Death by Guardianship


Imagine that you or a loved one is about to have all their precious civil rights involuntarily and forcefully seized in court by probate guardians  as the latest “Ward of the State”. Like so many other peculiar aspects of Probate Court—no trials, no adherence to rules of civil discovery, no due process , no transparency— everything is cloaked in secrecy so no one can even try to help or even comprehend what is happening. You are helpless, under attack and terrified as you watch the life you treasure being taken from you by total strangers.

Only the Judges who preside over a badly flawed system of predatory For Profit Guardianship Abuse and their bosses in the Supreme Court can begin to fix what is so clearly a system that actively subverts the clear intent of the Statutes that govern it.  Florida Statute 744 cautions that the use the draconian power of  Guardianship should be employed only sparingly and then only in the most dire circumstances. Instead, it is the weapon of first choice to redistribute wealth in Probate.

The fact that records in probate are sealed make it impossible for any meaningful statistics or research to occur. That means that when there is abuse, neglect and exploitation, as we have repeatedly seen, the government and everyone is blinded to it, except for the family members who witness it.

This “for profit” system affords the allegedly incapacitated person little or no chance to escape their sentence, especially if their only defender is a Lawyer assigned to them randomly and not on the basis of his or her success in defence of, or experience with, their “clients”.

It should be so obvious that lawyers chosen and paid for by the government may not represent their clients forcefully, perhaps for fear of missing out on the next assignment. Yet, the same attorneys are selected by the same Judges over and over, their dismal performance not even a consideration or more perversely, the primary consideration.

“The fundamental problem is that lawyers in this country are oftentimes beholden to judges for appointments,” said Norman Lefstein, a law professor at Indiana University “The allegiance of the lawyer is not principally to the client, where it ought to be.” The cozy, symbiotic relationship between court appointed lawyers and the Judges they serve does not pass the smell test.

It is hard to trust a lawyer you have not chosen and generally cannot fire.

People with assets normally get to pick their lawyers but with their assets frozen by the liberal use of the Emergency Temporary Guardianship, even multimillionaires instantly become paupers relying on whatever lawyer is chosen by the Court to “represent them”–a violation of the right to counsel guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment.

The system is broken to such an extent that confidential attorney-client communications are rare, the individual AIP is not represented in any meaningful way, and actual capacity could conceivably go unnoticed and unchampioned.

Despite more than 35 years worth of newspaper articles, in just the Miami Herald alone highlighting significant, unrelenting problems in probate court guardianship, and despite the widespread knowledge of these problems in government at every level, abuses, exploitation and elder abuse continue to create scandalous greed driven guardianship abuse throughout the state of Florida and indeed throughout the country.

The temptation for a Guardian who actually owns another person to divert that person’s assets improperly is enormous. The more guardianships, the more temptations. After all, who is going to stop them, especially for a Guardian who has been granted dozens of unmonitored guardianships?  With all that “protected”money sloshing around, and no real oversight, it’s easy to rationalize the schemes and diversion evident in abusive guardianships.

The true test of government is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens.  Every level of government must take responsibility for finally correcting the last 35 years of abuses, scandals and failure to correct them and assure that legitimate protection.