What is Guardianship?
While it happens most often in the senior years, anyone can become incapacitated and unable to manage their own affairs. A guardian is a court-appointed decision-maker for a minor or an adult with mental or physical disabilities.
The legal guardianship process in Florida can be started by any individual (adult) on behalf of another person if they genuinely feel that that person is unable to care for themselves physically or financially. Guardianship is an ideal step to take if you feel that a friend or loved one has become the victim of neglect, abuse or exploitation.
Proactive Estate Planning Assures That Your Wishes Are Honored
Proper estate planning can provide for care in these situations. The best course of action is to plan ahead for such a time using trusts, durable powers of attorney, conservatorships, guardianships and health care powers of attorney. Kirk Pinkerton lawyers are experienced in dealing with estate planning and end-of-life decisions and stand ready to guide you. Call Kirk Pinkerton today to discuss your estate planning needs.
Choosing Your Own Guardian In Advance
A person who realizes that his or her mental or physical abilities are beginning to fail can ask for the appointment of a guardian or create a power of attorney. This way, you can decide for yourself who will be responsible for your care, whether you prefer a relative or a professional guardian.
A Court-Appointed Guardian
If no arrangements have been made when incapacitation occurs, a court-appointed guardian may be necessary to ensure the incapacitated person receives the proper care and to protect their financial affairs. When a loved one is threatened by physical or mental abuse or is being taken advantage of financially, it may be time to step in and have the court appoint a guardian for their protection.
Florida Guardianship for Minors
Guardianships are also used for situations where a minor’s parents are deceased or unable to provide care for the minor and in cases where a minor stands to inherit large sums of money or property. Military parents who are being deployed may need to provide a guardianship to protect their minor children during their absence. These types of guardianships do not terminate the parent-child relationship like an adoption would.
The Guardianship Process
A guardianship proceeding can be started by any adult, on behalf of another, when they feel that the person is not capable of caring for themselves physically or financially, or if they feel that the person is being neglected, abused or exploited by another. In cases of elder abuse, emergency temporary guardianships can be granted to remove the person from an unsafe situation and protect their interests.
In Florida, once the Petition is filed, a Court with legal jurisdiction will appoint an examining committee of (3) professionals who will examine the person and prepare a report for the Court. Upon the determination of the evidence, the examining committee reports and other evidence presented, a Judge may make a determination that the person is incapacitated and appoint a Guardian.
Establishing a guardianship requires legal representation and can sometimes involve complex legal issues. It is best to seek representation from a firm with experience in guardianships or conservatorship of assets.
The lawyers at Kirk Pinkerton are committed to protecting children, seniors and incapacitated persons in every way that we can. It is very important to us that you understand the legal complications of guardianship.
Call Kirk Pinkerton, P.A. today at 941-364-2400 to discuss your guardianship concerns further.
Kirk-Pinkerton Elder Law & Guardianship Attorneys
Gary W. Peal Elder Law, Estate Planning, Probate, Tax and Corporate