Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Focus on guardianship reform

Too many elders in Florida denied due process 
State Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, has proposed legislation that she said would "put teeth" in Florida's current elder guardianship statute.
The plight of elder Floridians trapped in a guardianship system that can strip them of their rights, their finances and their dignity is finally receiving needed attention in the Legislature.

Bills that would reform the system -- whose abuses were detailed in a Herald-Tribune series "The Kindness of Strangers: Inside Elder Guardianship in Florida" -- have been filed in both the House and Senate.

These reform efforts deserve the support of both lawmakers and the public in the upcoming legislative session.

House Bill 5, drafted by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, would "put teeth" in Florida's current guardianship statute, Passidomo told the Herald-Tribune's Barbara Peters Smith.

"We're putting in the standards that guardians need to live up to," the legislator said.

Senate Bill 318, filed by Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, would reduce the term of an emergency temporary guardian from 90 days to 60, and let a judge suspend an abusive guardianship by freezing a guardian's assets and imposing sanctions on guardians or their attorneys.

The two bills address some of the egregious abuses cited in the "Kindness of Strangers" series, written by Peters Smith.

As the series noted, Florida's guardianship statute "is considered one of the best in the world, but its practical application has been criticized by advocacy groups and elder law scholars as paternalistic, ruthless and even corrupt."

The series highlighted cases in which elders were swept into a court system (often with little or no warning) that quickly deemed them "incapacitated," taking away their ability to control their own lives.  (Continue Reading)

Full Article & Source:
Focus on guardianship reform


Betty said...

I applaud Representative Passadimo's efforts. It won't be done with one bill, but this is a great start.

Sandy said...

I agree, Betty. I just hope they don't stop with this one bill.

Anonymous said...

Let's build from this!

B Inberg said...

Good start but I see some loopholes one is equal to a sinkhole regarding the courts discretion therein lies the biggest problem loose courts enable the protection industry to have open season. This is a national problem with Florida in the spotlight. I would ask Representative Passadimo if she would like a stranger to override her power of attorney establishing a guardianship case without just cause. Many are accused yet very few are charged and prosecuted so what does that tell you?

Let's face it the court and the friends of the courts run in the same power circles. All have experience in this daily routine we come in blindsided, white as a parade of ghosts in shell shock. Many listening to their lawyers who end up selling them out while they bill bill bill and if there is guardianship contents well isn't that just grand!!! = more billing. Follow the $$$...$$$...and the votes.

Daniel Ryan said...

I read the proposed bill. There are are NO changes of any significance whatsoever! The predatory kidnappings, isolation, drugging, bleeding of estates and murdering of our Loved ones will only be getting worse until mainstream media finally addresses and exposes, this national crisis of legal human trafficking for profit!!!

Kathleen said...

Daniel Ryan I agree with you 100% ! There are NO CHANGES in this bill. The very first issue that needs addressed is to protect those already in guardianship!!! Many of these victims are elderly and can not afford the luxury of time. Many are being ABUSED by ISOLATION, RESTRICTED VISITS, CHEMICAL RESTRAITS AND NEGLECT. They are in imminent danger.