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Office Hour Change

Effective January 16, 2015:

Monday – Thursday
9:00am - 5:00pm

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.



Going Down the Rabbit Hole



As a plenary guardian for the person and property, there is a lot to do. The question is how far to go? What is the possible net gain?
The cost of doing this is something to consider. The courts expect value for the time you spend (and time charged to the client). They also may expect you to look for unclaimed funds, but they do not want you to “waste” the ward’s time (or money) going down rabbit holes that have nothing in them.

But, how do you know if all the research and time will end up benefiting the client in the end?
We became the guardian for Mrs. T. in 2012. Her spouse had passed away in 2007.
Since her job was an admin in H.R., she was organized and a well-trained, experienced administrator, it would be reasonable to assume that she had filed for his life insurance claims years before, right?


Nope, not only that but for over those 5 years since his death, she had been continuing to have his life insurance premiums deducted from her federal pension, costing her thousands.


Because we did all the research, going back 5 years, we were able to file for his life insurance claim and get the reimbursement of all those premiums as well. Thousands of dollars gained…this time.


How Can I Leave Him in the Cooler?


As the ETG guardian of a recently widowed gal whose husband’s body had not yet been cremated (4+ weeks), I felt very pressured to authorize and pay for his cremation (with her funds). However, I had some recollection that our judge had issues with that.


We were at a hearing (on another issue) and inquired of the court’s perspective on this subject. The judge said that he was not aware of any law that allowed a guardian to use the assets of the surviving spouse to pay for the deceased spouse’s final arrangements. Furthermore, if the guardian did work on those types of arrangements that they could get in hot water with the courts for charging the “ward” billing time or expense for those activities that did not benefit the ward. Those were his (the deceased spouse’s) future estate issues.


The judge understood the dilemma and instructed us to “find” and bring him a way that this could be done within the limits of the guardianship laws. In our research, we found 744.397 which was very helpful for this client (the judge signed the order right away). It was also very helpful for another client (that had a parent in this similar situation). Remember, when all else fails, read 744!:)


Tip: Be careful what you sign for the ward – lately, service provider’s contracts are getting much more “legal” and have many provisions showing up that are risky (to the ward and the guardian) if signed. From transportation companies’ service agreements, to ALF fall risk forms, to SNF elopement policies, to Personally Responsible Clauses, if at all possible, these contracts need to be reviewed by your counsel (sometimes a timing issue) in advance of your signature so that you are not signing something that could create future issues for you or the ward. Be especially aware of Arbitration wording – which could give up the civil right of you (for the ward) to initiate a lawsuit.



Face Sheet 2.0



If you have been reading our newsletter or social media stuff for a while, you have probably seen the issues with face sheets come up. So if I sound like a broken record, I am. We make it our practice to get a “PAPER” copy of a client’s face sheet – from EVERYWHERE, OFTEN — from hospices, group homes, hospitals, clinics, SNF, ALF, AFCH, Day Programs, physician offices, insurance companies, Pension companies…You name it.



The Face Sheet may have another name — Client Profile, Data Sheet, Demographics Record…Tomato – TOMAAATOE – Potato – POTAAATO. All the same concept — the problem is that what the computer shows on the screen, what you think is on that face sheet and what belongs on that face sheet, are OFTEN not the same as what is actually on it.



Case in point – we recently were with a guardianship client at an imaging center of a hospital. I, as her plenary Guardian, signed all the consent screens (screens – which by the way, I also require them to print ANY document that I sign electronically, but I digress). I also went over, verbally, the accuracy of the face sheet. At the end, I asked for a copy of that face sheet – and low and behold guess what is wrong? The face sheet – reading the face sheet in the waiting room, we see that I have (personally) been put on the field as Personally Reasonable for the bills of this client – NOPE, be VERY careful, not to become PERSONALLY responsible for any client’s bills.


So, big reminder: get the face sheet — printed — and read them. More often than not, there will be errors or outdated information that needs to be collected.