Legal guardianships are sometimes necessary and provide a great benefit, however they can be very costly. There are some legal documents a person can prepare which may serve to eliminate the need for a guardianship all together or significantly reduce the costs associated with proceedings to determine who should be appointed to serve as a guardian.
- Power of attorney: A power of attorney is an estate planning document used to manage one's financial affairs. If a person, or principal, has capacity, they can prepare a durable power attorney appointing a person, or an agent, the right to handle specified transactions. The document allows the agent to manage the principal's financial affairs during their lifetime. A power of attorney terminates on the death of the principal.
- Health care surrogate: A health care surrogate or health care proxy is an estate planning document used to manage one's health affairs. If a person has capacity, they can prepare a health care proxy to nominate an agent to handle specified health affairs in the event that a person is no longer able to make decisions for him or herself.
- Preneed guardian: A preneed guardian is a document prepared in which you can preselect who you would want to have appointed as your guardian in the event that a legal guardianship needs to be established. You can select a guardian for yourself and you can also preselect a guardian for your children if you become unable to care for them. If a guardianship is established, assuming the guardian qualifies, the court must appoint the guardian you selected. A guardian is qualified if they are a Florida resident, but they may not be a creditor or a felon.
The firm offers services to represent wards, guardians, friends and/or family members in connection with guardianship proceedings. Ms. Rountree has handled a variety of guardianship matters, including contested guardianship appointment and breach of fiduciary duty claims.
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