Florida Chief Justice Orders Study on Guardianships
For several years, the guardianship system in Florida has been the subject of much criticism and debate. Now, Chief Justice Jorge Labarga of the state Supreme Court has announced that appointed members of a special task force will investigate these growing concerns. The news comes right as the state is attempting to establish regulatory authority over professional guardians for the first time ever.
One report from the Palm Beach Post described how one judge and his wife were able to financially benefit from an abuse of the system. The judge’s wife remains a professional guardian in the state, even though there is an ever-increasing number of complaints against her from the loved ones of her incapacitated wards. According to complaints and Post reports, she has allegedly stolen tens of thousands of dollars from the bank accounts of incapacitated seniors.
Guardianship cases on the rise
Florida has the largest population of senior citizens in the United States, and the state continues to be a popular retirement destination. This means more cases dealing with guardianship issues will continue to flood the state’s courts.
Any individual who is found to be incapacitated according to court definitions is provided a guardian. If a family member is not available, a professional guardian steps in to take complete control of that senior’s finances, medical decisions, housing and other items of importance.
For this reason, it’s important to include guardianship and end-of-life care issues in your estate plan. For more information on how to move forward, speak with a knowledgeable Tampa estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.