A New, More Protective Guardianship Law
Several Elder Law Attorneys from around the state of Florida, including Shannon Miller, ESQ, Miller Elder Law Firm, were instrumental in the passing of this legislation that went into effect in Florida on July 1, 2015. The overhaul was designed to better protect our most vulnerable citizens, aging adults.
Check out the news story at http://bit.ly/1LHZ64H featuring Elder Law attorney and Miller Elder Law Firm colleague Angela Warren explaining the law.
.Summary of the updates: The law
- establishes a formal system for appointing court monitors to oversee guardianships and requires those facing emergency temporary guardianship to receive prior warning, among other provisions. Determining whether a person is mentally incapacitated for guardianship can take weeks. But if someone claims that an individual faces immediate physical or financial harm, an emergency temporary guardian can be appointed within days, with individuals often removed from their homes before having a full court hearing.
- makes it more difficult to suspend someone’s power of attorney during the guardianship process, attempts to limit the fees associated with guardianships and makes clear a guardian’s responsibility to act in the ward’s interest and keep accurate records.
- establishes for profit corporate guardians and requires them to have a bond and ENA insurance.
Recommendations from the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys:
The new guardianship law went into effect on July 1, 2015. There are things we can all do now to protect our seniors and even help them to avoid guardianship:
· Encourage the senior to create a Living Will or Health Care Surrogate, and a Durable Power of Attorney, helping make sure medical and financial wishes are followed if incapacitated.
· Have discussions with family members about the senior’s health and finances, reducing chances for family disagreements.
· Make sure the senior’s financial affairs are in order, cutting down on time and expense if guardianship is eventually needed.
· Follow the above suggestions BEFORE the senior becomes incapacitated.