Guardianships for Adults, Minors, and Persons with Disabilities
A guardian is appointed through a legal proceeding to care for another person’s interests and property. A guardian is related or unrelated to an individual that has been deemed by the court to be an incapacitated person, a minor, or a physically disabled adult in need of legal oversight. They are authorized to make health care decisions, manage assets, and living arrangements according to the person’s needs. If a person is determined to be partially incapacitated, a guardian is appointed with limited authority.
Guardianship for an Adult
A guardian is assigned for an adult with diminished mental capacity or physical limitations that renders them unable to make competent decisions or manage their daily living activities. Impaired mental and physical functioning can be the result of severe, long, or short term medically diagnosed conditions. Some examples of these ailments are dementia, mental illness, strokes, genetic disorders, or traumatic brain injuries.
The role of a legal guardian for an incapacitated adult can include the following:
- Medical decision making.
- End of life decisions.
- Fiduciary duty to manage finances.
- Apply for public assistance as needed.
- Distribution of personal property.
- Provide appropriate living arrangements.
The process of appointing a guardian is a formal judicial proceeding. The court assesses the need for legal oversight and the petitioner’s ability to act on behalf of that person. After filing a petition for guardianship, there is an assessment of the person’s physical, mental, and functional abilities and limitations. Once a need for a guardian is established, those suitable for the role are persons over 18, with no criminal history. Often, a family member or friend will petition the court for legal guardianship due to their emotional attachment and familiarity with the person in need. A not-for-profit organization or a financial institution can serve as a guardian, with limited powers. A guardian can be a life-time appointment or until the person has regained capacity and can manage their affairs.
Guardianship for a Minor
A legal guardian may become necessary for a minor child due to various circumstances, such as death or abandonment by the parents. There can be other reasons that the parents cannot provide a stable home environment, such as illness, imprisonment, or allegations of abuse or neglect. A guardian of a minor is generally responsible for providing for all the aspects of a child’s life, usually until the age of 18. A child’s potential guardian may petition the court, and the court will evaluate the circumstances and the prospective guardian. A Guardian Ad Litem may be appointed by the court during the proceedings, especially if the guardianship is contested. A Guardian Ad Litem is an objective, impartial person appointed to investigate a case and report findings and recommendations to the court based on the child’s best interests.
The Law Office of Brian W. Hurd provides Quality Counsel and Advocacy.
Guardianship proceedings are complex and highly emotional for all the parties involved. Being a guardian is a serious responsibility. If you seek a guardian for a loved one, you need the guidance of an experienced and compassionate attorney.
Call The Law Office of Brian W. Hurd for a consultation at 321-453-5007. We represent clients in Central Florida and the surrounding areas. Our law office will answer your questions, be your advocate, and represent you in court during this difficult time.
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Whatever legal issue you are facing, we can help. Call us at 321-453-5007 for a consultation.
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