When an individual is unable to handle their own affairs or make decisions for themselves due to incapacity or another legal disability, Florida allows the appointment of a guardian. A guardianship lawyer can explain what is expected of guardians and how to go about getting appointed as one.
Parents are the legal guardians for their minor children. However, in the event the parents are unavailable (due to death, overseas deployment, mental health issues, etc.), the court may appoint someone else to step in and have legal authority to make decisions and care for the child. Parents may designate their preferred guardian for their children in the event one is needed in their will but the probate court judge will ultimately appoint one.
In some circumstances, an adult may no longer be able to care for or make decisions for themselves. When that happens, the court may appoint a legal guardian. Before a guardianship can be granted, a panel of three (including two licensed medical professionals) must examine the individual and render an opinion of their mental state. The court will then enter an order appointing a guardian to act for the best interests of the incapacitated adult.
Guardianship is a big responsibility and not one that should be entered into lightly. A guardian has a fiduciary responsibility to their ward (whether it is a minor child or incapacitated adult) and to the court. The guardian must act in the ward’s best interests and account to the court for their actions and for any money or property payable to the ward. Guardians are entitled to reasonable compensation for their services but must be prepared to provide documentation of expenses.
A guardianship lawyer can assist with preparing the documents to request appointment of a guardianship and answer questions about the responsibilities a guardian assumes.
For assistance with guardianship or other probate matters, contact a knowledgeable Clermont guardianship attorney at the offices of Merideth Nagel, P.A., Attorney at Law. Call 352-394-7408 to set up an initial consultation at our Clermont office. Serving Lake, Sumter, Orange and Marion Counties.
Serving West Orange County, Lake County, Sumter County & Marion County