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Tampa Business Litigation Attorneys / Tampa Guardianship Attorney

Tampa Guardianship Attorney

When a person becomes unable to handle their own affairs and they do not have a health care surrogate, durable power of attorney, or other advance directive, they may have a guardian appointed to them. The court will first determine if the ward has the mental capacity to make sound decisions and if not, order a guardianship on the ward’s behalf. After a guardian is appointed, they make all or most of the ward’s decisions, including those regarding their health care and finances. Guardians must adhere to statutory and ethical rules when making decisions in the best interest of the ward.

It is possible to avoid guardianship with proper planning before incapacitation occurs. Our Tampa guardianship attorney can advise you of the options that will protect you and your family.

Determining Mental Incapacity

Guardianship is taken very seriously, as it formally removes a person’s rights and prevents them from making their own decisions. To determine if a person lacks the mental capacity to make sound decisions, the court will appoint a committee consisting of three people: a physician, a mental health professional, and someone with specific knowledge, such as a case manager or social worker.

The committee will meet with the alleged incapacitated person and each of them will write a report and submit it to the court. The court will also appoint an attorney to the individual who will meet with them before submitting their report to the court.

If all of the reports unanimously indicate that the individual is incapacitated, the court will issue an order and guardianship proceedings will begin. During the guardianship hearings, the court will appoint a person as guardian. If the reports are not unanimous, guardianship can be contested by the alleged incapacitated person’s attorney. Alternatively, the court may determine that a limited guardianship is more appropriate than a plenary guardianship.

Limited vs. Plenary Guardianship

The law, and the courts, will try to use the form of guardianship that is the least restrictive, when possible. Limited guardianships are suitable if a court decides that a person lacks the capacity to manage some but not all of their affairs. The court will specify the affairs the guardian is responsible for handling.

On the other hand, a plenary guardianship will be used if the court determines the ward cannot manage any of their own affairs and that they cannot take care of themselves. The guardian will then make all decisions regarding the personal, financial, and health care affairs of the individual.

Our Guardianship Attorney in Tampa Can Help with Your Case

Guardianships are sometimes necessary but with proper planning, a person can still make the final decision about who will handle their affairs in the event of incapacitation. At BBDG Law, our Tampa guardianship attorney can help you create an estate plan that will protect you now, and in the future. If you have to petition the court for guardianship to care for a loved one, we can help with that, too. Call us now at (813) 221-3759 or contact us online to request a consultation and to get the legal help you need.