David Howard Goldberg, P.L.

Seeking guardianship is often painful, but important

Watching a loved one's health decline is difficult. The unfortunate truth is that most people reach a stage where they are unable to care for themselves without having planned for this possibility. Without an advance health care directive or power of attorney in place, family members may be unable to make important medical, financial and legal decisions for their loved one without the intervention of the Florida courts.

In such cases, many families make the difficult but critical decision to petition the court for guardianship over loved ones who are no longer able to handle their own affairs. This may be due to a medical condition such as a stroke or dementia, or it could be because of injuries from an accident. Guardians handle the legal, financial and medical decisions -- depending on the level of authority granted by the court -- for the incapacitated loved one and seek approval of the court for any major decisions.

This is a difficult undertaking for several reasons. First, there is a complex legal process that requires the petitioner to prove the subject's incapacity and allows for other family members to contest the decision to seek guardianship. Additionally, it may be an emotional time for the ailing loved one if he or she understands what is happening.

Because of the many potential complications and the serious nature of seeking guardianship over a loved one, it is essential that those involved understand the process and its ramifications. Having legal advice and assistance along the way is strongly advised. A compassionate attorney with experience in Florida elder law matters can be a strong advocate.

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David Howard Goldberg, P.L.
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