At some point, your loved one may lose the ability to make decisions for themselves, including managing their finances and personal affairs. This can be a worrying situation for their family. It's important to have advance directives and estate planning in place to prepare for this possibility. A Durable Power of Attorney can assign someone to handle affairs if your loved one becomes incapacitated, but this isn't always the case. Fortunately, there are alternatives available to protect your loved one's rights.
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A Guardianship is when the court appoints a fiduciary to make decisions for someone that lacks the capacity to make their own decisions. A guardian is appointed to protect that individual's rights and manage their assets. The guardian can be appointed to manage the person (their care, health, etc.), their property (assets, finances, etc.), or both.
A family member can serve in this fiduciary role. If appointed, the family member must act in a professional capacity, as the Court will hold them to a high standard. If the court requires, they will carry a surety bond (court ordered), must be free of a criminal background, and will be required by Florida Statute to fulfill an 8-hour education requirement.
When there is no family member or person that is able or willing to serve, the court appoints a professional guardian to act as fiduciary for the individual lacking capacity. Professional guardians must undergo a background check, submit an annual credit report, pass an examination, and obtain and maintain a surety bond on an annual basis.
Florida Courts view a Guardianship proceeding as a last resort. Courts urge to find the least restrictive alternative before filing for Guardianship. When you consult with us, we will review your loved one’s alternatives to ensure they receive the best care and attention while preserving their rights with dignity.
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Long-Term Care Planning: Coming Soon.