Monthly case histories about the real guardianship experience
Guardianship Spotlight:
Linda Joy Haney, First Coast Chapter President
How I Became Involved in Guardianship

Linda Joy Haney
I first got involved in guardianship when I petitioned the court to be appointed over my father. Although my parents had done their preneed planning years in advance, my father was unable to recognize that he was not capable of managing his affairs and was making some very poor decisions which caused concerns for his well-being.

I struggled the first couple of years as I learned by trial and error what was expected of me. My attorney at that time told me there was an eight hour guardianship class available, but not required, and he didn't think I needed it. I would like to see all courts require families to attend the class.

A couple of years down the road, I met an attorney that worked in guardianship and she started talking to me about the need for professional guardians and encouraged me to consider becoming one. After much thought, I became certified and agreed to accept a few cases. In 2015 I retired from my full-time job at Florida State College, so that I could focus solely on my cases.

Guardianship Senior Citizen Hands
From Exploitation to New Discoveries

One case that will always remain very dear to me is one in which a social worker asked if I would be willing to serve as guardian for a gentleman that was being exploited. He had been living in a home without electricity or running water for more than a year. Adult Protective Services had placed him in a home temporarily.

The day I was appointed, I picked him up from that home and took him to an Assisted Living Facility (ALF). He had only the clothes on his back which consisted of a pair of shorts, a shirt and socks. It was a very cold day. I had to turn on the car seat warmer and wrap him in a blanket during the ride. He had long tangled hair and a scruffy unkepmt beard. Once I got him settled in the ALF, I then bought clothes, shoes, and other needed items he needed and took them to the facility.

When I returned to the facility the next day to check on him, I was shocked beyond belief! They had cleaned him up, cut his hair and shaved off the beard. He looked like an entirely different person. This ward was so grateful for being in a safe environment and having hot meals. He told me that I was his guardian angel and thanked me for saving him. That was four years ago.

As I began to determine my ward's financial status, I discovered that he had inherited a very large sum of money that would sustain him through his life, but he was totally unaware of it. He had never even applied for Social Security, which I was able to get started. I also discovered that my ward was only listed as "baby last name" with vital statics. It took obtaining his school records to get his name placed on his birth certificate and to get an official ID card for the first time.

Cases like these make me thankful that I left my previous career and become a professional guardian!
What is a good tip for those considering guardianship for a loved one?
Light Bulb

I don't understand how our society can turn their backs on our elders. I encourage families to stay in touch with their love ones, know who is involved in their lives and protect  them when they become vulnerable.

- Joy
We hope these articles are informative for you. Please keep in mind  that some of the views expressed are not necessarily the opinions or  philosophies of other FSGA members. We recommend hiring a guardian  that is a good fit for you.
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