A powerful voice in senior advocacy sounds the alarm on the guardianship industry’s gross abuses.
Veteran Florida-based physician Sugar staunchly believes that the court-appointed guardianship system is a corrupt “governmental scheme that destroys people and families.” This opinion is derived from his personal experiences and in-depth research on an industry originally meant to procure quality decision-makers for incapacitated individuals. Many of the cases he has examined involved families attempting to make decisions for their debilitated loved ones who then became enmeshed in a shady guardianship system that often trumps formerly planned processes, strips a ward and their family of basic rights, and forces them to yield to an appointed court’s decision. Sugar first explores the evolution of the guardianship process and its statutes, triggering scenarios, and mechanisms, offering clear, readable explanations of the legalities, appointed officials, and court probate structures involved. He also provides two differing perspectives to how the guardianship process was intended to work and how he believes it malfunctions today. Whether they are hampered by inexperienced, unlicensed caregivers, conflicts of interest, or unscrupulous attorneys, readers are urged to use caution when entering into such a permanent legal relationship, one the author categorizes as pernicious and an ever present threat to the well-being of families. His intent is to prevent others from suffering the financial and emotional struggle of a broken system and to empower readers to arm themselves with enough accessible knowledge and foresight to avoid the dizzyingly complicated guardianship arrangement altogether. While Sugar strongly and convincingly argues against guardianships, he smartly offers practical tips and alternatives to avoid abusive situations and to honor final intentions in the most respectful ways possible. In 2012, Sugar founded the watchdog group Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship, which advocates for and assists families entangled in probate exploitation.
A potent, important call to action for those preparing to assume or actively involved in the estate caretaking of an incapacitated loved one.