When a person is declared legally incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to handle their affairs, they are known as a "ward," and a Guardian or Conservator may be appointed to manage the person and/or property. In Florida, a court-appointed guardian can have limited or plenary power and may be permanent or for a temporary term. This means that the guardian is granted legal authority over the management of your finances, healthcare, and other needs.
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Guardianships can be expensive and time-consuming. The process involves court monitoring, supervision, hearings, paperwork and reports. A court may not always name the individual you wish to manage your affairs, which is why it is essential to take the proper measures to properly plan your estate and put durable powers of attorney in place prior to an incapacity situation arising. You may be able to avoid a guardianship by setting up that durable power of attorney ahead of time, in which you can hand pick an individual you trust to handle your affairs.
Even if you have not included power of attorney in your will, the Orlando estate planning lawyer from Haynes & DePaz, P.A. can provide skilled representation for court-appointed guardians.
Having a court-appointed guardian gives the power and control over your affairs to an individual named by a court. The cost of this court supervision and control can add up very quickly potentially costing several thousand dollars per year. The court will require periodic reports and require changes be submitted to the court for approval, which checks and balances the power given to the guardian, but also costs money and takes time. These expenses and delays can have significant impacts in many aspects of your life. All of this red tape and extra expenses may be avoidable with a durable power of attorney.
Court-appointed guardianships remain into effect until the ward dies or no longer needs the assistance, no assets remain, or the guardian resigns or is no longer able to perform his or her duties. In the latter case, a new guardianship is established under a newly-appointed individual.
At HAYNES & DE PAZ, P.A., our Orlando estate planning lawyers are dedicated to ensuring that your interests are protected in the event that you can no longer handle your own affairs. We can help you draft the right documents to ensure that someone whom you trust has the authority to make the decisions that you cannot. We’ve helped thousands of clients navigate complex matters of estate planning and are ready to come to your aid.