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92-year-old Brandon woman under guardianship to move to France

Christine Lagisquet will be able to return to her home country following Tuesday’s hearing.
Christine Lagisquet, 92, at her home in Brandon on Aug. 9.
Christine Lagisquet, 92, at her home in Brandon on Aug. 9. [ HANNAH CRITCHFIELD | Times ]
Published Nov. 17
Updated Nov. 18

A 92-year-old woman who fought against her emergency guardianship earlier this year will move to France following a final hearing on her case on Tuesday.

Christine Lagisquet, a Brandon resident, was placed under emergency temporary guardianship in July. The legal arrangement, known as a plenary guardianship, stripped her of nearly all her civil rights, including her ability to vote, handle her finances or determine her housing.

“She’s free,” said Dominique Lucbernet, a longtime friend of Lagisquet who lives in Paris. “I am so happy. You have no idea.”

Related: A Brandon woman, 92, fought her guardianship. Things escalated quickly.

On Tuesday, the judge overseeing her case determined that Lagisquet needs a limited guardianship — meaning she will regain her right to vote and determine her social environment, but will need a guardian to make decisions on her behalf related to property, health, residence and legal pursuits.

But he granted her request that she be allowed to return to her hometown of Bordeaux, France, according to Gerald Hemness, attorney for her current court-appointed guardian, Susan Whitney. She will be assigned a new guardian under the French legal system upon her arrival.

“The ward’s personal preferences are paramount in guardianships,” Hemness said. “There are just some times that what a ward wants crosses over with what is safe. The judge ruled; she’s expressed her preference — she’d like to live in France,” he added. “So that’s what we’re going to work on doing.”

Friends and neighbors claim Lagisquet’s experience demonstrates how harsh a measure guardianship can be for the person within it.

Related: Caretaker of Brandon woman under guardianship loses her job

Hemness, as the attorney for her guardian, in turn, has said that outside interference proved costly for Lagisquet. Guardians and their attorneys bill the estate of the person under guardianship for their labor, including actions taken in response to people who attempt to get involved in the case.

Roughly $60,000 has been billed to Lagisquet’s estate, according to Hemness.

The judge’s prior orders about interactions with other people remain in place while Lagisquet is still in the United States.

“The only reason she is under such significant scrutiny is, quite frankly, because of the way that everyone tried to approach the situation,” Hemness said. “Her son Pierre has gotten really bad press. But he is anything but uncaring. He was completely cooperative yesterday.”

Lagisquet will likely move to France permanently in two to three months, Hemness said.

There, according to Lucbernet, she will live with a cousin.