Harrison Estate Law, P.A., offers years of experience representing clients in need of guardianships and conservatorships in the Florida probate courts. From simple guardianship designations to complicated fiduciary challenges, we provide our clients with a compassionate approach and no-nonsense litigation style. We focus on providing you with a front-to-back understanding of the legal issues facing your family without bringing unnecessary drama or emotion to the table.
Based in Gainesville, Florida, we offer guardianship and conservatorship services to our neighbors in the surrounding communities, as well as to clients elsewhere in Florida. We offer consultations by phone or video conference, as well as in person. If you are looking for a law firm that can handle all your family’s estate planning and probate needs in and out of court, contact Harrison Estate Law for a complimentary consultation about how our experienced team can help you.
When your loved one is in an accident, has medical complications, or simply hasn’t taken the time to create an estate plan, you may suddenly find yourself needing to make decisions about their care and their finances. However, banks, doctors, and other professionals involved in managing their affairs won’t talk to you simply because you are related. Without a Durable Power of Attorney or Health Care Surrogate designation, you may have to turn to the Florida Probate Court for a guardianship or conservatorship to act on your loved one’s behalf.
Florida law divides the legal authority to manage an incapacitated person’s affairs into two categories. Guardianship is the authority to make decisions for the person. Conservatorship (sometimes called the guardian of the property) is the authority to handle their money. The Court may grant both powers to the same person, or may assign more than one family member to the tasks.
Estate planning documents like Durable Powers of Attorney (DPOA) or Health Care Surrogate Designations can be written in advance and used whenever they become necessary. However, guardianships and conservatorships can only be granted if the person they are protecting is “incapacitated”. That means that 3 court-appointed experts (at least 2 are usually doctors) must agree that your loved one has lost the ability to manage at least some part of their health, safety, or financial affairs.
Any adult resident of Florida can be named guardian for any incapacitated resident. You don’t have to be related. Out-of-state relatives can also be appointed in some cases. The Court can also appoint a professional, including an attorney, a nonprofit corporation, or a bank trust department to serve as a guardian over at least some parts of your loved one’s affairs. If you live out of state and your loved one needs help, these professional guardians can serve as a front line of defense, handling everyday matters with your guidance.
Not every guardianship or conservatorship needs extensive litigation. However, when family members disagree on the loved one’s care or there are concerns about how their money is being spent, you may need a probate trial lawyer to help you take the matter to court and resolve the issue quickly, so you can provide your loved ones the care they need. These fiduciary challenges can remove a conservator who is mismanaging your loved one’s funds, or get your family member help to escape an elder abuse situation.
Harrison Estate Law is happy to help you with all your probate court needs, from simple filings to complex litigation. Please contact us online or via email or call 352-559-9828 to schedule a free consultation. If you don’t live close to Gainesville, we are happy to set up a phone or video conference call.