Professional guardians, and professionals who become guardians, in some states, can isolate the ward (even from family and friends), bill outrageous amounts, sell houses and other property, take over bank accounts and make the ward’s life absolutely miserable as they do. Don’t believe it? Neither did many others, until it happened to them.
The public is led to believe they have the right to pick the person they wish to make decisions for them, should they become unable to do so or need some help. However, in Florida, it appears, judges are allowed to ignore the person’s wishes and place him or her under the care of a professional guardian. Once that appointment has been made, the family can be completely excluded from the ward’s life. Worse, if there can be a worse, the ward is completely at the mercy of the guardian for better or for worse.
A guardian should be someone who is looking out for the best interest of the ward — not the ward being a money-making product to be billed to pennilessness.
When a guardian has already been chosen by the person, the courts should not be allowed to ignore that wish and appoint a professional guardian, unless there are some serious extenuating circumstances.
In my opinion, one of the first signs something is terribly wrong with a guardian situation is when the ward is isolated from family and friends. This action alone suggests there is something to hide. If not, then why would a guardian worry about the ward associating with all the people that had meant so much to him or her?
People who don’t understand the harm isolation can do, should spend a couple of months alone in a room with no stimulation and the only human contact (and brief words exchanged) being when someone brings a meal and picks up the tray. That experiment will give you a taste of what many under guardianship go through and what you may one day be looking forward to, if the laws are not changed.
The courts should not have the right to over-ride a person’s wishes, without true cause to do so. This is a person’s life after all. And family members and friends should be considered for guardianship prior to any professional being thought of.
Professional guardians should be held to the strictest of standards and there should be no immunity for them not also given to a family member or friend acting in the same capacity.
Guardians should not be allowed to create bills and then sell off the ward’s home and possessions to make payment, as easily as it seems it can be done in many jurisdictions.
Wards should not lose the right to fight for their freedom from guardianship, especially if it is a wrongful one. As it is, if the guardian has all the say — the ward can be silenced and kept from fighting against an abuse guardianship situation. How is that right? Doesn’t that defeat the very purpose of guardianship?
Guardianship may have been created to help those who had no one to help them, but it has evolved into a money-making adventure too often gone wrong. It’s time for review. It’s time to fix the loop-holes and laws that allow the wards to become nothing more than pawns and products to use up, drain and throw away. It’s time to limit judicial and guardianship control and to hold the system accountable!