that we spend the money before she can requalify for medicaid
Thank you Ma'am

One more question please. Can you tell me, are you still serving as the guardian? Or has the court removed you from this position?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I am still the guardian the court is not aware of what I've done I am just trying to see if there's anything I can do to avoid jail time. I know I will be fined.
Thank you Ma'am

The problem you face is that the court may well refer this to the County Prosecutor. The County Attorney is the person who has discretion...they will make the determination on if you will be charged.

What you describe? I would say that jail is unlikely...I do not believe you would wind up with jail time (unless you have a criminal record). But I do believe a criminal conviction is possible, specifically I think you may well face a felony conviction. And that is significant.

I would urge you to seek local counsel from a criminal defense attorney in your County. You will be required to attend this hearing with the probate court. And I would expect that the probate court will relieve you of your duties as guardian and appoint a new guardian. But you will want to be very circumspect about what you tell the court. You certainly do not want to lie to the court. At the same time, going forward and "confessing" to the court may not be the best approach...that is because once you confess, you make the government case much easier to prove...and the easier the case the government has, the less inclined they may be to offer you a favorable plea agreement.

I urge you to work with a local attorney to determine exactly what you will say to the court at this hearing, to meet your requirement to show up to the hearing, but to limit your criminal liability.

Let me know if you have more questions...happy to help if I can
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