Guardianship Administration & Litigation Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale
Knowledgeable Guidance on Complicated Legal Issues
A court may appoint a guardian for a person who becomes incapacitated and unable to manage their affairs. The court may remove certain rights from this individual, such as the right to make financial, medical, or personal decisions, and vest them in a guardian. Generally, guardianship is an extreme step when it is taken in connection with adults, and it is appropriate only if there are no other, less restrictive measures that could be taken.
If you have concerns related to a family member's health situation, the lawyers at Stok Kon + Braverman can provide legal advice and representation. This process may be complex, and enlisting an attorney is an important step to take in protecting your loved one’s interests.
In guardianship proceedings brought under Florida Statutes Chapter 744, a guardian is appointed to exercise an incapacitated person's legal rights. When appointing a guardian, the court takes care to provide the least restrictive form of guardianship—the form that least interferes with someone's ability to act on their own behalf— for people who are only partially unable to care for their own needs. In some cases, a guardian advocate, rather than a plenary guardian, may be appointed.
The law recognizes that there may not be a willing family member, friend, or bank that is available to serve as a guardian for a particular individual, and that person may not have adequate income to compensate a private guardian. In these cases, a public guardian may be provided.
An incapacitated person in guardianship proceedings is known as a ward. That person may be incapacitated due to mental health issues, illness, or age. In some cases, people put a living trust or power of attorney in place so that they have some control over who manages their affairs. However, in other cases, a guardianship may need to be determined by the courts. A lawyer can help advocate for an appropriate guardian to be appointed for a loved one. Often, the guardian takes over the incapacitated person's finances, and in many cases, a relative or close friend may be appointed.
In guardianship proceedings, an adult may petition the court to determine someone's incapacity, describing facts upon which they base the belief that someone is incapacitated. The court will appoint two professionals and a layperson to examine the individual alleged to be incapacitated. The court will also appoint an attorney to represent the person who is allegedly incapacitated. If the committee decides that the person is not incapacitated, the court may dismiss the petition. However, if they decide that the person is not able to exercise particular rights, a hearing is scheduled to decide whether the person is partially or fully incapacitated.
In addition to handling guardianship proceedings in the Broward County area, our attorneys can serve as counsel in guardianship litigation. In a contested guardianship hearing, for example, the court will examine whether the person alleged to be incapacitated is able to manage their own affairs. In other cases, more than one family member may be interested in serving as a guardian, and the court will examine this issue to determine the appropriate course of action. An emergency guardianship may also be appropriate to remove an incapacitated individual from an unsafe situation, such as elder abuse, or to address a situation in which someone has abused a position of trust with an incapacitated individual.
Whether you are seeking a guardianship for a loved one or are concerned about how a guardianship is being handled, the Fort Lauderdale guardianship administration and litigation attorneys at Stok Kon + Braverman can provide experienced and knowledgeable counsel.