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Guardianship

Guardianship is a multifaceted area of law with complexities that are often overlooked by those unfamiliar with its demands. Whether assisting a minor child receiving a settlement or an adult who lacks capacity to make sound personal, medical or financial decisions, our attorneys have the knowledge to guide clients through the process to establish the necessary or required guardianship. Our attorneys continue to work with clients after the establishment of a guardianship to ensure all required yearly filings are properly completed in a timely manner and to ensure compliance with all laws. When necessary, our attorneys have the experience to create Special Needs Trusts and other legal instruments to protect the client’s ability to receive government benefits or to enable them to qualify to receive such benefits.

Guardianship of Minors

Under certain circumstances, it may be necessary to open a guardianship for a minor child. For example when a minor child receives funds in excess of $15,000.00, Florida law requires a guardianship to be opened. After opening a guardianship, the Court requires the funds be placed in a designated depository where the funds will be held until the child obtains the age of eighteen.

Parents are often under the misassumption that they may access funds from a guardianship to be used as they choose.  However, under Florida law, funds held in a designated guardianship may only be withdrawn after filing the appropriate request to the court for an order to release the funds and only upon showing that the funds requested meet certain very narrow criteria

The process of opening a guardianship of a minor can be confusing and complex. The attorney’s at Levy & Associates, P.A., work to efficiently open the guardianship and ensure the guardian is compliant with Florida Statutes.

Guardianship of Adults

A guardianship for an adult is necessary when the person no longer has the capacity to make financial or medical decisions for himself or herself. The decision to initiate a guardianship proceeding can be an extremely emotional one for families, however sometimes a guardianship is the only way to make sure a loved one gets the care they need and to make sure their assets are protected.

Opening a guardianship involves two separate actions. The first action involves determining whether the individual has capacity to make financial or medical decisions. In this action, the individual receives a court appointed attorney and three specific individuals are appointed to examine the person. If the Court determines the person does not have capacity to make some or all decisions, the second action will determine who will be the person’s guardian.

After a guardian is appointed, he or she has fiduciary duties to the incapacitated person. A guardian must complete a training course, file initial an initial inventory and guardianship plan, and file yearly plans and accountings. At Levy & Associates, P.A., we assist clients throughout the guardianship process, from opening to filing the yearly required documents.

The Guardianship remains in place with annual reports outlining expenditures and specific information on the Ward’s well-being until capacity is restored or the Ward dies.

Guardian Advocacy

Florida Statutes provide a less intrusive form of guardianship for individuals who have a developmentally disability. Opening a guardian advocacy is less cumbersome than opening a full guardianship. Once appointed, the guardian advocate is subject to the same yearly filing requirements as a full guardian.

A guardian advocacy is a tremendous resource to those parents who have children with developmentally disabilities. While the child with developmental disabilities is under eighteen, parents have the ability to make decisions for them. However, once the individual turns eighteen, parents may lose the ability to make decisions for their child. A guardian advocacy gives parents the ability to take care of and or assist an adult child with a developmental disability for the remainder of the child’s life. A standby guardian may be established through the court to ensure a seamless transition upon death or disability of the parent/guardian, so that the ward is not distressed by a loss of a decision maker in his or her life and so that there is no delay in payment of bills on behalf of the ward.

At Levy & Associates, P.A., we work with families to open guardian advocacies for individuals with developmental disabilities, and advise families on how to obtain government benefits and services to assist them in caring for their loved ones.

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– DISCLAIMER –

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established. Levy & Associates does not represent you unless you complete an intake form and until a representation agreement is signed by you and by one of our attorneys.