In Florida, a person can file a formal claim to request that the rights of an alleged incapacitated person (AIP) regarding financial and medical decisions or other issues be handled by another individual. This is often a central focus in elder law proceedings. Sadly, it is also often used to take advantage of and take control of an elderly person’s assets. If someone is not incapacitated and has been listed as an AIP in a petition for guardianship, that individual can contest the claim.
It is also possible to contest guardianship on behalf of an AIP. For example, a spouse or other family member can contest a request for guardianship. Someone who has been granted a power of attorney may do the same. Also, in certain circumstances, a health care surrogate can act on behalf of an AIP to contest a claim.
Guardianship litigation is often contentious
If someone has requested guardianship of an elder and the claim is contested, the proceedings are likely to be stressful and traumatic for those involved. It is best to secure experienced legal support before heading to court. The court will hear testimony, then determine if the AIP should or should not become a ward. In some cases, a judge might rule that limited guardianship be granted. This often occurs when the court determines that an AIP lacks capacity in certain areas but not others.
Florida elder law requires due process to be afforded to any individual listed as an AIP in a guardianship claim. This means that the alleged AIP is entitled to a hearing and legal representation. If an AIP has an estate plan in place, the court must decide whether the documents contained therein suffice as a sufficient alternative to guardianship. An attorney who is well-versed in elder law and estate planning can provide support to anyone facing legal problems regarding these topics.