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Guardianships

Jacksonville Guardianship Lawyer

Florida Legal Guardian Attorney

A guardianship is a legal device that gives a designated person control over the physical care or financial affairs — or both — of a person who is incapable of caring for him or herself. The most common uses of guardianships include:

  • Pre-need designation of a guardian for minor children or disabled adult children in the event of both parents' death
  • Advance designation of a financial or physical care guardian for oneself in the event of incapacity
  • A family member's guardianship petition to care for a family member who has become incapable of caring for him or herself and who does not have an advance guardianship or durable power of attorney in place
  • A surviving parent's application to take charge of funds left to a minor child by a deceased parent

At the Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A., I advise my estate planning clients on all uses of guardianships, draft necessary documents and appear on my clients' behalf in probate court to initiate guardianship proceedings. As part of my probate litigation practice, I am also available to represent clients who wish to terminate guardianships. Contact my Jacksonville, Florida, office for more information or to schedule an appointment to talk directly with an experienced lawyer.

Guardianships for Children: It is important to know that guardianship designations for children in the event of both parents' death are not necessarily binding on the probate court. The court must still determine that the parents' selection of a guardian is in the best interests of the children.

Guardianships Versus Other Legal Tools

There are situations in which guardianships are the most protective legal device available. In other circumstances different legal tools might better accomplish a person's goals. For this reason, it is important to obtain advice from a knowledgeable and experienced attorney before deciding on the best option for you.

For example, a divorced parent may not want the ex-spouse to take charge of a child's inheritance in the event of the first parent's death. A guardianship of the property might not be the proper tool to use in such circumstances. Instead, the parent should consider establishing a testamentary trust, which can designate a trusted individual to manage the inheritance and to pay out funds on the child's behalf. Such a testamentary trust can also stipulate that no funds be paid directly to the ex-spouse.

In another example, a complete guardianship may not be necessary. An elderly parent may still be mentally competent but have difficulty caring for him or herself physically. The probate court might deny a full guardianship petition under such circumstances. The court may be more inclined to designate a guardian of the person — so that the ward retains control over decisions about finances, medical care, voting and other important.htmlects of life.

Contact the Law Office of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A.

Learn more about my professional qualifications and my areas of practice. Or, contact my office to schedule a confidential appointment to get answers to your questions about guardianships for children or adults.