Establish A Guardianship with Sensitivity and Expert Advice
Protect Your Loved Ones in Their Time of Need
One of the most disturbing facts for a family member to discover is that their loved one has had an accident or life threatening illness and is unable to handle their affairs. Without the proper planning these types of tragic events can result in a time consuming and expensive court process known as a guardianship.
We understand the stress involved in making such life-altering decisions, and will guide you through the process step by step to make sure your loved one is taken care of as you wish. We thoroughly understand Florida law and can help you make certain the right guardianship documentation is in place.
When a person suffers from a legal incapacity, guardianship is the court proceeding by which another person (the guardian) is appointed to act on behalf of and tend to the affairs of the incapacitated person.
The necessity for a guardianship may be due to advanced age, an accident, or other causes, but the final result is that an individual's assets are protected under court supervision. These assets may then be used only for the benefit of the incapacitated person.
How to Avoid Guardianship
The situation of Guardianship can be avoided by the execution of a Durable Power of Attorney. It is recommended that a trusted friend or family member be appointed under the Power of Attorney and also that an alternate person be named in the event that the first person is unable or unwilling to serve at the time needed.
Once executed, a Durable Power of Attorney (DPA) is valid until it is revoked by the person executing the DPA or his/her death, whichever occurs first.
We will help you make sound legal decisions in the best interest of each individual involved in the establishment of a guardianship.
Types of Legal Incapacity
A person under the age of 18 (a minor) is subject to the legal incapacity of minority. Since minority is solely a factor of age, any person under the age of 18 is incapacitated by minority without any further determination.
An adult who by reason of illness, old age, or injury, is unable to act in his/her own best interests, is considered legally incapacitated. In the case of an adult, a person’s incapacity must be determined through a court proceeding. In that proceeding, a panel of three mental health professionals is appointed to examine the individual and report to the court. An attorney is also appointed to represent the incapacitated individual. A person may suffer from limited incapacity or total incapacity based on the findings of the medical panel.
Planning for Incapacity
In a will or trust, you can designate the guardian of your children as well as the creation of a trust to manage their property if you were to die before they reached the age of majority. The final appointment of the guardian will be determined by the Probate Court.
Creating a power of attorney will allow someone to act on your behalf with regard to certain matters in the event you become incapacitated. Through a revocable trust, you can provide for more comprehensive management of your property in the event of your incapacity. You can also indicate the person you want to be your guardian if guardianship should ever be necessary with a pre-need guardian designation.
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