Guardianship is not something that should be taken lightly. When you agree to serve as a guardian, you are in many ways taking responsibility for a life. Guardians are appointed when an individual is deemed incapable or unfit to make important decisions on his or her own behalf. And when you are essentially in charge of making financial and healthcare-related decisions for a person, you have a direct impact on that person's quality of life.
One Florida man, who considers himself a professional guardian, is currently under investigation on suspicion of exploiting the individuals for whom he cares. The man in question makes medical decisions for a dozen people at a nursing home; he considers himself the patient advocate of these individuals. Despite having the authority to make important healthcare decisions for so many people, the man allegedly has no medical degree of any kind.
More frightening than the idea of a person with little or no medical knowledge making healthcare decisions for elderly individuals, this Florida man is also accused of acting as a guardian illegally for certain people. All of this is reportedly allowing the man to collect monthly Medicaid checks and take control of some patients' bank accounts and insurance policies.
Whether or not this man is innocent, this story does illustrate a very serious danger regarding the idea of guardianship. Being a guardian is a significant responsibility with extremely serious ramifications financially, legally and even in terms of livelihood. Before you agree to serve as a guardian, consider whether or not you are willing and able to perform the functions required. And if you are seeking a guardian for a loved one, do a thorough investigation into anyone you are considering making a guardian.
Source: ABC Action News, "Professional guardian under investigation by Attorney General for allegedly exploiting seniors," Adam Walser, July 7, 2016