Wednesday, August 9, 2023

‘Incapacitated’ People’s Homes Are Being Sold by Their Guardians With Little Scrutiny

Estate planningOver the past six years, VICE News has identified over a dozen cases in Florida public records where guardianship wards’ homes are being sold for cheap in potentially shady deals. Jan Garwood is one of them.

After suffering a major car accident, the loss of one of her sons, and a fall that caused neck and head injuries, Garwood was put under a conservatorship by professional guardian Rebecca Fierle. 

Fierle put Garwood into an assisted living memory ward and sold her home to an employee. It took years for Garwood to find a way out of the guardianship.

Advocates claim that a lack of regulation at all levels leaves the guardianship system prone to exploitation for those looking to make a profit. For example, in Florida, anyone can submit a petition to determine another person’s incapacity.

Due to this lack of data, in May of this year, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) and Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) of the Senate Special Committee on Aging sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking the office to examine guardianship laws and reform efforts across the country. 

For more information see Rebecca Gibian “‘Incapacitated’ People’s Homes Are Being Sold By Their Guardians With Little Scrutiny” Vice, August 8, 2023.

Special thanks to Laura Galvan (Attorney, San Antonio, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.

Current Affairs, Estate Planning – Generally, Guardianship | Permalink


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