Friday, August 16, 2013

Guardianship cases can turn into nightmares for wards and their families

Rita Denmark, 82, walking on the beach
 in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., in 2009.
 For the past five years, Rita, a lifelong
 Pennsylvanian, has been a
ward of a Florida guardian.
(Photo courtesy of Holly Peffer
for Public Source)
Maybe you know an older person suffering from Alzheimer's or an adult who is intellectually disabled. In the best cases, a family member or friend will agree to care for people in these vulnerable situations. But when family conflicts come into play, the case can go to what's known as guardianship—the courts assign someone to care for that person.

Things can get very ugly very quickly.

Holly Peffer had recently bought a new house in Derrick City, Pa., in 2007, when her life was upended.

"We bought a huge, beautiful, beautiful old home with several acres," Peffer said. She was preparing to care for her elderly mother, Rita Demark, who was in the early stages of dementia.

"She was physically very, very healthy," Peffer said. "She walked miles a day. But she had some memory issues. She couldn't remember what she had for lunch. She loved the outdoors and the four seasons in Pennsylvania. She was born and raised in Pennsylvania and domiciled here her entire life."
Peffer maintained contact with her sister, who sometimes cared for their mother, though according to Holly, her sister took liberties.

"My sister and my mother are very, very close, and my sister would never physically harm my mother, but as mom's memory had gotten worse, because my sister was having some financial, many financial difficulties, she was taking more and more and more from my mom," Peffer recalled. "You know, there were some checks missing, and very obvious forgeries for maybe a couple hundred dollars, there was one for $2,000."

A worker from the Department of Aging suggested that Peffer apply for guardianship over her mother to keep money from disappearing. That process involves a hearing before a judge. But when the day of the hearing came, Peffer got an urgent call from her mom's banker.

"She says, 'Holly, what the hell is going on?' I said 'I don't know, why, what are you talking about?'"

The bank had just received a fax that her power of attorney for her mother had been rescinded. The fax came from Holly's estranged brother in Florida.  Her sister had whisked their mother down south and quickly petitioned so a professional guardian named Jetta Getty would control the mother's future. Peffer said the Florida court never asked whether Rita Denmark was even a Florida resident.

Full Article and Source:
Guardianship cases can turn into nightmares for wards and their families


Thelma said...

Where's the rest of the story?

Jason said...

I like the title. It's true. Guardianship works when there's loving family involved; but if there isn't, then it's nothing more than a nightmare.

Luis said...

The laws are being violated.
They need reinforcement.

Anonymous said...

...Another sick story about guardian abuse!

Holly said...

Here is the rest of this story:
Rita Denmark was a divorcee in excellent physical health with mild/moderate dementia. Denmark domiciled and resided in Pennsylvania, she was registered and voted in Pennsylvania, she had a Pennsylvania prescription drug plan and a Pennsylvania Workers Compensation insurance policy for her personal care companions (all of which she had known for years). Denmark had her Advance Directives in place and she had a long term relationship with a favorite, local banker and an accounting advisor both of whom had assisted Denmark with her financial affairs for many, many years. Rita Denmark had everything was in place to enjoy her Golden Years with her family and friends when she took a "life changing" vacation to Florida with one of her daughters.

Just DAYS after their Florida arrival a dispute between Denmark’s children ensued causing them to reach out for legal direction. Denmark’s daughter was assured that the quickest, easiest and least expensive way to get the problem resolved and to get their mother back to her home in Pennsylvania was to allow AND assist Professional Guardian, Jetta L. Getty (owner of Young at Heart Elderly Services) to sort out the disputed facts and report back to the court within 90 days as required.

Jetta Getty promptly placed Denmark in a Port Orange, FL Assisted Living Facility (Summerville now called Emeritus of Port Orange) and Getty put Rita’s daughter, the vacationing companion, onto an airplane sending her back home to PA assuring her and other family members that Rita would be home soon.

Rita's daughters now believe that Getty’s motive was to get that daughter out of her way & hoodwink other family members long enough to get the court behind her then, she began the process of enriching herself, converting Rita Denmark's approx. $470,000.00 estate into fees for herself, her attorney and other business associates, including another Professional Guardian, Edith Myett who has sense been arrested!

In less than 5 years Getty has paid herself $93,932.75 [11/28/2007 - 08/03/2012].
That is almost $19,000 per year for ….

The documentation in the Volusia County FL Court record shows very specifically that Jetta Getty CHANGED Rita Denmark's address. The Volusia County Court record also shows that several attorneys and the guardian, AKA "Officer's of the Court" knew, or should have known, that Denmark was a vulnerable senior and was a PA resident being moved by Getty. These Officer’s of the Court were ALL paid (by Getty) from Rita Denmark's approximate $470,000.00 estate. It took approx. 3 ½ years to finally obtain the documented proof that NOT ONE of those “Officer’s of the Court” ever told the Judge that Denmark was a Pennsylvania resident and domicile. This FL court record is chocked full of deceit and omissions by Getty through her attorney and others.

We have reason to belief that Denmark’s entire estate has been plundered and converted into fees. We believe that Denmark is now supported by Floridians HARD EARNED tax dollars even though her family wants her home and to care for her.

WHO guards the guardian? NO ONE!!

Thank you for taking the time to read this, “to the best of my knowledge and belief,” real life story.

For more information or to inquire about supporting “public record” documentation, contact or