When someone files a Petition in Probate Court that alleges a family member lacks the physical or mental capacity to manage their personal finances or property, it is called an involuntary guardianship. This is a complicated process, and filing the Petition doesn’t automatically mean the person is incapacitated. If the court appoints a Guardian, the incapacitated individual, known as the Ward, will lose some or all of their rights. To learn more about how an involuntary guardianship petition works, speak with an experienced Pompano Beach guardianship litigation attorney.
At Mark R. Manceri, P.A., we have years of experience handling guardianship litigation matters. We understand what a delicate matter this is and how hard it is to decide to file the petition in some situations.
Situations When an Involuntary Guardian Could Be Appointed
Before appointing a guardian, Courts look to proceed with other less restrictive options first, such as whether or not a Trust or Durable Power of Attorney. The first situation where a Court may appoint an involuntary Guardian is a temporary emergency. If your loved one is in imminent danger mentally or physically; their property is being misappropriated, or could be wasted or lost; or their safety is in jeopardy, then the Court may appoint an Emergency Temporary Guardian. The second situation is when the Court determines that your loved one lacks capacity in certain areas of their life.
Types of Involuntary Guardianship in Pompano Beach, Florida
Involuntary Guardianship is either limited or plenary. Given that each person’s incapacity is different, the Judge will decide based on individual facts. After conducting a hearing, they may say the individual only requires a Limited Guardianship as opposed to a Plenary Guardianship. A limited one is ordered if the Court determines that the potential Ward is unable to manage their affairs to a limited degree.
How the Involuntary Guardianship Process Works in Florida
The process begins with filing a Petition for Guardianship. Once the Petition is filed, the Court will appoint an examining committee that is tasked with evaluating the potential Ward. This evaluation includes a physical and mental examination, including a functional assessment.
After the examining committee has completed their assessments, they will submit their Reports to the Court. Medical documentation may be introduced, and the Petitioner may call other experts. Any other admissible evidence may also be submitted at this time by all parties. The potential Ward also has a right to testify if they so choose.
Guardians have different duties based on the degree of incapacitation. They also have many rules and court requirements that must be followed, such as providing the court with a report regarding the Ward’s status. The Guardian is also the one who needs to ensure the Ward’s rights are protected, such as the right to privacy, the right to counsel, etc.
How Does Florida Guardianship Litigation Work?
When the time comes that a family member is no longer able to manage their own affairs, the court might appoint a Guardian to act as a decision-maker for an incapacitated adult or a child. The incapacitated person is known as the Ward. Guardians have a significant amount of responsibility as they could be responsible for all decisions that affect someone else’s financial and personal affairs. A guardianship is usually the best option to protect the Ward’s safety, health, and well-being. If you need to have a guardian appointed, or you want to oppose the appointment of one, you need a skilled Pompano Beach guardianship litigation lawyer on your side.
There are some situations where Florida law requires the involuntary appointment of a guardian if the person is a child whose parents have died or become incapacitated. The second situation is when an adult becomes incapacitated or disabled and can no longer make critical decisions for themselves. Before appointing a guardian, the court will first look at less restrictive options, such as a Trust or Durable Power of Attorney.
Contact a Pompano Beach Guardianship Litigation Lawyer Today
If you have questions about guardianships in Florida, you need to file a Petition, or you need counsel to challenge a Petition, let our skilled team help. Contact Mark R. Manceri, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation.