Guardianship

A Valuable Tool When A Loved One Is Incapacitated

Florida is home to millions of seniors, many of whom came here in retirement after many long decades of working hard, raising a family and building a prosperous life. After that effort, it is essential that if and when someone is not able to care for themselves, that someone they trust can do it for them. The caring estate planning and probate attorneys at Fischler & Friedman, P.A., have worked with a multitude of families throughout Florida on these issues, and can apply their decades of experience to your situation.

One way to prepare for a person's potential incapacitation is by establishing a power of attorney arrangement in advance. While this is a frequently used component of estate planning, it is not always taken care of before a person is no longer able to live independently or competently manage their affairs. In these situations, it may be necessary to have a court-appointed guardian take the reins and make important decisions — financial and otherwise — on the person's behalf.

Attorneys Who Can Help Your Family In A Difficult Situation

Because a guardian is appointed by a judge, the guardian has certain obligations to meet concerning the affected person, known as the ward. These include updating the court periodically on the condition of the ward and taking charge of medical and financial decisions on the ward's behalf.

Guardianship types include guardianships of the property, which cover handling the assets of an incapacitated individual, and guardianships of the person, which involve making decisions for the person that a court finds they no longer have the capacity to make for themselves.

Guardians are chosen by the court most of the time based on a filed petition after an individual is determined to be incapacitated and can no longer make basic life decisions such as where to live, what medical care is best for them, how to manage their funds and pay bills, and whether they have the capacity to marry, vote or enter into contracts.

Judges often defer to the wishes of the family — or the potential ward, if he or she is able to offer an opinion. However, the decision is ultimately in the hands of the court based on the evidence; the court will follow statutory guidelines when making a ruling.

Guardianships have more applications than managing the affairs of an older person. A disabled adult might require a guardian, and a child whose parents are temporarily or permanently unable to care for them might need a guardianship established.

For a confidential consultation with an attorney in the Fort Lauderdale area regarding guardianships, call our office at 954-763-5778. For our Southwest Florida office, covering clients in Naples and Fort Myers, call us at 239-333-1200. You can also email the firm via our website to schedule a consultation.