Monthly case histories about the real guardianship experience
Guardianship Spotlight:
Jesse Peck, JD, WMS, FSGA Member
How I Became Involved in Guardianship
Jesse Peck, FSGA

My older brother suffered a traumatic brain injury from a car accident in 2012. My parents became his guardian and since I was a financial planner I managed his assets.

Then we all sat down and discussed that because of my background as an attorney in addition to the financial planning, it would be advantageous for me to become a family guardian with my brother as my ward.  It introduced me to the whole guardianship environment.

At first it was completely overwhelming. I had a one year old baby at home and was in a different state. But as my brother progressed, my interest in guardianship grew.

After a few years of helping my brother I wanted to see how I could do the same for others. Guardians, as wonderful as they are, don't always have the financial training so I often get questions from them about their ward's finances, real estate or taxes.

My financial planning partner and I started getting involved with guardianship cases, working as a restricted depository for guardianship accounts. I got active with the Florida State Guardianship Association (FSGA) to see how much I could contribute as a volunteer and conference speaker.

A few years ago I had not thought about assisting through guardianship. Now it's a big part of my life, professionally and personally.
Miracles Can Happen!

As a guardian, you are not only taking care of the ward, you are stepping in as that person. You ask yourself, "What would that person do in certain situations?"  You are living a second life.

My brother had been running an excavation company with employees and active jobs. I had to step in and do as much as humanly possible for him and his business. I was going to the bank and figuring out what money was coming in and going out.  I was worried about how long the money would last and what would happen if it ran out.

Originally, the doctors said that by brother only had a two percent chance of living and that if he did live he would probably be a vegetable. So I was asking myself, "What if that really happens? Will he be in a hospital for the rest of his life?"

Today he is paralyzed below his chest but I'm elated that he has made a complete mental recovery. He was able to restart his business and last year had his best year ever! It's a real tribute to his determination.

I don't know if I have completedly adjusted to my brother being paralyzed, but our family is very fortunate that he has recovered mentally.

Guardianship was a wonderful legal tool that allowed us to step in and take care of things for him. If guardianship had not been available, I don't know what would have happened to him.
What question do I get asked the most?

"Will my ward run out of money?"

The best thing you can do is sit down and create a financial plan. Look at assets and liabilities to calculate a reasonable picture. You have to be very careful not to run out of money.
What is a good tip for those selecting a guardian?
Light Bulb

Reach out to the FSGA or their local chapter because they can point you in the right direction. Also, it is good to get referrals. Interview a number of people and then go with your gut.

- Jesse
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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