Articles Posted in Guardianship

elderly looking out window.jpgA Guardian is someone who is able to step into a persons “shoes” and make decisions for that person should he or she become incapacitated. A Guardian is able to make personal and financial decisions for the person who needs protection, called the Ward. A Florida Guardianship can be either limited or plenary. A limited guardianship gives limited power to the guardian over a person’s affairs. On the other hand, a plenary guardianship is when the guardian has authority over all of an individual’s delegable legal rights and powers.

What happens if one does not write out a plan for who should take care of what tasks upon a person’s incapacitation? It is often left up to the courts to decide what the now incapacitated individual needs and who is best to provide that type of care. Although courts will try to be limited when bestowing guardianship rights, the best practice is to formalize in writing who and what rights are to be given before incapacitation. This is called a Preneed Guardianship .

Pre-empting the need for guardianship is easier to do in some cases, of course. It may be simple to anticipate if someone is developing Alzheimer’s’, in which case during a lucid time period that person would just create a Preneed Guardianship . But life is full of unusual twists, and accidents happen. It is for those unforeseen circumstances that Preneed Guardianships are most effective.

elder with young girlfriend.jpgNo matter how good and attentive a child you may be, your Florida elderly single parent may fall prey to a companion, “girl-friend” or “boyfriend”, who may have an ulterior and nefarious (not so nice) motive. If you are a concerned child of an elder who may be involved with someone you are suspicious of, it would be wise to contact an Orange Park Guardianship Attorney to discuss the situation you find your parent.

An Orange Park Guardianship takes several forms. A Voluntary Guardianship is when an elder person, although, not incompetent, is incapable of the “care, custody and management or his or her estate by reason of age or physical infirmity and who has voluntarily petitioned for the appointment”. A voluntary guardianship does not require a determination of incapacity.

A Plenary Guardianship requires that the elder you are seeking guardianship over, be determined incapacitated. This incapacity may be deemed total or limited, and the guardian is given authority over the elder accordingly.

guardianship.jpgAs a Florida Family Law Attorney, I am often asked what the family members of a mentally incompetent elder can do when he or she refuses to seek treatment. While Florida law encourages people with mental illnesses to seek treatment voluntarily, it also recognizes that some people with a mental illness may need to be involuntarily admitted for evaluation and treatment.

The Florida Mental Health Act (“Baker Act”) is the procedure for providing persons with emergency psychiatric services and temporary detention for mental health evaluation and treatment. A Baker Act in Florida is issued to mentally ill persons who are likely to suffer self-neglect or inflict harm to themselves or others.

For an involuntary Baker Act proceeding in Florida, a law enforcement officer may take persons who appear to be mentally ill and who likely pose a danger to themselves or others into custody and deliver them to the nearest receiving facility for examination. A receiving facility must ensure that a person receive services in the least restrictive setting and in the least intrusive manner. Under the Baker Act, a person may not be held for more than 72 hours.

elderly woman.jpegAs a family law attorney in Jacksonville, Florida, I regularly deal with issues involving the elderly. Late in life, some elderly men and women become unable to manage their personal affairs. When persons become incapacitated and unable to take proper care of themselves or their property, a Florida Guardianship attorney may be necessary to start the guardianship process.

In general, a Guardianship in Florida is the management of the affairs of someone who has been deemed by the court incompetent and unable to make decisions for themselves. The court gives the right to make decisions about the impaired individual (the Ward) to another person or entity (the Guardian).

The role of a Guardian in Florida can be highly complex, involving legal, social, financial, and psychological dimensions. In Florida, a family member Guardian is often required to hire a Florida family law attorney, provide detailed personal information, undergo a credit check, post a fiduciary’s bond, attend an 8-hour training course, and file detailed financial reports annually with the court.

Elderly-People_web.jpgA fact of life is that we all age. A fact of life in Florida is that there is a large population of elderly. A sad but real fact is that Florida Elderly are susceptible to, and are real victims of elderly abuse.

Some interesting information as provided by a recent article in the Miami-Dade Herald, reports that Florida currently has over 5 million licensed drivers over the age of 55; and 19 percent of Florida’s population is over 65, making our Sunshine State No. 1 in the nation for its over-65 percentage.

