Proponents of Guardianship Reform Seek Assistance from Police
Citizens of the West Palm Beach area recently took part in a town hall meeting focused on Florida’s guardianship system. During the three-hour meeting, community members expressed outrage expressed over the current state of the system.
One activist was Dr. Sam Sugar, the co-founder of Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship. He suggested the chief guardianship investigator for the Palm Beach County arrange a meeting with Sheriff Ric Bradshaw to discuss the issue.
Many attendees at the meeting complained about the general absence of law enforcement in the ongoing guardianship debate in Florida. Families have put forth numerous complaints related to guardians taking advantage of their loved ones and embezzling their estates, and they say police officers have not provided much assistance.
Activists point to other states in which police and prosecutors have made multiple arrests of people who have been accused of abusing their positions and taking advantage of incapacitated senior citizens. Guardians often have complete control over seniors’ assets, and those who abuse the system may use money from the seniors’ estates to pay themselves for work they did not actually perform or that was unnecessary.
An ongoing problem in South Florida
Activists have been seeking an overhaul of the Florida guardianship system for several years. There have been multiple examples of cases in which family members claim guardians took advantage of their loved ones, but law enforcement has largely been kept out of the issue.
In one recent case, a federal jury awarded $16.4 million to a plaintiff who alleged the lawyers of professional guardians to a multimillionaire ward purposefully ran up unnecessary fees. The defendants are appealing that verdict.
For more information about the state of guardianship and reform possibilities in Florida, contact an experienced Florida estate planning attorney with The Charles Law Offices.