A sorrowful note of aging is caring for a loved one whose health is in decline. Many Americans suffer from terminal, mental illness or mental derangement or incapacity such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease—which creates legal problems for those in line to inherit the estate of the incapacitated father or mother.
There are problems among the person considered to be unfit to continue living independently and the family members and friends of the person with declining health that include continuation of a profession, early-retirement, distribution of assets, among other concerns that typically are resolved in a will at the natural end of a person’s life.
Under Florida law, next of kin can take control before the inevitable occurs, such as when an aging parent is no longer able to manage their own business and financial affairs.
Learning the differences between a successful conservatorship that accomplishes the wishes of the aging parent or relative, and an opportunistic power grab to seize control is important for someone interested in planning their loved one’s estate.
Spent a few moments reading about the way various kinds of Florida conservatorship and guardianships are effective tools in planning the finances and business affairs of a loved one diagnosed with a terminal illness or incapacity.
I. What Forms The Bulk of Conservatorship and Guardianship Cases That a Conservatorship Or Guardian Advocate Handles?
According to Florida Courts.org, a formal process is firmly in place for determining whether a person can become a guardian of another person.
Other mechanisms include creating durable powers of attorney for critical healthcare decisions.
The process of forming a guardianship is to attend to the problem of a minor or adult inheriting money or becoming incapacitated to prevent them from making intelligent life or financial decisions dealing with their inheritance.
Notably, the defunct conservatorship over pop star Britany Spears is an example of this issue coming to light in the news.
According to Florida Statutes, there are two forms of guardianships:
- Formal guardianships
- Informal guardianships
The next step is to petition the court to determine that a minor (or adult) should become a ward over which the parent, or relative has complete control over the bank account, business records, information, and equipment, including computers and email—in short, able to act vicariously through the one who is a minor or incapacitated adult as if they were that person themselves.
The other form of control another can exercise over a person is through the creation of a conservatorship. According to Boca Raton-based Schwartz White, this form of third-party financial control is possible only if the person’s assets exist and the person is an “absentee” or has died.
A guardian ad litem is usually appointed to protect the interests of the absentee.
Florida Statutes Chapter 747 deals with conservatorships:
These are the duties of a conservator involving an absentee:
- The right to act as the guardian over the absentee person and the absentee’s dependents
- The right to be managed by a court in the same way as a court manages a guardianship’s due process requirements for determining issues such as the fitness of a guardian or conservator and minor or adult’s capacity.
Due to the often secretive, fast-moving process of guardian ship and conservatorship creation, it is very important for a well-trained and experienced Florida guardianship and conservatorship attorney to be involved to determine whether the legal requirements to create either regime over a minor or incapacitated or deceased person’s estate have been duly followed.
Trying to contest or establish either regime can prove difficult and result in assets being left in control of a conservatee, or seized when there aren’t lawyers involved to defend against abusive interested persons.
II. Access To A Florida Guardianship and Conservatorship Lawyer To Petition for or Oppose a Guardianship or Conservatorship Over Your Loved One
According to the Seminole-based guardianship and conservatorship law firm DeLoach, Hofstra and Cavonis, P.A., the process of creating either regime over an incapacitated person or minor takes roughly two to three months. Commonly, dementia is the reason for a guardianship to form based on an examination of the elderly parent by typically the adult children involving an expert to render a professional opinion.
To avoid the unfortunate situation of duress and other confusion during this time of familiar discord and often marital conflict, it is necessary for an experienced Florida guardianship lawyer to look for patterns of inconsistency and failures to follow the procedures established under Florida Statues Chapter 747.
For instance, written statements declaring that an elderly parent has dementia; and simultaneously claiming that the elderly parent has dementia would not be persuasive to a guardianship court, as it suggests that both the alleged dementia-stricken parent and adult child cannot both be true in their assertions, indicating that the written statement was likely coerced.
Also, situations can call for more desperate measures through what are called temporary guardianships as opposed to permanent forms.
- Scheming caregiver: In these limited cases, even if the parent is suffering from dementia, the court will prevent fraud and misappropriation from a caregiver who uses deception into obtaining power of attorney over the ailing parent. In such a case, the court will create a temporary guardianship over the parent to prevent further wrongdoing and abuse of power by an opportunistic and calculating caregiver.
- Severely crippled parent: After an accident that renders a parent incapacitated causing medical bills to accrue to receive life-preserving treatment, a temporary guardianship can be created by the adult children to allow them to manage the crippled parent’s income to pay for the medical bills to avoid being discharged and left without any care at all.
- Plotting Adult Children: An aging parent whose several children where the “good son” has a power of attorney that alone does not prevent from a plotting sibling from taking advantage of the aging parent without the other’s consent. In such a case a temporary guardianship would be granted.
Let a skilled and even-handed Orlando, Miami or Jacksonville, Florida conservator law attorney knowledgeable about duties of a guardian and conservatorships aggressively represent your interests in helping protect an aging parent who could be manipulated and have a mismanagement of any remaining assets.
III. Getting Legal Help with A South Florida Conservator Law Attorney To Prevent Abuse of An Aging Parent and Protect the Financial Interests Of Terminally Ill Parents
According to the blog at Gainesville-based Florida Probate Law Group, guardianship and conservatorship issues fall under the firm’s practice area in probate law and elder law.
Often well-educated and experienced Florida probate and elder law attorneys bring decades of experience in litigation to determine the best strategy rather than rush to filing and opposing guardianship petitions, or rely a campaign of brinksmanship used on both ends of a conservatorship and guardianship contest without a well-thought out aim other than generating costs.
Fort Lauderdale-based Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A’s law firms website provides excellent advice and resources for a family seeking to protect their aging parent and preserve assets from mismanagement or misappropriation from caregivers.
IV. Legal Advice: Why do I Need a South Florida Guardianship and Conservatorship Attorney?
Many Florida guardianship and conservatorship attorneys often are trained at the best law schools in Florida, or other states and around the country, well worth having as your personal advocate hired to protect your interest and terminally ill conservatee parent protect against abuse.
Contrary to popular belief, Florida conservator law attorneys will be familiar with not only your legal issue affecting you, but also the context of your legal plight that could easily mean that you’re getting the skill and experience equivalent to several decades of practical lawyering in field such as estate planning, wills, and probate law; family law; investment and tax law.
V. Why Should I Hire a Skilled Florida Guardianship and Conservatorship Firm?
Many premier Florida guardianship and conservatorship lawyers include those listed on the Del Rey Beach-based Solkoff Legal, P.A., among others in the Orlando, Miami and surrounding areas, offer probate and guardian and conservatorship services often with an initial free consultation.
A disclaimer will prevent an attorney-client relationship from unintentionally occurring, ensuring your absentee loved one or presently living father or mother or relative is not taken advantage of by a scheming relative, and that family assets pass according to the actual will of the aging parent.
VI. Forming a Mediation or Arbitration-Client Relationship: Call a Miami Guardianship and Conservatorship Lawyer Today for a Case Evaluation to Protect Your Aging Parent and Secure A Better Financial Footing
With directories spanning Orlando, Miami, or Fort Lauderdale-based guardianship and conservatorship law firms, Lawsuit.org—beyond your local bar association, or public law school library, or state bar office—offers premier tool helping you pinpoint the right arbitrator or mediation firm based on your particular legal need without needing to worry about paying for the services.
More likely than not, a Florida guardian advocate will have decades of experience in a wide range of practice areas, who can quickly and efficiently offer targeted advice and representation to allow you to allow your absentee or aging parent to have a peaceful final years without worry of being taken advantage of.