Predatory Professional Guardians And Florida
The exploitation of elderly people and predatory guardianship sound awful, and they are. But, even with laws and other procedural protections in place, these incidents still happen. And recently, many incidents have come to light. The number of occurrences that have been uncovered depicts an unsettling trend of a problem that continues to grow in the United States.
Floridians that live in The Villages, may be interested to know what safeguards are in place in the state that can best keep them secure from such abuse. Along with Florida guardianship laws, a thorough estate plan can help older adults preserve their rights. To learn more about estate planning in Florida, Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group has estate planning lawyers in The Villages that can help you put together an estate plan that will meet your objectives and wishes.
Basics of Florida Guardianship Law
If you are concerned about predatory professional guardianship in Florida, then consider the following:
- Anyone that may be facing guardianship is required to have an attorney on their side to ensure that their intentions are fairly represented. Additionally, the guardian themselves must also have legal counsel.
- Before a hearing takes place the person who is being examined for their aptitude must receive notice that there was a filing for determining their physical and mental state. Also, the petition allowing the process to take place must be sent to the proposed incapacitated individual. These documents will also go out to the attorneys for both the potentially incapacitated person and the guardian. Last, any next-of-kin the individual in question has will receive the documents too.
- The person who is being evaluated as possibly needing guardianship will be present at their hearing unless they decide they do not want to attend or their attorney waives their attendance in line with their true wishes.
- A team of at least one licensed psychiatrist or physician, and two other gerontology professionals will review the guardianship case to make a confirmation of if a person is incapacitated or if they are not. A majority opinion will confirm the result. Meaning that if at least two out of the three professionals say that a person is not incapacitated the petition will be dismissed and guardianship will not be granted.
- It is required that any professional guardian in Florida report the number of wards they care for. If their caseload is high, they will likely not be used.
- For an incapacitated person that does have guardianship, Florida Proxy Statute allows for family members to make medical decisions until the person is no longer incapacitated.
While there are situations where guardianship is in the best interest of a person that is incapacitated, finding the best possible situation that is the least restrictive is always the goal. Florida laws are largely on the side of a potentially incapacitated person, but no process is completely immune from mismanagement and fraud. This is why it is so critical to have a highly detailed and up-to-date estate plan in place. Doing so while you are healthy and with your wits about you increases the chances you will be treated fairly under the law.
Call The Villages Estate Planning Attorneys Today
For more information about how The Villages estate planning attorneys at Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group can help you plan for the future, please call 800-743-9732 to schedule a free consultation.