There comes a time in many people’s lives when they can no longer do all the things they once loved or were able to do. Age, infirmity and illnesses take their toll. Under these circumstances, relatives, friends and others may believe that the elderly person is not capable of managing his or her financial and medical affairs any attempt to establish a guardianship over the elderly person and his or her assets. In a Guardianship, a court appoints a guardian to manage the medical care and financial matters of the individual. Guardianship proceedings can be expensive. These expenses include the compensation of an exam committee comprising of a medical doctor and at least two other healthcare professions to provide an opinion as to the capacity of the individual, attorney fees and related expenses. If a guardian is appointed, accountings, reports and various actions of the guardian must be prepared and submitted to the court for approval further increasing the expense of the guardianship proceeding.
An individual can create an estate plan to avoid a Guardianship through the proper drafting of a Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directive, Living Will, Trust and other and other financial and healthcare documentation. Through the careful drafting of these estate planning documents the individual can protect himself or herself from financial predators and make the filing of a guardianship unnecessary.
At Lyons, Beaudry & Harrison, P.A., our Sarasota County attorneys have the experience in preparing estate planning documents to avoid the need for a Guardianship, fighting unnecessary Guardianships and to help you and your heirs from financial predators and the expense of a guardianship proceeding.
Even if estate planning documents are in effect, a guardianship proceeding may still be filed. Under Florida law, if there is a “least restrictive alternative to a guardianship,” the appointment of a guardian, and the expense related thereto, can be avoided. A proper estate plan that establishes a Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directive, Living Will and Trust is a least restrictive alternative to a guardianship a defense to the guardianship proceeding.
Sometimes estate planning documents are changed through the influence of a predator, family member, neighbor or others. In this situation, the estate planning documents may not be the “least restrictive alternative” to a guardianship. In fact, a guardianship proceeding may be necessary to challenge the validity of the changes to these documents. Other times, an elderly person may wish fight the guardianship which could result in the termination of his or her rights to make estate planning, financial, health and other decisions. In many instances, one or more family members may want to gain control over the elderly person’s finances and medical care decisions. The attorneys at Lyons, Beaudry & Harrison, P.A. understand the importance of negotiating a resolution of such disputes to avoid a guardianship and maintain the dignity and rights of the individual, but have the experience to aggressively represent your interest in the Guardianship proceeding, if necessary.
If a guardian is appointed to determine the medical and financial decisions of an individual, the guardian must make these decisions in the best interests of the individual. The Florida Guardianship Law also imposes certain responsibilities and duties upon the guardian. If these obligations are breached by the guardian, the guardian may be subject to removal and personal liability. It may be necessary to pursue your remedies in the guardianship proceeding. This type of Guardianship Litigation can be complex and stressful. At Lyons, Beaudry & Harrison, P.A., our Sarasota County attorneys have the experience in Guardianship Litigation to help you navigate through this difficult process with as little stress as possible.
Whether you are seeking an elder law attorney to assist with your unique legal issues, wish to avoid guardianship, need assistance to protect a family member or other elderly person from a predator, neighbor, “friend,” caretaker or relative or must initiate or defend a guardianship proceeding, the attorneys at Lyons, Beaudry & Harrison, P.A. have the experience and skill required to resolve your legal issues. Call us at 941-444-6407 or contact Lyons, Beaudry & Harrison, P.A. online. Our office is conveniently located on Main Street in downtown Sarasota, Florida with ample parking available.