The gist of the hearing was my Mom telling Judge Klotz she wanted out of the guardianship / conservatorship; Kenyon and my brothers arguing she needed it; me maintaining and saying very little with the frame-of-mind that this meeting is strictly between my Mom and the judge; and, no one else should intercede. So, my Mom tells the judge she wants out; the judge says I want you (Mom) to do it thru an attorney; and, as a sidebar my Mom tells the judge she wants her Trust (Mom equated as her Will and a document she told the judge she never read but signed) changed so her sons inherit her property and own it equally. That’s something I may elaborate on in the future. The judge also says you need to do that thru an attorney and don’t sign “stuff” without reading and understanding. So, Mom and I go back to her house. She says “I don’t know any attorneys.” I continue to stay with her 24/7. However, I usually took several hours in the afternoons to take care of my personal business; check on my house, etc. Not long after their hearing, one day I returned to my parents’ house about 4 or 5 o’clock. I found my Mom sobbing. She said she had just gotten off the phone with Dad; that Tommy and Bobby had taken Dad to a nursing home and he wanted me to come pick him up and take him home. I called the nursing home; got connected to my Dad’s room; Tom picked up. I asked him what was going on. He said we’ve (I assume he and other brothers) take Dad to a nursing home; he’s settled in; he’s got on his complementary terry cloth bath robe and is happier than a clam. He wouldn’t let me talk to Dad. So, I got Mom calmed down; got her some dinner.
In 50+ years I had never seen my Dad (who had always been a rather stoic, reserved, polite, quiet man) so angry. He basically kept saying “get me the hell out of here.” I had to tell him under the guardianship I couldn’t legally do that; only Mark could. He said “to hell with him.” So, I stayed; talked and calmed him down and told him I’d look into legally getting him home.
So, this began my Dad’s nursing home life (going from a 3,000 square foot home of 60+ years to a 170 square foot drab room.)
So, I continued to stay with my Mom; take her to see Dad every day; looked for an attorney to primarily get them out of the guardianship / conservatorship.
I actually need to back up a bit. After my Mom had met with Judge Klotz, I started to look for an attorney for her. Thru a referral she met with attorney John Barnhill. He said he’d see what he could do and also would meet and talk with my Dad who was still at the rehab hospital. Which John B. tried? I don’t know if it was just coincidence or if John had priorly arranged a meeting with Dad, but when he went to the rehab hospital, brothers Bob and Mark were there and refused to let John meet with Dad. Again, to my knowledge under Iowa law and under voluntary guardianship / conservatorship, the guardian can not prevent the ward (i.e. Dad) from legal counsel.
I ended up hiring attorney Nan Tiernan to contest the guardianship / conservatorship. There were two hearings regarding such. They were both disasters. My brothers and their attorney Greg Kenyon raked me over the coals to the point where I was sobbing so bad I had to leave the judge’s chambers. Why Judge Klotz allowed that kind of treatment I don’t know. I realize she (now retired) was highly regarded but considering she approved the voluntary guardianship / conservatorship without meeting my parents and the way she conducted the hearings – my impression of her is different.
I don’t think Nan Tiernan did a very good job. She wasn’t well prepared and didn’t present a very good argument why my parents could live out the remainder of their lives in their home. Judge Klotz rules to keep the guardianship / conservatorship in tack. So, I hired a different attorney – Joe Bertogli to appeal the judge’s decision. I really don’t know what all Joe did other than cite some court cases where guardianship / conservatorships had been overturned. The appeal hearing didn’t go well either. Greg Kenyon talked for 15-30 minutes why the guardianship / conservatorship should remain in tack. Immediately following Joe’s presentation (and I mean immediately right after Joe stopped talking) Judge Klotz not only denied the appeal but ruled that my parents were now incompetent and the guardianship / conservatorship would now be involuntary. How could she make such a ruling without even seeing nor talking to my parents. That basically sealed my parent’s fate and I was out about $6,000.00 in attorney’s fees.