Florida Elderly abuse is the result of neglect and exploitation. Abuse encompasses a broad range of actions including a caregiver’s failure or omission to provide an elderly person with the care, supervision, and services needed for the well-being of their physical and mental health.

Having a family member with a developmental disability who is now an adult may cause some future obstacles. Although you may be the natural parent, when your child becomes an adult, you are no longer able to make health care or financial decisions for him or her.

The Florida Guardianship Statutes allows for a Guardian Advocate to be appointed as a less restrictive form of guardianship.

A Guardian Advocate can be appointed for a person who has been diagnosed with a developmental disability. The Guardian Advocate will then be given certain powers and legal authority to act on behalf of and in the best interest of the person with a developmental disability.

Autism.gifApril is National Autism Awareness Month. For many Floridians living in the Jacksonville and Orange Park area, this has a profound and personal meaning. Autism is a developmental disability that affects the way a person (child or adult) interacts and communicates with the world around them. Autism affects people in varying degrees from a simple disassociation with the environment to those who have little or no spoken language and severe developmental delays.

It has been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the incidence of autism has risen 200% in the last 20 years. Florida has its share of individuals who suffer from this disability. When it comes to a Florida adult with autism, it is often necessary for a Florida circuit court to appoint a Florida legal guardian or guardian advocate to represent and act in the best interest of the autistic person.

A Guardian Advocate may be appointed without an adjudication of incapacity and will be giving the authority required to protect the interests of and care for the person, property or both of the autistic person as delegated by the court.

DSC_3469 copy copy-thumb.jpgIn Orange Park there are adults raising and caring for children who are neither their own, nor related to them. Biological parents may have issues with drugs, alcohol, or association with others not meant to be around children. Unfortunately, it happens, biological mothers and fathers do not have the capacity to care for their own children.

If you have a friend or acquaintance who has entrusted you with taking in their baby or child, what legal authority do you have with respect to that child? Consulting with an Orange Park Guardianship Attorney may be your first step. Obtaining legal guardianship over a minor will give you the power to act in the best interest of the child, whether that includes providing insurance coverage, consenting to medical treatment or registering the child for school.

Becoming a Florida Guardian of a Minor does not terminate the biological parents parental rights. Call a Florida Guardianship Attorney to discuss your particular situation.

2 moms with kids.jpgFlorida same-sex couples, Florida heterosexual couples . . . they both show concern when a family member is unable or unwilling to be the parent that every child deserves. If you have a sister, brother, or any relative who is unable to properly care for their child due to substance abuse, excessive partying, or other issues, you should consider speaking with a St. Augustine Family Law Attorney.

There are options that may enable you to temporarily take custody of a family member’s child or become that child’s guardian. If you are an extended family member of the child’s parent, and meet other qualifying requirements, you may petition the court under the Florida Law which allows for temporary custody of a minor child by an extended family member.

This law allows you to provide for the welfare of a minor child. Your temporary custody of a child, will allow the child’s parent to get the treatment that they need so they can eventually become a responsible and supportive parent. Having legal recognition of your role as temporary custodian is essential in allowing you to make decisions and obtain records pertaining to the medical, social and educational aspects of the child.

Thumbnail image for man hugging elderly.jpgAs an experienced Florida guardianship attorney in St. Augustine, I have seen many court appointed guardians who do an excellent job taking care of another person and that person’s finances. However, there are times in life when a guardian becomes ill, incapacitated or even dies, leaving the ward (the person for whom a guardian has been appointed) without anyone to act on their behalf. Therefore, it is in the best interest of both guardian and the ward to have an alternate or standby guardian appointed.

The standby guardian assumes the Florida guardianship duties immediately when the guardian becomes incapacitated, resigns, is removed, or dies. The standby may not deal with the ward’s property except to safeguard it until letters of guardianship are issued. Within twenty [20] days after the standby assumes his or her duties they must petition the court for confirmation of the appointment. Having a back-up guardian in place, will give both guardian and ward the assurance that there will be no lapse in the care of the ward or in conducting financial matters.

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