Guardianship Law

What is a Contested Guardianship in Florida?

When a loved one is no longer able to manage their affairs, it can be difficult for everyone involved.  Unfortunately, there comes a time when someone needs to be given the authority to make decisions for the “incapacitated person.” 

However, what if you and your other family members can’t agree on who should take over those duties and be appointed guardians? If that situation arises, then that is called a “contested” guardianship in Florida.

The number of guardianships taking place in Florida is quickly on the rise as family members in increasing numbers are asking the Florida probate courts to appoint a guardian for their elderly adult loved ones. In this article, we are going to provide you some detail about contested guardianships in Florida.

At Doane & Doane, PA, we are passionate about giving our clients the personalized legal counsel they need to appropriately take care of many major life and death decisions, whether it is estate planning or guardianship issues.

So, to answer your Florida guardianship questions, we welcome you to consider contacting us at Doane & Doane, PA for contested guardianship advice and services. You can contact us today at 561-656-0200 or fill out our online contact form.

When Do You Know the Time to File for Guardianship in Florida?

When your elderly adult loved one becomes vulnerable and frail, and can no longer take care of their affairs properly, you should consult with a Florida guardianship attorney

It’s sad, but financial exploitation of the elderly in Florida is increasing at an alarming rate. As a result, our Florida guardianship attorneys can assist you in recovering property, money, and bank accounts belonging to your incapacitated loved one. 

The courts in Florida have the ability to delegate a citizen’s rights to another, which creates guardianship.

What is the Guardianship and/or Contested Guardianship Procedure in Florida?

1.  The first step in obtaining guardianship is to file a verified petition to determine incapacity and petition for the appointment of a guardian. 

Once the petition is filed, the Florida probate court will appoint an attorney to represent the “alleged incapacitated person’s” interests.  

Anyone who contests involuntary guardianship can appear in the Florida court and state that the proceedings are adversarial.  At that point, the petition for guardianship will proceed like any other civil action according to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.

2. One of the first things that the Florida probate court will look at in a guardianship matter or contested guardianship matter is whether the alleged incapacitated person is truly unable to manage their own affairs. 

Sadly, many people file for guardianships against their parents, spouse, or significant other when no need for guardianship exists.  In other cases, there is a fight about money and a family member will file a guardianship petition to control the family trust or money. 

The main focus is the well-being, protection, and care of the alleged incapacitated person. Under Florida law an “incapacitated person” is “a person who has been judicially determined to lack the capacity to manage at least some of the property or to meet at least some of the essential health and safety requirements of the person.”

3. Within 5 days of the filing of the petition to determine capacity, the Guardianship Examining Committee will be appointed. The Florida court must appoint an examining committee of at least 3 people, with one of them being a psychiatrist or physician. 

After being appointed, the Guardianship Examining Committee must file a report with the Florida court within 15 days after being appointed. The reports filed will inform the court about whether or not the alleged incapacitated person lacks capacity and whether any of their rights should be taken away. 

Florida Guardianship Trial 

Pursuant to Florida law, an adjudicatory hearing will be set no more than 14 days after receiving the reports from the examining committee members. At this hearing, there must be clear and convincing evidence that your loved one is partially or totally incapacitated. 

If the incapacity is proven, then the court may consider appointing a guardian. 

Who Can Be Appointed as a Florida Guardian?

In order to be appointed guardianship in Florida, under Florida law, the court must give preference to someone related by blood or marriage to the incapacitated person, but the court can appoint a guardian who is fit and proper even if they aren’t related. 

The Florida court will also take into consideration who the incapacitated person wants to be their guardian. Additionally, anyone convicted of a felony cannot be appointed guardian.  

A non-resident of the state of Florida can only be a guardian if they are a relative of the incapacitated person or the spouse of that person.

Look to Doane & Doane for Help with Contested Guardianship Matters.

Founded in 2003 by husband and wife legal team, Randell C. Doane and Rebecca G. Doane, Doane & Doane provides legal and financial services to families, individuals, and businesses throughout Southeast Florida.

Guardianship is taken very seriously in the state of Florida.   At Doane & Doane, our Guardianship Attorneys in West Palm Beach help people plan for retirement, make provisions for loved ones, figure out future child support, and minimize tax liability.  Experienced guardianship attorneys know which tools to use to get the best results for their clients.  Our lawyers can help you determine which tools are best suited to your specific circumstances.

When it comes to probate matters, such as guardianship or contested guardianship, many Floridians seek the assistance of the attorneys at Doane & Doane, P.A. to administer and manage their trusts and estates.  Notably, the founding partners of Doane & Doane are board-certified West Palm Beach Probate Attorneys.  With the additional advantage of certified public accountancy in their backgrounds, they present a unique combination of skills and experience which enables them to effectively settle, administer, and manage clients’ trusts and estates.

Call us at Doane & Doane, P.A., to help you if you are faced with a probate matter, or if you would like guardianship advice and/or representation in Florida.  You can reach us at 561-656-0200.  Call us today.

The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not decide whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed, nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.