In Other News, Peter Falk’s Daughter is Still Chipping Away at Guardianship

I thank my lucky stars for Catherine Falk, every day of my life. Daughter of TV’s famous, rumpled, delightful Lt. Columbo, she has been working hard to assure nobody else has to go through what she did. When her father was stricken with Alzheimer’s, Catherine was prevented from visiting him by his legal guardian. With the cooperation of the courts, she was not notified when he died. She was not notified of his funeral arrangements.


New York’s Governor Cuomo has recently approved an end-of-life provision for loved ones of the ward (aka prisoner of a guardian).

For those who don’t know, a guardianship is anarchy. The guardian doesn’t have to abide by laws common in child custody. The guardian can do whatever he/she wants. These laws are regulated on a state-by-state basis. The courts are notorious for rubber-stamping them.

I’ve gotten the rubber stamp twice, after filing two petitions in two separate years and under two different judges, to get a visit with my sister Amanda.

Amanda has Down syndrome and in 2013 (following the death of our dad, of whom I was primary caretaker along with Amanda), she was swooped out to Arizona from our home state of Michigan. This was following a dispute between another sibling, our oldest sister Robin, and the current guardian, brother Ted.

Amanda and I stayed together during those very painful months and we wrote a book, “The North Side of Down.” Immediately after we published it, our story won the Honorary Medallion from the Book Reader’s Appreciation Group. This made Amanda one of the few co-authors in the world with Down syndrome… And Perhaps the only award-winning co-author.


It was my first glimpse into what a horror show guardianship is. I was so relieved when Ted won that case. Amanda was terrified that Robin was going to win. But we both thought things would be just fine now.


Anyone who has followed this blog has seen the struggle I have been though, just trying to get quality time with my sister.

Who knew it was going to be so hard to get permission to take your sister out for movies and pizza?

Evil is rampant, and it isn’t just toward the elderly.

Amanda is a cash cow. Her disability check is “worth a lot more than people thought,” Ted’s wife Ruthie said, back when she was still talking to me.

I couldn’t have cared less about the money. But I am becoming very aware of how much others do.

Back during the days of more open communication, Ted told me he was afraid if Amanda spent too much time with me in Michigan, “she won’t want to come back.”

He transferred her case to Arizona in an attempt to thwart me from filing further petitions.

It’s not going to work.

The only thing that has prevented me this year is the influx of Covid-19.

Now, per this text message, he claims he has removed me from notices about Amanda’s legal status through the court. He said I refused delivery (not true) and I will not be getting any more updates. Ted has lied to me in the past, so it may not be true that he has requested me to be removed and the court agreed, but if it is, it wouldn’t surprise me.

When I posted this latest update on Facebook, a friend asked, “How low can Ted go?”

I guess we are finding that out, eh?

I thought his real low point was when Amanda wept in the restaurant and begged him to let her have time with me.

This friend is not alone. There are a number of friends and relatives, including people who have known Amanda her whole life, who are aghast at the way Ted is treating her. They don’t speak out. Many of them have even withdrawn from Amanda because they are so disgusted by the situation.

I wish people had more courage. Granted, my sisters can be vicious. They are bullies. They will gang up on you.

So what?

Do the right thing.

We need to shed a light on this unethical behavior of guardians. Thank you, Catherine Falk, for pegging away at it.

On September 24th, Amanda turns 50 years old. Hang in there, little sis. I’m not giving up.

Stop Guardian Abuse

About Nancy J. Bailey

Artist, author, bad karaoke singer. Woodsy ragamuffin. Mom of a horse named Clifford who plays fetch and paints with watercolors. He visits libraries and schools with me, to promote literacy and making the world a better place. Yes, he is house trained, no, he doesn't live in my house! I have written three books about Clifford. But my newest book, THE NORTH SIDE OF DOWN, is co-written by my awesome sister Amanda, who has Down syndrome. Her unexpected one-liner wisecracks can always make me laugh. If you make me laugh, you've made my day!
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2 Responses to In Other News, Peter Falk’s Daughter is Still Chipping Away at Guardianship

  1. Praying that all this ends and you and your sister can reunite for longer periods to even regaining custody again, so not fair what your brother has done.


    • Thank you Jeannie. I really appreciate your support. I am at a loss over this hatred, especially from this particular brother. It is so unlike him and I can’t understand what he has to gain from it. I told him he could keep the money.


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