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Resource ID: #26163
Source:WFTS-TV (Clearwater, Fla.)
The ABC Action News I-Team took an in-depth look at issues surrounding Florida's court-ordered guardianship program. Once people are determined to be incapacitated by the court, they are stripped of their rights (including those to vote, to marry, to have a job, to drive, to choose their place of residence, to make gifts, to manage finances and to choose their health care providers). Guardians can bill their wards up to $70 an hour for performing routine tasks like opening mail, banking and paying them visits. There is no limit on the number of wards a guardian can be assigned. We found cases in which guardians were appointed dozens of wards at one time. We also discovered a lack of systemic oversight and a system that allowed abuse. Families of wards reported valuable items like jewelry and antiques often went missing. Records showed wards were often frequently moved from one assisted living home to another without their families being notified. Their homes, personal property and vehicles were often sold for a small percentage of their actual worth, and then resold by the guardians' friends who purchased these items for huge profits.