White paper: Analysis of Florida guardianships, public (non-profit) and private (for-profit)

In response to a freedom of information request Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship has been supplied with the following information regarding the total number of wards in public guardianships in the state of Florida. The state’s Department of Elderly Affairs contracts with 17 organizations that serve all public guardianships throughout the state of Florida’s 67 counties. These organizations often characterized their business as taking “ the guardianships no one wants”.

Quite frankly the numbers are shocking!

Office of Public Guardian

Total Wards Served by OPGs in FY 2014/15

Aging Solutions


Barry University


Charlotte/Collier County


COA Volusia


Eighth Circuit


Fifth Circuit


Guardianship Care Group –  Also in Dade County


Guardianship Program – Dade Co.


Lee County


Legal Aid Society Palm Beach


Office of Public Guardian


COA Osceola


Public Guardianship Indian River


Seniors First


Tenth Circuit


Lutheran Services of Pensacola


Lutheran Services of Sarasota


Total indigent Wards in Florida 2014-15


Total number of Florida Wards                                          UNKNOWN

For example in Dade County where we know from the Clerk of Courts there are 7000 active guardianships or more, only 1700 or so are public guardianships. This translates to an astonishingly high number of nonpublic for-profit professional guardianships.

Furthermore the total of only 3329 public guardianship cases in the entire state is amazing in a state where estimates of the total number of wards and state run between 50 and 100,000. If these numbers are accurate the professional fee-for-service guardianship business in Florida is enormous!

From our perspective, these data are a red flag. We have previously documented the reality of flipping wards. It’s our belief that these data support the contention that wards who should be in public guardianships have been flipped into for-profit guardianships which generate far more money for guardians.

Independent information from the Summary Reporting System of the trial court’s in Florida indicate through their latest data through June of 2013, for the 30 months between January 2011 and June 2013 15,709 guardianship cases were filed. For the same period of time in Miami-Dade County 2110 guardianship cases were filed. Doing the math, during the 30 month period in question, statewide there were an average of 524 guardianship cases filed per month, and in Dade County there were 70 per month.

However you analyze the data what becomes clear in his that the for-profit professional guardianship industry in Florida is far bigger than anyone imagined. The public guardianship system in Florida which consumes millions in administrative fees and salaries appears to only constitute a tiny fraction of the total number of guardianships in the state while the vast majority of guardianships have nothing to do with impoverished people who require help—the very people for whom the statutes were written!!

It appears that the guardianship industry in Florida is primarily a mechanism to take capture individuals with significant assets which become low hanging fruit for the professional guardianship industry. This easy pickings includes criminal diversion of Social Security and VA and pension benefits and every other source of funds for the benefit of the Ward which are brazenly hijacked. Why?

Because the “industry” knows it can!! There is no discipline, no supervision or any threat of censure for the baiters who know every trick in the guardianship book, lawyer up with the most brutal and cynical “lawyers” imaginable and do with no fear that the friendly Judge who appointed them in the first place will do any semblance of oversight. The result is misery, suffering, and exploitation so cruel and methodical that it can only be called sadistic and a well-orchestrated grand perversion of the intent of the State guardianship laws.

We and our colleagues across the country will persevere to:

  • Expose this racket to the public with
    • Billboard Advertising
    • Op Editorials
  • Educate the public with
    • Our full length video documentary “Breaking the Silence”
    • Media appearances and debates
    • The AAAPG website, updated daily
    • Print sorties in premier media such as The Wall Street Journal
    • Collaborative efforts with the university community in Florida and elsewhere
    • Guardianship Prevention and Mediation programs
  • Initiate and Participate in well-designed legal actions
  • Pursue State based legislation advocacy
  • Petition Federal Government officials to old emergency hearings on Guardianship

Dr. Sam Sugar
August 27, 2015


October 1, 2015

from January 2013 to January 2014 6913 new guardianship cases were filed

720 were dismissed before hearing

5967 were  adjudicated

a total of 68,625 cases were reopened in the state.

these staggering numbers should be interpreted in light of the fact that during that same time, only about 3300 of these guardianships were or are public.

despite repeated efforts we are totally unable to determine the number of private professional guardianships in the state of Florida.


To download a PDF copy of this white paper, please click here.