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Office Hour Change

Effective January 16, 2015:

Monday – Thursday
9:00am - 5:00pm

Friday
9:00am - Noon

We will be unavailable for appointments or phone calls on Friday afternoons, so that we may finalize our work for the week. This also ensures that we have some uninterrupted time to devote to the needs of our clients.

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The Risks and Difficulties of Selling Ward’s Cars, Boats, Trailers and More

Vintage Car, image via Riley

Vintage Car, image via Riley

It looks like selling some titled property in Florida may be getting a bit more complicated– especially if it was not titled in Florida.

In the past I have written stories about the many pitfalls with selling cars, boats, trailers, and other property as a guardian.

These stories range from having a potential buyer attempt to steal a ward’s SUV during a test drive, to making sure (by going to the DMV with the buyer) that the title immediately transfers out of the ward’s name, to the risk of accepting a cashier’s checks from a buyer.

This twist is a requirement that I was not aware of, and you may not be either. This could cause a real struggle with one of these sales.

First let me say that the best way to resolve most all of these issues is to sell the car, boat, trailer, or other property in person (with you, the vehicle and the buyer) at the Florida Tax Collector/DMV office. This location provides extra security as there are usually law enforcement folks around to protect your personal safety as well as the property. Even better if it is a cash transaction to be fairly public.

This scenario may be very difficult if the buyer is from another state, if the vehicle is located in another state, if it does not run, if it is not insured or if it cannot be moved. Then what?

 

Form 82050

Florida DMV is becoming less willing to accept a Bill of Sale on any format other than their own form: form 82050. If this is true for other states as well, then that may make this really difficult to resolve.

Form 82050 requires a copy of the seller’s drivers license. First you have to first determine the answer to the question: who is that? You or the ward?

Let’s assume the DMV determines it is you, as the guardian. Then you have the concern of giving your personal and private info (printed on your driver’s license) to a buyer, before they give it to their home state’s DMV.  Bad idea.

The 82050 form is relevant for all used motor vehicles and trailers not currently titled in Florida and with a net weight of 2,000 pounds or above.

 

Form 82042

Then there is the HSMV 82042 form. This is a bit easier to deal with, as long as you deal with it while the vehicle is in your possession.

The 82042 form is an owner’s affidavit. Again, you have to deal with the “who is the owner” with your local DMV office.  You have to get the current odometer reading (sometimes hard to do with a dead electronic dash). You’ll need a law enforcement officer, notary or dealer to do this in person with you. If the car runs, has a tag and has current insurance, you can do this at the DMV.

Hope this gives you just a bit of food for thought if you are faced with selling a ward’s property. There are certainly a lot of “if this, then that” situations to consider…

SNF + ALF: Law vs. Reality

Laws, image via Woody Hibbard

Laws, image via Woody Hibbard

 

In the world of guardianship, elder care and advocacy, there are laws. Tons of them! While I am not an attorney, I have learned that there are laws, and then there’s how things work in the real world.

Here are two commonly-broken laws that you can be aware of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discharge From a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)

While SNF’s don’t have to accept all applicants, the law does say that they can not 911 a difficult or non-paying client to the hospital just to get them out the door. Unfortunately, it still happens. To be prepared, know your client’s rights in a SNF: http://buff.ly/1WH1Gxn

 

Honoring Contracts at an Assisted Living Facility (ALF)

While most residents checking into an ALF might expect to spend the rest of their days there, sometimes plans change and they need to leave the facility. The Agency For Health Care Administration rules limit the amount of days an ALF can require residents to give notice when they want to move out. Currently, that is 30 days. We now are seeing contracts from some ALF providers with closer to 45 and 60 day terms. Buyer beware.

 

How to Approach a Doctor’s Appoint as a Guardian

doctor in lab coat

Image via Ilmicrofono Oggiono

We recently attended a neurologist appointment with one of our young guardianship clients. In the past she had a history of seizures, but they had been successfully under control for an extended period of time. During her annual appointment, the doctor started to talk to the client about her interest in driving, considering that her seizures were well-controlled.

This was a very difficult situation, as the client had been determined to be totally incapacitated and had her right to drive removed by the probate courts many years ago. She was so confused – here a neurologist, a high level doctor, started to ask her if she wants to drive. Then here we are, trying to explain to her that the guardianship courts had removed her right to drive. We spent a good bit of time trying to calm her, and to help her to understand this complicated circumstance about her right to drive.

We were also frustrated with the physician. He did not think about the ramifications of what he was saying to her, maybe because he did not recall that the client was in a guardianship, maybe because he was trying to give her some hope and help in being able to drive. Whatever the cause, it was very hard for this client to grasp this. After this, she was distrustful of many of our conversations – regardless of the subject– and she continued to refer back to the doctors’ discussion for a long time afterwards.

So how do we prevent this from happening in the future?

To be fair, doctors and their offices, and frankly ALL of the health care providers in the U.S., are dealing with mountains of shifting sands in our new “Affordable Care Act” health care system each and every day. Each day they are trying to figure out (just like we are) how to work within this new system of moving deductibles, elusive co-pays,  codes that don’t match the diagnostic procedures – all this while trying to focus on their real job – which is providing quality health care to their patients.

To prevent such a mistake happening in the future, remind the office and the doctor (privately, with dignity) before the appointment, or just as the doctor is about to come in. (We often wait for the doctor just outside of the exam room.) Remind the doctor of the legal status of the patient that they are about to see. This may help the doctor to recall this small detail as he/she is seeing the patient and save you loads of work later.