Senior Living on the Suncoast

What is Guardianship?

March 10, 2021 Steve Bennet-Martin, Sierra Butler, Anne Ridings Season 2 Episode 2
Senior Living on the Suncoast
What is Guardianship?
Chapters
Senior Living on the Suncoast
What is Guardianship?
Mar 10, 2021 Season 2 Episode 2
Steve Bennet-Martin, Sierra Butler, Anne Ridings

Steve helps define Guardianship in regard to senior care and planning with the assistance of Anne Ridings from Ridings Case Management and Fiduciary Services and Sierra Butler from Butler Elder Law.

For more information contact our guests:
Anne Ridings: https://ridingssolutions.com/
Sierra Butler: http://www.butlerelderlaw.com/

Don't forget to subscribe and leave a good review!

Support the show (http://www.patreon.com/happylifepod)

Show Notes Transcript

Steve helps define Guardianship in regard to senior care and planning with the assistance of Anne Ridings from Ridings Case Management and Fiduciary Services and Sierra Butler from Butler Elder Law.

For more information contact our guests:
Anne Ridings: https://ridingssolutions.com/
Sierra Butler: http://www.butlerelderlaw.com/

Don't forget to subscribe and leave a good review!

Support the show (http://www.patreon.com/happylifepod)

Steven:

Hello there one and welcome to senior living on the Suncoast. I'm your host, Steve Bennett, Martin. And I'm happy to bring you the only senior centered podcast to assist us all. As we navigate the complex systems of aging together, up and down, the Suncoast to Florida. My mission with this podcast is to help make sure that the rest of your life is the best of your life, which means today we'll be talking about guardianship and what that is for seniors and their loved ones. So our two guest experts today, yes. Two are going to be introduced momentarily. Our first one is no stranger to the podcast, though. The amazing Sierra Butler of Butler elder law has been on before. She also was the co-producer of our senior care awards last year. She is licensed to practice in Florida, Massachusetts, and is educating our community when she's not busy practicing law. Welcome back Sierra.

Sierra:

Well, I thank you. Great to be

Steven:

here. Yes. And our next guest is. For her first time on the show, but I've had the pleasure of knowing and writing through her 27 years as the founding director of Lutheran services of Florida's guardianship program. She now runs her own business writings, case management and fiduciary services. Welcome to them. Anne. Welcome.

Anne:

Thank you.

Steven:

And can you say fiduciary three times fast because I can barely say at one time.

Anne:

Fiduciary fiduciary

Steven:

fiduciary. Excellent. Yes. I guess that's a good thing. It's in your name of your business and not a hardest. Yes. And so for our listeners who might not have had the chance to have gotten to know you before previously Sierra, why don't you introduce yourself a little bit with what you do.

Sierra:

Sure. So I am an elder law attorney. And for me, that means I am helping seniors. I am helping family members of those seniors people in the community navigate some of these processes and areas for the seniors. So for example, I'm doing estate planning documents and make sure that you've got stuff in place so that you don't. Necessarily I in a guardianship or qualifying a person for Medicaid, if they need that resource. So it's really dealing with those issues surrounding elders as they age and goes through life.

Steven:

Yes. I certainly will need to have you back on to talk about Medicaid in a future episode because that and medications are the two bits of senior living that I can't seem to wrap my mind around no matter how long I'm here. You know,

Sierra:

anytime

Steven:

I'm here to educate. Yeah. Excellent. Speaking of education and being an all around great resource to have. And why don't you tell the audience and listeners a little bit about you and what you do?

Anne:

So basically I provide a wide, a wide range of services as simple as rep page for clients that maybe have a mental health illness. In are unable to get their social security check because they need to pay IE on up to case management for individuals or families that need help navigating this complex system of elder care services. Two, I serve as power of attorney healthcare surrogate I'll serve as PR of a state's serve as trustee of trust. And I provide guardianship services.

Steven:

Yes. I mean, you do so much that even when I was just a care manager without all the extra fixings and ribbons that you had. I used to tell people, I was like, I do everything. I'm their grandkid basically. And you, you add on so much extra services and help in addition to like what you would even expect from a family member or a loved one. So that is excellent. Thank you. Now getting into the topic of guardianship what is guardianship or how do you both define it?

Sierra:

So I was thinking about this, you know, cause we certainly are not kind enough to give us a heads up as to what you're going to be asking us. And I always think when I'm doing these podcasts, how can I answer the question? And then. Simple terms as possible, like three words or less. I couldn't manage, couldn't just three words or less, but here's what I came up with. So guardianship is a court process whereby one's rights are removed and given to a court appointed

Steven:

guardian. Well, I mean, that's less than a dozen words, so that's pretty awesome for what it is, because it is a complicated definition. I mean it's and,

Sierra:

and when you go beyond that, I feel like that's the first layer. And then I think, okay, well then beyond that, who could be the court guardian? It can be a professional, somebody like an, an writings. It could be a family member. You know, and then I think about guardianship in terms of, well, what rights are there? People have lots of rights, there's rights of your person and rights of your property. And then maybe there's an emergency or not emergency. So you get into all of those things, but that's the basic definition. Somebody having their rights removed because they can no longer function to exercise them properly.

Steven:

Excellent. Yes, I and I, that you help a lot of people with that, but also, I mean, to bring it into the conversation, I know when you, when you saw my topic list of things, I want to talk about, Anne's been on my list of to-dos. There are people to reach out to forever to do something on that case management and fiduciary services, but you said to have around for guardianship. So. And why were you, why do you think you were included in for this conversation?

Anne:

Well, I've been providing guardian services for over 30 years. So it's definitely, I have a lot of experience in that and I'm going to just actually explain it more coming from a social worker side. And for me, a definition of guardianship, just coming at it on the perspective from a social worker, it's a legal process. We have somebody who's actually appointed to manage the personal and financial affairs of an individual who's not capable of doing so themselves. And either has never done pre-need documents, naming somebody that could do that on their behalf. Well, the person that was a named is not able unwilling or should not be serving.

Steven:

Yeah. And I, I know from even the short time that I spent, you know, working directly as a care manager, which was different, but even that. The number of complicated cases that I saw in families that I had to help. I mean, how did you find this to be like the career that you chose to spend your life? You know, making such a big difference, because I know it takes a special kind of person. So what drew you to this path?

Anne:

Believe it or not. When I. Was getting ready to go to college. I couldn't decide if I wanted to be a lawyer, a CPA or a social worker. So to be honest, I found out how many years I'd need to go on to be a lawyer and thought I'm not doing that. And I couldn't picture myself just doing numbers and sitting at a desk all day. So I, I chose social work and It's a whole other story, how I actually started with the read services, but once I actually started providing guardianship services, I believe the nada, they encompassed all three of those because it is a legal process. I deal with all the aspects of the Lamar as a guardian. I'm certainly dealing with numbers when you're managing people's funds, but I get to utilize my skill and my love of social work as well.

Steven:

Excellent. Yes. And Sierra had it. How have you found yourself working with like, you know, in your field and what kind of drew you to helping seniors? So,

Sierra:

you know, interestingly, when I, when I went to law school, I thought I wanted to be an environmental lawyer. Clearly I'm doing something very, very, very far from that, but I actually started out doing family law and I, I liked that helping aspects, but I was doing that in Massachusetts. And then when I moved to Florida I was really trying to figure out, okay, well, what, what do I want to do? How can I really help people? And I started working for an attorney that practice guardianship. I really had not had any experience in that area. And I found that I absolutely loved it. You know, I felt like with an elder law practice, including guardianship, I was getting that contact or being able to help people. Sewer problem. I still get to do some court work, which I like. But I, as an knows, I love being creative and I love, love trying to figure out how do I get people from point a where they're coming to me and things. Aren't great to point B, C D in. And if I can come up with a solution that everybody works with, that just makes me so happy. So I, you know, it wasn't anything that I ever had. I want to do this when I grow up, but I'm so happy that my path led me here. Yeah.

Steven:

Excellent. Yes. Well, I can't imagine either of you doing anything else because you both have been pillars of our community in the Suncoast for so long, but getting into the, the guardian and its shell itself. It's one of those topics that. You know, in a day-to-day life, if you're not working with seniors or in the industry, you might not hear about guardianship on a regular basis if ever, but once you find yourself in a situation where you need it, you wish you knew all of them beforehand. So like, w for, for the average, you know, Joe Schmoe who might be listening to the podcast or even a professional, who's our age, like what do we need to know about guardianship to be prepared for what might happen?

Sierra:

So I think the very first thing is, and these are things that I talk about with clients ahead of time. So if you don't have any capacity issues whatsoever, you want to know what guardianship is because we're always trying to avoid it. Honestly, the goal is actually to avoid guardianship. We do that's part of my practice because it's a necessity. Yeah, but we try to avoid it. And so I'm always talking with people. How do we avoid guardianship? Well, one way, one of the best ways is to in advance, do what we call a set of advanced directives, your durable power of attorney for finances, your health care surrogate designation, you know, a living will, and then even a pre-need guardian designation. But these are documents where we're hoping that. You never have to have a guardian because when Ann was talking about a little bit earlier about, well, why do people end up needing a guardian? One of the reasons she mentioned was, well, no one ever did a document. Well, if you never did a document, for example, and then unfortunately you have some kind of event that means you in the hospital where you can't pay your bills. You can't get to the next rehab place or get back home to get released. If you don't have those documents in place. And a guardian has to come in and make those decisions to that core point new process. Yeah. So, you know, those are, you know, one of the, the basic things is let's just avoid it altogether by doing those advanced directives.

Steven:

Planning ahead certainly is important. I know one of the big kickbacks that you get from, especially some, some seniors is, you know, Oh, I don't need to worry about that. My kids will take care of me. So, you know, when people say something like that, I know it's not the right way of going about it, but, and like, how do you react? To those types of people who are like, I don't need to plan for things cause my kids will take care of me.

Anne:

Well, you know unfortunately, you know, the kids might have every intention and are absolutely willing to take care of the individual, but if there are not those legal documents in place, they do not have at the wordy to access financial information. They can always. Assume the role of healthcare surrogate. So maybe making some medical decisions, but going along with making medical and CAD decisions is the financial piece that has to be addressed in order to be able to implement whatever plan or pay for the assisted living facility. And I always recommend, I mean, I haven't talked to all my friends all the time because you never know it could be a car accident. It could be a serious illness. You get people of all ages. Once you're over the age of 18, you should really consider doing documents. Is who do you trust and who do you want to make these decisions for you? If you can't.

Steven:

Yeah. And I know that this is one of the more recent episodes we've recorded actually, since the holidays where the Conrad, the designer of our podcast artwork actually passed away unexpectedly in a vehicle accident. And he was in his early thirties. And so, you know, in memory of him and thank you for all the help that he's been, because he's been my guy who helped with the carers and everything like that. But he kind of, kind of woke me up to the idea of, you know, anything had happened at any point in time. And it doesn't matter how much life you think you have ahead of you. Accidents happen. And so planning ahead is so important to make sure that the lot of people you leave behind are cared for and know what to do for you and your wishes.

Sierra:

Yeah. You know, and then Steve, some of the things that sometimes happens is even when people do documents, there are those certain situations where unfortunately, the documents, what I call don't work and it's not because they weren't done properly and they're not effective. It's because for example, you know, let's just say, for example, you have dementia and you're continuing to drive. Even though you should, and everybody tries, never happens.

Steven:

What are you talking about? Never everyone. The moment they can't drive anymore. They responsibly hand in their keys to the DMV, along with their license and say, thank you.

Sierra:

Right. That's it. So, unfortunately, as we know that doesn't always happen that way. And so if the circumstances call for it, the only way to actually stop someone from, from driving is to actually take away that. Right. Which requires the guardianship. You know, the other example of the financial side is. Somebody is getting scammed, you know, they're, you know, they're writing that check to Nigeria. Well, you know, you, you can't just go to the bank and say, I'm sorry, I have the power of attorney. So you can't let them do that anymore. They still have the right, the power of attorney just lets you. Also help them. It doesn't take away their own. Right. So that's a reason why a guardianship could be, could be necessary. And then the other one that makes me so sad, but we see sadly all the time is the exploitation. So, you know, and I'll let Ann talk to that a little bit because, you know, she is the one that ends up coming in and being the guardian after that exploitation has occurred. And she can talk to kind of what, what that means on her end and how she has to deal with

Steven:

that. I was gonna say, cause I'm, I'm sure Ann with it, like the amount of horrible cases you get pulled into, you're almost like an, a, an emotional and like Hoover in terms of cleaning things up and getting things back in order. So yeah. Tell us more about that.

Anne:

Yeah. Well, and, and, you know W one of the other reasons why sometimes those documents don't work, those documents one, they need to be updated because if laws change, you need to update your documents. But one of the sad things is sometimes family members are named and it could be the family member that was actually exploiting, which is why you need to actually revoke those documents into a guardianship. But as far as exploitation I do, I see it all the time. I've seen it over the years. And it's not just scams. A lot of times people think that the exploiters are a stranger. You know, that group from Nigeria, you know, the rogue AC company that's coming on in and, and, you know, charging three times the price for a new AC that they don't install actually believe it or not, most exploitation is done by family members. And. The one case that I had just talking about the scammers, just because Sierra brought that up, this lady literally had over $2 million in a trust, every penny of it was gone over a six year period. Law enforcement was involved. Numerous times, these scammers, she was involved in a ring. They got so bad. They would actually, they would change her phone number. They would get rid of the phone, they would get her a new phone and they, these scammers would actually send her a pizza or a bouquet of flowers with a new cell phone in it and would call around that. And then she just could not stop herself. She would give them money. She wants, her trust was gone. She had income. In excess of 50, $40,000 a month. Every penny of that went to these scammers, she mortgaged her home and did not pay the mortgage because she was given the scammers, her money that she lost her home at that point. They decided to file for guardianship, not the whole six years this was going on, but at that point they decided to file a guardianship. And so it took, believe it or not because these scammers were so gung ho on getting her over almost a year for me to get them to stop following her and leaving her alone. They weren't getting any more money out of her at that point because I tied it all up. But they certainly. Made every effort to call her. She's doing amazing. We've actually been able to achieve simulate money again for her. And then over the last couple of years as guardian we've rebuilt her savings back up to well over a million dollars. So Yeah, you know, I was doing it, but it's, it's sad. We've had caregivers, private caregivers that have come on in, they would take care of an individual helping themselves, not only to the funds in the account, paying their own personal bills out of the client's money, but changing deeds and getting themselves on homes, changing the names of beneficiaries and. We all move forward as a transient state, a lot of family members live up North and these family members might be very involved with their parent. They're just not, you know, here to be able to see the bank statements and everything that's going on. And they talk to these caregivers on a regular basis. And get reports on how well mom is doing and what they did today. And, you know, they went for a ride, went to lunch, no idea that they've just depleted the whole, whole bank account, liquidated the CDs, put that out of name on the deed of the house. So it's important if you do have power of attorney or if you are a family member, whether you're local or not. Yeah, we be looking at a bank statement and check it into the finances and see what's going on because it's very easy and it's far more common than people realize this

Steven:

exploitation. Yeah. And, and I mean, I couldn't agree more and it's so heartbreaking whenever you hear cases like that especially for seniors some of our more vulnerable population, and then my next question for everyone was. When to start talking with your loved one about guardianship or like how to avoid guardianship But I think a lot of people kind of put it off because they're worried about how so, let me rephrase that. My original question of when to talk about guardianship to how would you recommend talking to your loved one about preparing their documents for guardianship? If they're the type that typically would rather just bury their hand in the sand, how do you approach that?

Sierra:

I'm going to have to speak very personally about this because both my parents until this year had not had any of their advanced directives done. And hello, I'm the attorney that can prepare this document

Steven:

it's for them. Yeah. My parents went to you before your parents went to you.

Sierra:

But, you know, the, one of the positive things that has come out of COVID-19 is that it did get people thinking about these things and it, it has been a good talking point and way for, I think, families to discuss. These advanced directives and avoiding things. For, for one of my parents, it's okay. They had a health event and, you know, they were like, okay, well, can you be on the phone with the doctor for me? And if something happens to me, then can you, you know, help with those decisions? And I said, well, this is the, this is exactly what I do. Yes. But we need to talk about then putting it in an actual document. So just when you're talking about healthcare decisions and it's hard sometimes, I mean, I get it. It's not like, you know, if you're a family member, you know, lives up North and you're down here, you know, you don't just be like, Hey, how's it going on a Tuesday, by the way. So if I die or become incapacitated, Yeah, this is what's going to happen, you know, but it really is, you know, I think that. We need to get more comfortable talking about it. And I think you do have to just make it part of the regular conversation as, as awkward, as weird as it can be.

Steven:

I put it out there. It can be awkward and weird. And I mean, I even, I joke about like the, the second time I met you because I met you professionally first, but then I met you the second time in a box to my parents. Office, because they were getting ready to fly up North to buy their like burial plot, because they were having a real, upbeat vacation. And right before they go there, like just in case our plane goes up in flames on our way up to get our grave. And we got a two in one deal on our flight, like all of our documents are in this box and I opened up the box and the very first thing on there is like your picture with your big old smile. And I was like, Oh, I know her. So it is kind of funny though, the way it's a small world, but yes. I mean, you know, you need to talk about it more than when people are traveling. Cause that's not the only time that things could go wrong with you. Or things can happen. So I completely agree. Talk about it, even when it's a little bit uncomfortable.

Sierra:

And a lot of times, even like, if somebody is getting a, you know, a diagnosis or they've gone to the doctor and you know, that's just an easy and easy way. How are things, how are things going with, you know, your, did you get your regular checkup? Did you go to the dentist? Have you done your documents?

Anne:

Yeah. And you know, it's got to sound funny because here Sierra and I, this is what we do for a living and see ever noticed this. I've been talking about my parents for years now. They still have not done any documents. And they both had some recent house health issues. And I, I, they live up in Massachusetts where I'm originally from it. So I asked a year even to recommend attorneys up in that area. I. Gave them the numbers call to schedule appointments. Then now finally getting around to doing it after the recent health scare. But it does, this needs to be a part of everyday conversation. You know, you do ask people how they're doing any, any sort of illness as a great. Great time to bring it up. If it's, it shouldn't be an uncomfortable conversation because it's far more uncomfortable. If you don't have this conversation and you don't know what people's wishes are, and you don't have documents in place. And now you're either stuck with a stranger coming in and managing your affairs or you're you're stocking and your hands are tied and you can't do anything and it need to incur possibly fees and an extensive process. In a very intrusive process by getting a guardian. Yeah. I

Sierra:

mean, and usually the, you know, let's just talk about finances and money for a second because Anne brings up a really good point. The cost of doing a power of attorney. Okay.

Anne:

Is.

Sierra:

Thousands of dollars cheaper than doing a guardianship. Yeah. Okay. I mean, it's just, you know, you're paying, you know, hundreds of $200 for a very good specifically tailored, durable financial power of attorney guardianship. I mean to get out of the gate, no issues, you know, four or five, $6,000.

Steven:

I mean, and though issues is like when our building was being open to hardest and we kept on saying no delays, like there are going to be issues. I'm sure. I would guess. Right?

Anne:

Yeah. Well, yeah, that's not an emergency because an emergency guardianship is if there's an immediate danger to the person or the immediate risk. Of their finances. So you're a two hearings that two attorneys need to prepare for. But just the initial setup for guardianship, you've got court costs, filing fees, examining committee fees, those in and of itself, a $2,000 for all of that. And then you have two attorneys involved in the guardianship process. It, it it's legitimate work that needs to be done and then guardians fees. And then there are ongoing guardian fees, ongoing court filing fees and ongoing attorney fees versus spending, you know, $1,500. We're all full, complete sets of documents, wills, everything, or a couple of hundred dollars to get your power of attorney put in

Steven:

place. I was gonna say, and just to help people, because now we have a really great idea of like, what, what kind of guardianship is, and when you have a guardian, what they can, what will they do? But what is the difference between that and a power of attorney, or how do you define power of attorney for people and how they get that?

Sierra:

So, legally speaking, the power of attorney is a document that a person signs, the person signing it is called the principal, and they're nominating somebody else called an agent. To be able to stand in their shoes and perform acts with respect to their property. You know, it could be, you know, paying their bills. It could be, you know, if they need to sell their home, do their taxes, do their insurance pay the rent. So that is what a power of attorney does. Whereas. In a guardianship you're allowed to do the same thing. However, a lot of those things, you need court approval and there's going to be court oversight. So there's going to be constantly, and there's gotta be a fee involved for everything because every guardian has to have a lawyer, you know, Great for me. I still have business terrible for clients. Like let's avoid that altogether. That power of attorney.

Steven:

I was gonna say, cause right now that's how you and Anne are such close friends and workers is because you're working together constantly for that.

Anne:

Right. Yeah, I will. I want to add in on the power of attorney, you know, w we're talking about the importance of doing this again, this is about guardianship of we're telling you what to do to avoid this, because you really don't want it, but powers of attorney anytime, if I'm named as pre-need, because a lot of times. Somebody does not have family local, or they just don't want to put that on their children or especially when it comes to medical decisions. They think the children might not be able to make the decision they want because it is too emotional for them. So I'll get asked to agree to be named in those documents. And one of the things I let these individuals know once those documents assigned is they need to notify people that they have these in place, because there are sometimes financial institutions that you'll go to just say I was named, they never notified their financial plan or their bank. I now go walking in because something happened to them with that document in the bank. Sometimes we'll say they didn't sign a paper with us. We're not going to accept this. So that can end up leading to now I need to do a guardianship where they did everything in place. So I stress the importance to people. Notify a doctor. If you do these documents, notify your financial plan and notify your bank. You don't need to be concerned if you've got somebody named as poverty journey. And in case you need it, that even if the document says they connect right now, that that they're going to have, they don't have access to your stuff. But you can certainly notify your financial plan and notify your bank, sign, whatever paperwork needs to be this. So it's already on file. So when that person does come in with those legal documents, they're not stuck and not being able to do what you've asked for them to be able to do.

Sierra:

The biggest practical tip I can give people is after redo documents, they say, where should I put these? And I say, well, don't put them in the safe deposit box because you know, sometimes you're thinking, Oh, I'm going to put it in the safest place I have in this safe deposit box. Well, you know, something happens to you. No one can get into that box, you know, but you, so yeah. That's not the safe place. The, the thing is put it in a safe place in your home and tell the person named where it is. You don't necessarily have to show it to the person, but they need to know exactly where it is and how to find it. Yeah.

Steven:

I was gonna say, my parents have been talking about the box in the closet forever, and I just have a feeling. My dad finally knew I could just kept on yang him. Cause I never really like. I'm like, yeah, yeah. The box in the closet, everyone has that box in the closet. Sure, dad. But it was like, he eventually was like, no, this closet, like it actually has the box and you know, but I, you know, even beforehand, if God forbid something had happened, I probably could have found that box on my own. Cause he had at least had said it's a box in a closet.

Sierra:

You know, one of the things that I think would be good to talk about a little bit on this podcast is what if you were the person that is receiving these documents that says. You lack capacity and you need a guardian because, you know, I serve as attorneys for those individuals and, you know, that could happen. It could happen to a listener, you know, and I would want them to know.

Steven:

Yes, that is important. Yeah. And I was going about to go. What happens if all of a sudden you have a guardian and you don't know how or why or what happened, right.

Sierra:

Chances are you probably needed one. But you know, there are some times when the guardianship process is used. Not for the best reasons. Okay. I mean, there's all kinds of kinds. And so I don't want to paint this rosy picture and completely say guardianship is great all the time. Sometimes it's not necessarily proper, but one of the court's jobs. And one of the reasons why somebody who's alleged being capacitated gets their own lawyer is so that really, we are really actually examining the person to figure out, are there any, what we call least-restrictive alternatives? Is this person truly incapacitated. Do they truly need help? And if so, is there any way that we can lessen the restrictions of this guardianship? You know, maybe it's that somebody can, you know, They could make their medical decisions and, you know, they can have some insight and judgment as to where they should be living, but, you know, they can't actually manage the checkbook anymore. And so, you know, trying to come up with a solution that maybe is a partial guardianship. So it's limited in some, in some ways versus completely on, you know, taking all the rights away. But when someone's faced with that, you know, they need to know that yeah, there's going to be. Three people coming to examine them and that they're entitled to that court appointed lawyer and they can substitute that lawyer for any lawyers that they want. So, you know, just because you receive paperwork, I feel like unfortunately, Because it's a legal process. It can seem very scary. You get a notice that you need to appear in court and all your rights could be taken away. And usually the, usually the person that is petitioning, the person that's bringing the action is it's because they care, but it puts it in an adversary. Position, unfortunately just delayed the documentary.

Steven:

Yeah.

Sierra:

And so, you know, the first thing I say is don't, don't get so emotional about it. Let's talk about it. And let's try to get everybody in the room together and try to see if there's something that we can come up with. What are the concerns, why was it filed? There was obviously a reason behind it. Maybe, you know, there was a concern, so maybe we could come up with something that alleviates it all and we can get out of the court system.

Steven:

Yeah. Excellent. So, I mean, before we kind of wrap up and share with our listeners, how to, how to contact each of you, do you have any final thoughts or things you wanted to bring up about guardianship or any other kind of words or things to know about it?

Anne:

You know, guardianship sometimes gets a very bad rap. You know, there are anti guardian groups out there. But guardians basically sometimes they are the only person that, that individual that is under a guardianship has. There is no one else because oftentimes, you know, family does take care of family and a lot of people do do documents. And stuff. So the, but the guardian is the only person that that's visiting them. And not only looking over there, their personal, emotional, social, and financial wellbeing, but you know, th their advocate that that's one of the main, main roles and responsibilities of a guardian is to advocate for the Ward's needs and, and make sure that what they want and what their wishes are. Oh,

Steven:

I mean, I, I couldn't agree more. I mean, as you're talking about, like, I'm thinking, I mean, like the word guardian by definition is someone who protects you and guards you. So I know that typically, most populations have trouble asking for help, but especially, the older generation that comes from the era of Lino don't. Question your authorities don't ask questions, don't talk about your problems. You know, everyone thinks that they don't need that help, but I knew guardians are there to help and protect you from other people who might not be doing, well, typically, especially if you didn't plan ahead, it sounds like, so it was like guardian angels. You're like a little angel. Yeah, my wings. Exactly. Yes. Did he, is that you'll be listening to this, but Tressa, she has her wings on. Excellent. So Sierra, how can listeners find you if they need an elder lawyer on the Suncoast or in Florida in general or Massachusetts? Yeah.

Sierra:

So if you, if you're trying to contact my office, you can always call (941) 254-6611. We also have a Facebook page. If you go on Facebook Butler, elder law, or you can Google we're Butler, elder law.com. I also always tell people if you are looking for a qualified elder law attorney nationally, so across the country, I belong to a group called the national Academy of elder law attorneys. And they have a website and it's a really good place to start. If you're kind of, if you're needing to expand that around the area, but I also, people, you know, talk to people in the industry and, you know, get information about who might be a good resource, you know you know, you're, you're in that industry, you know, we have other case managers, other lawyers, you know, so many people that are around, we've got Facebook groups. Now that's a really good place to start to try to find somebody that can, that can help you.

Steven:

Excellent. And, and how, and when would someone contact you for some help?

Anne:

They can certainly always reach me at the office which is nine 41, 505 zero eight zero. Or they could always reach me on my cell phone. Especially people just have a quick question. Don't you kind of want to walk through some things and that's (941) 320-4630. There is Florida guardians, which is the website. Florida guardians.com is the website for the Florida state guardianship association. And that lists all the registered professional guardians throughout the state of Florida, that members of FSG. And they also have a lot of great information on their website about guardianship.

Steven:

Yes. I know that's a great organization before COVID happened. I was going to be doing a live podcast recording actually from their conference in 2020, and that they, they canceled it all because of it. So maybe, maybe, maybe 20, 21 this year they'll reschedule it.

Anne:

They're planning it live this year.

Steven:

Excellent. So thank you both so much for coming and I'm sure both of you will be back very soon and thank you listeners. For listening to another episode of senior living on the Suncoast and make sure you follow us or subscribe wherever you listen for new episodes, the season, they start coming out every Wednesday and leave us a rating or a review wherever you're listening or tell a friend somewhere, people can find it and get the help that they need. Thank you and stay happy.