When a loved one needs help making decisions or taking care of their finances, you want to help. Florida laws don’t allow just anyone to step in and start making decisions for another adult, however. You must have permission to help. If your loved one created a durable power of attorney or a health care advance directive, they may have named you as an agent to make decisions now that they need help. If they did not, you may need to pursue guardianship through the court system.
At Law Office Of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A., we understand that the decision to file for legal guardianship is a difficult one to make. Family members may even disagree over whether guardianship is the right step, or who should serve as guardian. We can explain your options, walk through the process and help you figure out the best path forward for your loved one.
In Florida, the probate court reviews petitions for guardianship. For adults, the courts view guardianship as a serious intrusion on a person’s civil liberties and will only apply it if no other options are available. Once the court applies for the guardianship, the subject is known as a “ward.” Generally speaking, guardianships apply in three circumstances:
The probate court oversees the guardianship, from appointment to the end of the guardianship.
Because of the civil liberties issues involved, proposed wards have the right to object to their guardianship. These cases are considered involuntary guardianships. They may not feel that they need assistance. In other cases, however, the proposed ward knows they need help and will work with the court and their guardian to create a guardianship that meets their needs. This is considered a voluntary guardianship.
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