Here is AAAPG’s response to attorney-at-law Juan C. Antúnez, writing in his firm’s Probate & Trust Litigation Blog, Must read for Florida guardianship lawyers: Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s special investigative series: “Elder guardianship: A well-oiled machine:
Under-funding is no excuse for cold judges, who are so disinterested or so lazy that they don’t even bother to read petitions. Under-funding is not an excuse for intentionally ignoring advance directives. Under-funding is not an excuse for handing out guardianships to professional guardians who just happen to be buddies, or drinking partners or golf partners or campaign contributors or spouses of the judge. We expect a level of professionalism and justice in the courts that is simply not being met. We expect due process in our courts and that simply isn’t happening in probate courts all around the state (and the country) as has been documented by this article and so many others in the last few weeks. We want to see an end to the outrageous staged litigation, insane legal fees and legal abuse retaliation against families who try to stand up for the loved ones who have been trapped in the web of probate guardianship.
The Florida legislature seems to agree with this point of view and is about to pass our massive guardianship reform bills. We can no longer stand by and watch entire families be deprived of relationships with their loved ones. We will not stand by and watch stranger third-party guardians and those who protect them, in an admittedly incestuous predatory greed-based cabal, systematically exploit the assets of a vulnerable person and divert the intergenerational transfer of lifelong assets from their rightful heirs into the pockets of the guardianship industry stakeholders–all in the name of the “best interests of the Ward”.
This must stop now.
Our group has lobbied for increased funding for the judicial system and probate courts. But the probate courts need to prove they deserve that increased funding by stopping this horrific abuse of innocent vulnerable citizens that can only happen over the signature of a probate court judge.. Absent that signature the actions of these professional guardians are nothing more than felonies under color of law.
The meteoric increase in the number of professional guardians in Florida is staggering. 12 years ago there were 23. Today there are 460. This alone is an indication of the enormous profits available to minimally trained, minimally educated,unlicensed and completely unmonitored court favorites and those who protect them. this statistic alone portends an enormous increase in the number of guardianships we can expect going forward- a disaster in the making for every potential victim in a state where nearly 20% of the population is at risk by virtue of their age.
There need to be far fewer guardianships and that alone will free up the judges to do better with their workload.
Our website www.aaapg.net contains extensive information and commentary from the heretofore silent victims of this probate abuse.
Sam Sugar MD
Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship