Planning for the care of an elderly or disabled adult can be complex and complicated.
There becomes a time where your loved one will inevitably lose the capacity or capability to make decisions for themselves, manage their finances and their personal affairs. This causes great concern to their relatives. This very situation is why it is very important to have advance directives and estate planning in place. A Durable Power of Attorney would designate an individual to handle these affairs should your loved one become incapacitated. However, this is not always the case, but there are alternatives in place to protect the rights of your loved one.
What Is A Guardianship?
A Guardianship is when the court will appoint 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 as 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 insure they receive the best care and attention while preserving their rights with dignity.