Aging often requires that older adults rely on the practical support of others, sometimes voluntarily and occasionally because of legal paperwork. When someone is no longer capable of managing their own affairs, their loved ones or the probate courts may eventually intervene.
As people get older, they may have a harder time meeting all of their responsibilities, like paying their bills. By appointing a guardian, the Florida probate courts can effectively limit the possibility of older adults slipping through the cracks and enduring significant hardship due to lack of adequate support.
A guardian will take responsibility for someone’s finances and may even make medical decisions and determinations about where someone lives and how they spend their money. Can your parents name their own guardian?
Those in need of a guardian lack the testamentary capacity to take action
If your loved one has already reached a point where they legitimately need the support of a guardian, the courts are unlikely to uphold any contracts or documents they execute. Someone with declining cognitive function or medical conditions like Alzheimer’s disease no longer has the ability to make their own legal decisions in the eyes of the court.
If your parents don’t already have paperwork in place when they start showing signs of cognitive decline, the courts will determine who will be their guardian. However, if your parents plan ahead of time, they can decide for themselves who assumes control over their finances and medical decisions.
Planning for later life is an important step for those about to retire
Creating a durable power of attorney that will retain its authority despite permanent incapacitation that authorizes someone to make medical decisions and handle finances can offer the protections of guardianship without the uncertainty of who will have those crucial powers.
Elder law looks at many different needs for those at or past the age of retirement. From planning to qualify for state benefits to helping people structure their estate plans for maximum protection, there is a lot that a lawyer can do to help those in their golden years. The careful creation of a durable power of attorney before someone loses testamentary capacity can serve the same purpose as a guardianship, protecting them, their finances and their dignity.