What is a Guardianship Audit?

Level 1 Audit: Audits of Guardianship Reports and supporting documentation at this level is primarily performed by Probate staff. This level of audit includes cases that were determined during the desk review to have discrepancies or concerns requiring a more detailed review. The primary objective of the level 1 audit is to determine whether all expenditures were for the benefit of the ward.

If red flags are identified, an additional review may entail a Level 2 or 3 Audit by the Inspector General Guardianship Auditor, providing guidance to the Probate staff or the court on incremental steps to take to ensure reports are complete and accurate.

What is an Enhanced Guardianship Audit?

Level 2 Audit: Consists of an Inspector General Guardianship Auditor examination of the guardianship reports, and the verification of selected questionable items. Inquiries and/or requests for supporting documentation may be necessary to resolve issues.

Level 3 Audit: Consists of an Inspector General Guardianship Auditor comprehensive examination and verification of all significant items pertinent to the guardianship report. Detailed review of accounts and attendant transactions is common, which may include third-party confirmations.

Report Guardianship Fraud

Do you suspect a guardian, family member, attorney or caregiver of financial mismanagement, such as stealing money from a ward's account, selling off a ward's property or making suspicious loans or money transfers? Report it to the Inspector General!

Using the Inspector General Hotline, you can report suspected fraud, waste, abuse or financial mismanagement involving court-appointed guardians over elderly, minor children and incapacitated individuals.

The Hotline should not be used to report physical abuse or neglect of a ward. If you suspect physical abuse or neglect, please contact:

The Florida Department of Children and Families at: 800-96ABUSE (800-962-2873).

In addition, threats of violence, emergencies or situations in which the ward's health and safety are at risk should be reported immediately to the appropriate law enforcement agency or 911.

Red Flags

Red flags are areas of concern that the Clerk’s Inspector General (IG) Department may have regarding assets, income, or disbursements. When one or more red flags are identified during an annual accounting, assessment, or audit, a guardianship auditor investigates the areas of concern. The auditor compares the investigation findings to Florida Guardianship Law, Florida Probate Rules, and Court Orders. The findings are reported to the court, and if necessary to local, state, or federal law enforcement officials as well as to other appropriate state and federal agencies.

The Enhanced Guardianship Audit Program targets anyone who preys upon the vulnerability of an incapacitated or minor ward in Lee County including, but not limited to, guardians, attorneys, caregivers, family members, friends, and neighbors.

The IG Department is especially concerned when:

  • Allegations of fraud, waste, abuse and financial mismanagement are reported to the Inspector General Hotline or are received through an anonymous tip.
  • There is significant family discourse.
  • The guardianship assets are unprotected.
  • A trust is involved.
  • There are unusual transactions, such as real estate, gift cards, vehicles, credit cards, or vacations.
  • Accountings are amended, inaccurate, unorganized, or submitted untimely.
  • Large or frequent amounts of cash are withdrawn (miscellaneous or incidentals cash).
  • There is a lack of supporting documentation, especially proof of payment and what is benefit to the ward.
  • Income, assets, or disbursements are missing, omitted, or incorrect on inventory.
  • Attorney and guardian fees do not fully detail date and tasks performed as well as the benefit to the ward.
  • There is a no separation of duties and there are direct and indirect conflicts of interest.
  • The ward has no relatives or is isolated from friends and family.
  • The guardianship assets are large and financial transactions are complex.
  • The family guardian, caregiver, or family member is unemployed or underemployed.
  • The guardian, attorney, caregiver, or family member is living a more expensive lifestyle.
  • The guardian, attorney, caregiver, or family member is living a more expensive lifestyle.
  • The attorney or guardian is suspended, discharged, fired or quits.
  • There are large disbursements or purchases that are subsequently ratified by court order.
  • There is singular control over the guardianship with non-adversarial proceedings and lack of oversight.
  • Unacceptable accounting practices are used.
  • The guardian is not bonded. Education requirement is waived. There was no criminal background check.
  • The guardian and/or attorney does not have relevant guardianship experience.
  • The guardian, attorney, caregiver, or family member is having significant financial difficulty.
  • The attorney has been the subject of an investigation or disciplinary actions by The Florida Bar.
  • The guardian or ward's last known whereabouts are unknown. No one as seen ward or caregiver.
  • There are allegations of physical abuse.
Additional Information

If the issue you would like to report is not related to fraud, waste, abuse or financial mismanagement of guardianship cases within Lee County, please refer to the helpful list below for additional agency information.

The Clerk's office does not endorse any products or services provided by these agencies. These resources are for informational purposes only.